My, Our Messiest Bests

I can’t know something to be true and do another. I have a hard time with knowing the morally right thing to do and then taking a short cut. Madeline Johnson

Like you, I don’t have it in me to fake my way through life.  I am going to be myself and try to improve each day, exposing the messiest parts of cleaning up my act.

I don’t care about being judged. I never did and never will care what anyone else thinks.

What concerns me most is not being right in my own heart. For me, there is nothing worse than lying to yourself, than letting yourself down, than not being able to look yourself in the mirror.

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I can’t know something to be true and do another. I have a very hard time with knowing the morally right thing to do and then taking a short cut – in the name of self- preservation.

This is one of the real struggles for me. To contemplate what the best version of myself would be – to actually envision how she thinks, speaks and behaves – and than doing something else out of fear, doubt and selfishness.

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Featured Artist

Saido_Doll on Instagram

Navigating Life From The Heart

When I remove my fears, frustrations, anger, worry and remorse from the moment, all I have left is this perfect moment.  By Madeline Johnson

Here is what my heart told me today.

The day must start and end with peace.

All the middle minutes, calm.

All is at peace. Do not disturb. Do not disturb this peace with doubts.

This peace is natural. Everything is already ideal. There is nothing to fix.

Everything is good.

It is I who disturbs this peace with my anxiousness.

My heart told me so.

Do not bring the anxious and questioning to every moment of existence.

My heart told me to back off. Let it be. Do not step into the moment with any judgement.

No judgement about about him, her or here.

Respect all around me. Appreciate everyone and everything. Yes even the difficult.

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Just as it is.

Reality is not for me to judge or disagree with.

My heart told me to speak less. Just observe. Observe and respect. Appreciate.

This frees up so much of the energy to be me. To be love. To imprint upon the moment, the essence of acceptance.

Do not fill the silence with words. No need.

Look at this perfect moment without my fear and my worries and angst.

It is perfect.

When I remove my fears and frustrations from the moment,

all I have left is perfect peace.

 

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. . . 

Does this path have a heart?

If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.

– Carlos Castaneda

And may I add dear Carlos – can we imprint more heart on the path?

 

 

 

Featured Art

Veks Van Hillik on Instagram (cover)

Jerico Santander on Instagram (2nd)

Unapologetically You

There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. By Madeline Johnson

To be unapologetically you – at your best –

gloriously flawed.

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It’s crazy how many people inspire others just by the way they live their lives. They don’t preach, they don’t coach, they just live their lives the way they see fit  – and through that act – they become an inspiration for others.

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There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. Time is running out. So get to it before you let someone else decide for you.

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Welcome this brand new day.

Use it as you will.

Waste it or fill it with goodness.

You have a choice.

Tomorrow it will be a memory.

Let it be a sweet one for all.

 

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Featured Artist

Stefano Bonazzi

 

To Be Real

Seeking wisdom and being true and real to oneself. Madeline Johnson

To be absolutely real with ourselves. Stop playing it so safe. How freeing. What a release. What a relief.  True to you. No more disjappointmenting yourself because you put your needs on the back burner.  You said yes, but you meant no. You didn’t want to hurt their feelings, so you over promised. You took that project for the money.

When we are not true to ourselves, we starve ourselves of care and respect. Integrity begins with honoring our hearts. It’s not selfish. It’s healthy and it helps us all.

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Stripped of all of our masks and desire to be needed.  To understand ourselves fully, to know more about our own existence.

Why I am seeking wisdom. 

  • Lie to myself, no more!
  • Life is tricky. People are strange. I contradict myself. Why?
  • Decisions are difficult. Which are the best ones?
  • Worry is constant. I shall remain calm.
  • This wisdom helps with clarity. Clarity is freedom.
  • I know I don’t have all the answers. We are here together for a reason. I learn from you.
  • Life moves too fast. My strong desire to slow down. Savor. Relish.

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Why I seek wisdom.

  • To be more emotionally and intellectually intelligent about myself and others.
  • Because I am realistically insecure and my experience will only take me so far. What can I learn from your experience?
  • I want to accomplish more of what is important. What is important to you might inspire me.

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Featured Artwork

Dorothea Tanning

Dorothea Tanning was born in 1910 in Galesburg, Illinois and attended Knox College in her hometown before studying painting in Chicago (haunting the Art Institute where she learned what painting was.)   In 1941, now in New York, she met the art dealer, Julien Levy, and his surrealist friends, refugees from Nazi occupied France. Late in 1942 Max Ernst visited her studio, saw a painting, (Birthday), and stayed to play chess. They would have 34 years together, at first in Sedona, Arizona (a mere outpost at the time).  Here she would continue to paint her enigmatic versions of life on the inside, looking out: The Guest RoomThe Truth About CometsEine Kleine NachtmusikInterior with Sudden JoyInsomniasPalaestraTamerlaneFar From. By 1956 Max and Dorothea had chosen to live and work thenceforth in France. Though Paris was headquarters, they preferred the country quiet lure in Touraine and Provence. These years included, for Dorothea Tanning, an intense five- year adventure in soft sculpture:  CousinsDon Juan’s BreakfastFetishRainy Day CanapéTragic TableVerbXmasEmmaRevelation or the End of the MonthHôtel du Pavot Room 202.

What is Significantly Yours To Own

A morning manifesto that resets your mind to start the day with a stronger, healthier mindset.

With every rising of the sun,

think of your life as just begun. 

Change. Transformation. Something new for you. It starts with ownership and attitude over your thoughts, words and deeds. You see, I take pride in owning my problems. I hammer away at them daily.  Unfortunately, I also take on other people’s obstacles and challenges as well.  Perhaps this makes me feel more important. Validated. Essential. Significant.

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When Fixing Problems Becomes a Problem

By day, I deal with  problems and concerns by constantly updating my to-do list. I also take time out of my day, time that I really don’t have, to help others solve their problems. And I get very frustrated when they don’t listen to my advice.  It gets me so twisted. Have you been there? Do you know what I mean?

At night, I have a tendency to take those problems to bed and ruminate over them until I fall asleep from mental exhaustion. On occasion, I can even take that worrying to a whole new level of crippling pain and insanity. I believe I may have perfected the art of catastrophizing – believing that things are worse than they actually are. My mind a maelstrom of nighttime worry.   Day in and day out. Night dreads and morning anxiety.

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Believe It If You Need It

Meditate they urged. Journal it away. Pray they said. Clear your mind. I thought about it. I tried new ways and altered my approach. Crystals, sage, affirmations.  Nothing really worked. Rote prayer never inspired me.  I was seeking more. I wanted to focus on transforming my mind, breaking the patterns of rumination,  tapping into the limitless, openness of possibility- – not just mechanically reciting phrases that meant nothing to me.  I wanted to turn worry into wonder.

Show Me Holy Places Not Yet Found

Sometime last year, I considered writing down a morning manifesto that would reset my mind to start the day with a stronger, healthier mindset. This was to be my very own prayer, a promise to myself, my mantra for manifesting a more powerful and positive life.  It’s working to help me reset in the morning. So on the start of a new year, I share it with you. Maybe it will inspire you to write your own. I believe it has helped me dissipate the morning anxiety that crippled my days. 

I pray today that I remember that I already have the strength to sustain a positive open awareness and joyful caring presence through the gains and losses and the highs and lows that today will inevitably bring upon me and I to myself. 

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I know that I am brave enough to face this day and to be of benefit to this world.  To be of benefit with a compassionate and loving attitude and to make sure it shines through with every smile, hug, word and deed that I do today.  No matter what happens to me today, I remain constant and confidant that my loving acts will help me and others heal our pain.

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Through it all today, I pray that I will be able to take full responsibility for my life and to groove through all the moments, the good and the bad without sinking into false refuge (drinking too much cheap wine, mindlessly snacking on chocolate and chips, gossiping about other peoples BS), without hiding from my pain and problems and without blaming others.

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I pray that I remember that I have the strength today to positively face what is real and to take on each problem intelligently with love, humility and an open mind, knowing I need the help of others to grow and learn.

I remember that what we all want most is to be loved and acknowledged for who we are today.

I continue today to remember what matters most. That no matter what happens today, that I have loved more that I thought possible and demonstrated that love to everyone I have the fortunate opportunity of spending time with today. I am so happy and blessed to be alive today.

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I pray that I feel strong and confidant enough and passionate about my purpose and existence that I may understand and act on exactly, precisely what God has intended me to do with this precious life and that I may become a more inspiring human being.

I am strong enough to be radically and transparently open and honest enough with myself and everyone I encounter and that I see everything in my life as it truly is, not how I wish it would be. 

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And may I have the courage to take extreme ownership of my life and change what I believe is not serving me or others well.

I will embrace the magic of today. I do not wish to simply make sense of today. I choose to dwell and inhabit in life’s sacred mystery. 

To expand my awareness and elevate my consciousness and my attitude.

To stay fully awake.

For I believe that this very life is one infinite, remarkable, unfolding miracle.

The important moment I’ve been waiting for is now.

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Every single breath take, you take, we take is a genius gift of infinite energy, an inhale and exhale breathing into a limitless universe, of which we are all connected to and supported by.

 We are all so much more powerful than we realize. We must remember this daily.  We are not alone, we have God as our co-pilot.  We are in this together, supported and loved by our creator.

For every person I come in contact with today has this power as well and together we are meant to hold each other in reverence, now and forever. When I talk to you, I am talking to God. God loves us all.

I remain curious and humble today, for this life, this existence, is nothing short of magnificent.

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Life for me is a daily, daring, epic adventure, a thrilling mystery ride to explore.

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I live for the questions, the seeking, the learning and the breathtaking moments of awe.

I am content with the unknown, I do not need all of the answers, but simply love the experiential process of living. I look up at the cosmos with appreciation and awe in my heart and mind.

I pray that I remain on the right path today and every day and that I am always learning and applying what I have learned to become smarter, stronger and a humble servant to love.

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Gratitude is my living, breathing, moving prayer, and my heart pours open wide with an enormous appreciation for everything that happens today. My soul cries out a passionate loving thank you to God and the universe. This is how I pray.

And when I forget today, I will let my heart soften and melt into the moment. Remembering, with discipline that we are all temporary tenants here and all we have is this very moment. . . . we are all just one exhale away . . .

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There is nothing to prove or improve about my heart today.   My heart is in the right place and on the right path. No fixing or controlling myself or others.  I am remembering and honoring that we are all made perfect already and everything evolves in it’s own time.  No mistakes, we are all made of divine intelligence. We connect and reconnect to our compassionate soul source in each moment with each thought, word and action, it is like this that we return  to our innate goodness, to our loving nature right now.

If I am disappointed today by someone or something,  I remember to love through it with patience and understanding. Love is the only real emotion, every other, the absence of it.

This is my best self, my connected self. Leaning on the cheek of of God, I sway through a divine dance with life each day.

I remain awake, aware, alive and here.

I will not waste a moment of this life today. Not a single second.

I will not doubt my greatness today, the beautiful essence of God within me.  I will remain calm and at peace for there is no pressure to do anything at all if the spirit doesn’t move me, for I already am perfect with God and love in my heart.

This is how I rise.

Recommended Reading

Ram Dass Be Here Now 

“We’re talking about metamorphosis
We’re talking about going from a caterpillar to a butterfly
We’re talking about how to become a butterfly.”

Tara Brach True Refuge

How do you cope when facing life-threatening illness, family conflict, faltering relationships, old trauma, obsessive thinking, overwhelming emotion, or inevitable loss? If you’re like most people, chances are you react with fear and confusion, falling back on timeworn strategies: anger, self-judgment, and addictive behaviors.

Charles Bukowski Essential Bukowski

Few writers have so brilliantly and poignantly conjured the desperation and absurdity of ordinary life as Charles Bukowski. Resonant with his powerful, perceptive voice, his visceral, hilarious, and transcendent poetry speaks to us as forcefully today as when it was written. Encompassing a wide range of subjects—from love to death and sex to writing—Bukowski’s unvarnished and self-deprecating verse illuminates the deepest and most enduring concerns of the human condition while remaining sharply aware of the day to day.

Featured art by Ouzo Kim

illustrator & graphic designer & creative director

 

 

The Freedom To Continually Reinvent Yourself

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We overwhelm ourselves with huge, stupid, anxious questions. For example. . .

What should I do with my life? 

Now that is a terrible, awful question.

What should I do with the next 5 minutes of my life? is a much better one.

There is so much opportunity in the small moments of each day.

Connecting With The Keeper of Things Wild

A passage from Clarissa Estes’ book

Do not cringe or make yourself small if you are called the black sheep, the maverick or the lone wolf. Only those with “slow seeing” say a non-conformist is a blight on society.

It has been proven over centuries that being “different” means standing on the edge. It means that one is practically guaranteed to make an original contribution, a useful and stunning contribution to our society and culture.

When seeking guidance, don’t ever listen to the tiny-hearted. Be kind to them, heap them with blessing, cajole them but do not follow their advice.

If you have ever been called defiant, incorrigible, forward, cunning, insurgent, unruly, rebellious, you are on the right track.

In a world where nobody really knows anything, you have the incredible freedom to continually reinvent yourself. Go forth, forge new paths, no matter how strange.

From Tribe of Mentors

From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

A case and meditation for raising your vibration. Remember, attitude is everything.

We all have a state of consciousness that when we get to, things just happen effortlessly.  We perceive of the reality that is equal to the emotion we feel. You must believe it to see it.

A 21 day high-vibe meditation with Aaron Dougherty

 

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Estonia vs Ethiopia

While planning my next leg of travel, or what I refer to as my Cosmic AF World Tour, I realized that using Instagram as my only source of inspiration about where to visit next was a very bad idea. Coming to grips with my lack of geographical knowledge, I set out to discover more than the photos of turquoise shorelines and high peak mountains depicted in my feed.

Determined to learn about a new place and culture each day, I purchased a book that I am reading each morning to learn more about our world. Like, who knew Kiiking was an actual sport created in Estonia?

I quickly realized that I also needed to see more than the beautiful photos displayed on each page of coffee table books.  Using Local Guides Connect  with photos that are uploaded to Google maps (real photos by real people) in conjunction with The World, A Traveler’s Guide to the Planet has helped me make better decisions about where my next adventure might be.

 

Be Who You Are, Not Who You Wish You Were

How to be authentic with Madeline Johnson, writer, thinker and strategist.

I am helping this genuinely lovely couple build their wellness empire. They own a mine, a mine with liquid gold. Lucky them. So blessed. I consult them about business, marketing and growth plans. I help them build actionable strategies and tactics. We have weekly FaceTime conversations and tonight after yet another long call they blew my mind with something they said to me.

They said, “Madeline, We are so happy we met you. You are so positive and you make us believe we can do anything. You make us feel so strong. You open our minds and you have made us understand that being around positive people is very important.”

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They didn’t know it but I was melting inside. My heart filled with a lightness, a brightness I haven’t felt in a very long time. I know that what I need is to feel valued.  Yes it is true, we all need to feel deeply appreciated. Tonight I felt recognized, respected and prized.  I also felt happy, light and free.

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I use to think feeling happy was practically impossible.

Now, honestly, between you and I well, I abhor the word “happy” and it’s my father’s fault.

So, Why The Hell am I So Happy?

I’ll never forget what my father, a depressing kind of dude at times, said to me when I was about 15.  You see I am a smiler. I smile through everything. I smile when I am sad, when I am angry, by myself, with others. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, I just feel a sort of smile in my heart.  So Mr. moody swinger, daddy O passes me in the hall and asks me –

Why are you so “happy”?

Nice thing to hear from father dear during my formative years.

My automatic response  because I am. I am happy.  Genuinely happy.

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Doesn’t matter what’s going down, I am always going to be happy. It’s just my nature. Sure I feel grief, sadness, anger, rage – yup, even rage, but for some reason, I always swing back to happy.  This is where the good vibes grow.

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P.S. If you want to be happy, be aware of manipulative ass hats with selfish agendas.

To Express The Creative Capacity of Our Essence

“If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.  – Joseph Campbell

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Absolute freedom. A life devoted to creative self-expression.

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A life that is fundamentally free is one that is free of certainty.  Purpose, passion, goals. . .they do not matter. The only guarantee of success is that every outcome is uncertain.  Their is no guarantee. Our purpose is not to be found or “discovered”. Our essence is to be expressed or we may fall into arrested expansion.

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To become completely comfortable with uncertainty is total freedom.

To live a life that is full of curiosity, enthusiasm and wonder.

To be free to live open to every situation at one time that we imagined would be difficult or a conflict.

To express the creative capacity of our essence.

This is how our lives become a work of art.

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To live in direct contact with the perpetual, dynamic uncertainty that is implicit in the power of life itself.  To appreciate the mystery of life.

This is equal to living in the heart of intimate freedom.

When we simply are, we are free.

There is no purpose to be found. Just the creative expression of life itself.

As you stroll along, if you’re awake enough, you will be led by your curiosity and excitement.

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Recommended Reading

Will I Be The Hero of My Own Life

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Links

Why Finding Your Passion is Bullshit @ThoughtCatalog

The Bullshit Question Your Ego Loves

Screw Finding Your Passion @markmansonnet

 

Quotes

The granddaddy of the consciousness movementGeorge Leonard was a co-founder of the Aikido of Tamalpais dojo in Corte Madera, California. He also developed the Leonard Energy Training (LET) practice for centering the mind, body, and spirit.

Art

Arrested Expansion by George Grie

Cairo is my muse by Huda Lutfi

Featured Art by Penelope Slinger

How to Be More Like You

How to be authentic and original. Thoughts from Madeline Johnson, writer about human development.

E. E. Cummings wrote, “The greatest battle we face as human beings is the battle to protect our true selves from the self the world wants us to become.

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People just put facades out there. They even admit that one facade is a little more real than the other. You go to work and get lost in your professional facade, but then you say. “I’m going home to be with my family and friends where I can just be myself.” So your work facade drops into the background, and your relaxed social facade comes forward. But what about you, the one who is holding the facade together? Nobody gets near that one. That’s just too scary. That one is too far back there to deal with. 

from The Untethered Soul The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer.

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Oh, the armor we put on every morning becomes heavier to bear, year-after-year.  Tara Brach calls it our “spacesuit strategy“, we slip it on every day as we head out into the world to attract attention, admiration, and appreciation. No wonder why we are so mentally exhausted, always trying to be something we are not for temporary shots of counterfeit recognition.

Emotional Masks

These emotional masks, the masks we hide behind because of fear. For example, if we are insecure, we might hide behind the mask of name-dropping. If we are unsure of our power, we can hide behind mask of being a bully. If we don’t think the world loves us, we can hide behind mask of anger. We mask the debt we’ve incurred to pay for lifestyles we can’t afford; we pretend things are fine at work, when our jobs are on the line; we pretend things are okay in our marriages when there is distance. 

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It starts with just noticing when you are not being you. When you are saying things and doing things just to get attention or acknowledgment. Just think about how nice you are to people when they behave in accordance with your expectations.

Artwork by Dimitra Milan

 

Supersize Your Purpose

Damn truth is . . .

you and I are going to die. It is inevitable. You know that. You just don’t know when. Every single thing will be taken from you. You will leave behind your possessions, your loved ones, and all your hopes and dreams for this life. You’ll be taken right out of where you are. You’ll no longer be able to fill the roles you were so busy playing. Death changes everything in a flash. That’s the reality of the situation. If all these things can be changed in an instant, then maybe they aren’t real after all. Maybe you’d better check out who you are. Maybe you should look deeper.

A passage from The Untethered Soulthe journey beyond yourself by Michael A. Singer

Death Clock

A screen shot of my screen saver. My death clock. A chrome extension. A bitter-sweet motivational tool; it illustrates how little time I may have left. Download it here.

“The purpose of life is not simply to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Naked awareness. Clarity of mind. A sense of strong purpose.

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Knowing why you are here.

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There is power in purpose.

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The purpose of art, of creating something new, is to help wash the dust of daily life off our souls.  – Picasso

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Featured art by Tom French