A Deliberate Leap in a New Direction

There is something thrilling about second, third, fourth and fifth chances. Every minute of every day is a new opportunity to start over. Madeline Johnson

There is something thrilling about second, third, fourth and fifth chances. Hell, every minute of every day is a new opportunity to start over, clean the slate, tabla rasa. This one second of the 1,440 minutes you have today is the moment for momentum. It’s fresh, it’s new and it’s an opportunity to make life better.

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In an instant everything can change. Simply morph into something beautiful.

My inner wisdom tells me starting over begins with simplifying.  The older I get, the less I need. I am removing what no longer serves me. Clearing my mind of old thoughts, my desk of old mail and notes, discarding pens that no longer write well, beat up notebooks and calendars with dates gone by and mounds of scribbled on scraps of paper.

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Starting over by clearing the clutter, purging the non-purposeful. Removing the old and beginning with new – new tools, new hope and new faith.

It requires confidence to begin again. Confidence and clarity.

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Featured Art

Miles Johnston Art

From his bio. . .

I work primarily in graphite and oils, using the human form as a vehicle to attempt to process the intensity and profound strangeness of the collective human experience. The distortions and transformations my subjects undergo serve to represent the experience of our internal state during crucial moments in our lives. Instead of focusing on literal representations of the world, I depict the surreal and abstract qualities of our subjectivity with the goal of creating works with a deep emotional resonance.

I have a strong sense that art makes the world a better place, and I am giving all I can to be of service in this way. My work means whatever it means to you.

Living Life With More Meaning

Life becomes lived when you pay respect to the way it moves you. By Madeline Johnson

The first time I heard the phrase “to hold space” for someone was with Barnaby Ruhe.  Ruhe received his doctorate in shamanism and art practice, an interdisciplinary effort combining psychology, anthropology, art history, phenomenology and art studio action.  It was a Sunday afternoon at his loft at 55 Bethune street where he held power animal and soul retrieval circles.

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The mere act of creating and holding space for yourself and another can actually open your hearts to immense healing and possibilities.  Think about it, when was the last time you felt like you really thought someone was holding space for you, that they were deeply and without an ounce of judgment there for you? Or how about yourself? Do you have a practice of  holding space for yourself? When was the last time you felt like you were really taking time to listen to your heart? Paying attention to your life as if it was permeating your soul.

I don’t know about you but I can’t recall the last time I felt like I let myself linger in the moment.  I do the contrary. I jump from one second to the next, always busy, always after a goal. Now life seems to be flying by fast, the weeks rushing into months and blending into years.  Frankly, I want to reverse that. I want life to slooooooowwwww down, so I can really dig in.

They say that time is relative to the degree of attention you pay to your life.

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It was one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Rob Bell, who brought up two very fresh ways of approaching life, new ways of experiencing life (for me anyway), that helped me think about how to slow life down, to savor each moment and to give my life more meaning.

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Paying Witness to Your Life & Processing The Moment

The first approach is about taking time to observe our lives and the lives of others. To non-anxiously, without any judgement, pay witness to the things that are happening to us.

So often, when asked for advice from others, I am the one to quickly recommend what everyone needs to do next.  It starts like this – I will receive a call, a text or an email from a friend or family member to let me know what is happening with their lives. Typically it is about a problem that occurred. Someone offended them, something happened that got them really angry. They are overwhelmed with this and that. They are really stressed. They have reached out to me as a life line.

So, what do I do? Or what did the old me do?   I would quickly jump into solution-mode. “First you have to do this, then you do that and then all will be good.” I would charge in with answers instead of taking a moment to observe what they or I am actually feeling in the moment.  I did not take the time to sit and process the moment with them.  Sometimes that is all we need to do. We need to hold space for someone we love to process their lives.

Rob Bell explains it so well in this podcast “Is this Your First Accident?” Sometimes, we just need to process our lives, so we understand the meaning.  After listening to this podcast, I recognized that when I charge in with solutions, I am just trying to take control, to apply something I have learned to “repair” a problem. What is wrong with this approach? Nothing really, except that it is a limiting and sloppy and dare I say, disrespectful to yourself and others. Life becomes lived when you pay respect to the way it moves you. You need room and others to help you feel your way through the pain.

Taking a Thoughtful Pause

 

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The second podcast from Rob Bell that I recommend you list to is That Pause.  Life is about what we learn when we become still and aware of the depths of each moment. When we slow down just a bit, we are placing our energies in a wider horizon of possibilities. We pause so we can create space for larger more divine energies to fill us up.

Featured Artist

Aykut Aydogdu

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

 

Start Fresh Each Day

Start each day with a beginner’s mind. By Madeline Johnson

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”

Read: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

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Never become so much of an expert that you stop learning.

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Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted doesn’t mean the future can’t be better than you ever imagined.

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Start each day fresh, like it is the first day. Don’t become complacent. No resting on laurels. Past performance is not an indicator of future results. We must remember the importance of maintaining a beginner’s mind.

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Stay open to starting over. Try again with more strength, knowledge and power.

A new pattern of thoughts, wave of emotions, connection with the world and belief in yourself.

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Read

Ray Dalio’s Principles: Life & Work

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In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in history and grown into the fifth most important private company in the United States, according to Fortune magazine. Dalio himself has been named to Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Along the way, Dalio discovered a set of unique principles that have led to Bridgewater’s exceptionally effective culture, which he describes as “an idea meritocracy that strives to achieve meaningful work and meaningful relationships through radical transparency.” It is these principles, and not anything special about Dalio—who grew up an ordinary kid in a middle-class Long Island neighborhood—that he believes are the reason behind his success.

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Featured Art

Fred Stonehouse

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Fred Stonehouse earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin at Madison where he now teaches. His work has been shown in numerous galleries as well as several museum group exhibitions, including recent shows internationally in Germany and Italy, and nationally at The Laguna Art Museum, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, San Jose Museum of Art, The Art Center in Wisconsin, and the Cincinnati Art Center in Ohio. He currently resides just outside Milwaukee. Stonehouse is the recipient of many prestigious awards including The Joan Mitchell Foundation award, the Wisconsin Institute of Visual Arts Lifetime Achievement Award, and a National Endowment for the Arts, Midwest Fellowship award. Fred Stonehouse has shown with KDR since 1997.

 

https://fredstonehouseart.com/#

 

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

 

 

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

Clearing All The Clutter for Clarity & Purpose

A few months ago I began stripping away all that no longer serves me in my life. What is that suppose to mean? Without boundaries, I let way too much in and life got way too crazy. I was tired, pulled in a million directions and honestly, I allowed it. Frankly, I didn’t know how to say no.

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I said yes to everything and everyone. It’s not a good idea. Well sometimes, in the beginning saying yes is good, like when you are building a career, but too much yessing can lead to real chaos and letting people down, including yourself.

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I am moving towards a minimalist lifestyle that will give me the freedom to go and do what I want without the burden of having so much to take care of, including a house too big, a life too wide open and the collection of twenty years of unnecessary, unwanted “things”.  Things I don’t use, wear or want any longer.

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I started by cleaning out twenty years of clutter in the attic. It was exhausting and energizing at the same time. While I am not one to hold on to things, like memorabilia, my daughters had piles and piles of grammar and high school “stuff” they had collected throughout the years up there. I even made it a moment. I asked them all to come over for a memory lane party.  They laughed at old love letters, praised their early art work and cringed at their eighth grade diaries. They didn’t want the stuff either. The memories they decided to keep are tucked away in the corners of their mind or on Instagram. The rest they let go of along time ago.

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Clearing away the clutter for me also involves displacing anything and anyone (eew, that sounds harsh) that is no longer useful, helpful, valuable or lovable in my life. You see, I began to feel like others were pushing and pulling me in too many different directions, while my priorities were left on the back burner. I am now older and wiser and know that whatever time I have left on this planet, I would like to deliberately create some moments of creativity and adventure before it’s too late.

 

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So what am I going to trim down, clean up, give away and simply remove from my life?

Frumpy Frocks & Spontaneous Purchases. Starting with my closet, shoes, sweaters, shirts, bags, dresses and worn out jeans that I have not even touched in six months or more.  Good will and good riddance. I want to create a really fun “uniform” to wear. Something I don’t have to think about. That’s one less decision in the day.

Space Fillers & Dust Collectors. Souvenirs, books, artwork and other knick knacks that are no longer aesthetically pleasing to me. If it does not spark joy, I just don’t want it. I haven’t read Marie’s book and I won’t. The sparking joy was my review take away. It makes sense.

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Crazy Makers. People that require special handling, those that need kid gloves and jokers that confuse me. Anyone that I find annoying or that appears to be even relatively unstable. You know, I have been a magnet for the crazy makers for many years. This also includes anyone who bores me, those that aren’t original, open-minded or interesting or genuinely fun to be around. The self-absorbed, stuck or painfully sad. Anyone I don’t have a true kindred enthusiasm for or feel I can growth with as I adventure on. Yeah, they’re gone.

Obsessive Worrying & Ruminating Thoughts. Negative thoughts that clutter my mind, that make me feel less than I really am. Small thoughts. Sad thoughts. Critical, mean self-talk. No more worrying, because, “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.” Read on: 12 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop for a Better Life 

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15 Cant’s Miss Ways to Declutter Your Mind and this advice from Tiny Buddha have helped me a little as I make a list of what I don’t want in my life anymore, including. . .

Shitty Projects & Confused Corporates. Work that feels stupid, repetitive and ridiculous. People that go round and round because they don’t have a blueprint. Working with incompetent people. Things I just don’t want to do that I don’t have to do.

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Excess – too many of any one thing. Rooms in my house, blankets on my bed, uncomfortable chairs, hard pillows, greased-bottom pots, scratched pans, broken cups and any sticky old debt on the credit cards.  Oh to simplify and simply live with just what I need.

Random Files & Duplicate Photos. Files on my computer, my “filled-to-the-brim” email inboxes, old notes, usb drives with old brochures and dead campaigns, duplicate photos, and old contacts in my phone. People that I no longer talk to.

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Crackers, Chips & Junky Food. Food and drink that makes me feel sluggish, fat and tired. Nah. Doesn’t serve me well at all. I never understood why they called it comfort food, expect for warm dishes of mac and cheese or mashed potatoes.

Time & Energy Wasters along with Old Fears & Everyday Frustrations. Good bye time, energy and money wasting activities. Waiting on lines, calling customer service, meetings in person that could have been Skype-d. Drives to stores when Amazon delivers. Anything that makes me feel like I need to be doing something else while I am doing that. Like commuting.

Mediocre Netflix Series & Silly Youtubers No, I just can’t. This is no way to fall asleep at night. I no longer enjoy watching crappy HBO shows just because everyone else is binging on them.

Bad habits. Yeah, like relaxing with two glasses of wine before I go to sleep. Fading into Facebook as my head hits the pillow. Any excuse not to work out. Answering the phone most of the time. Being too nice and polite to time suckers. Being neurotic while calling, emailing and texting the same message to one person.

Packing My Schedule. Yes, I am clearing out the calendar and filling it up with dates I save in the future for things I want to do. Wrapping up old projects and getting rid of the guilt. End commitments with a clear conscience.

One of the most difficult clutter to clear is that which we think we are suppose to keep. The inherited heirlooms, the mementos, the sentimental shit. I don’t make photo prints of photos any more, so shouldn’t I just digitize the old ones?

My new mantra everything should have value. When we begin to desire to clear out the old and useless, we are getting ready to heal, grow and begin a new. Getting clear about what you do want is a process of trial and error.

When you’re stuck in a state of ambivalence, you must do whatever it takes to break the impasse.

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I am concerned about filling it all up again. I am a big believer that new habits must replace old ones in order to grow.

I will watch the slow the accumulation of possessions, for to live is to create and consume. It cannot be avoided – especially in our society and culture. But if the influx of possessions into our homes can be slowed, clutter can be managed efficiently.

To slow the accumulation of things in our homes, we need to change our mindset and begin evaluating our purchases differently. Realize that your purchases cost far more than the price on the sticker. Each one will also require time, energy, and effort once they enter your home. Before making a purchase, begin asking yourself these questions:

  • Is this item really needed?
  • Do I have a place to store this when I get it home? Do I want to lug it around with me?
  • How much extra work will this possession add to my life?
  • Am I buying it for the right reasons?

 

 

How to Get One Percent Better Every Day

Becoming the best version of you starts with small steps daily. Written by Madeline Johnson

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.  -Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning
Realize that Difficulty & Pain is Inevitable & Important
The path of life can be rough and uncertain and sometimes frighteningly dark. Nothing should really surprise us, in reality, all of us at any time, no matter how strong or lucky we think we may be, are susceptible to unwanted pain and problems.
Your Attitude is Everything
Not enough money to pay the rent, a loved one dying from a terminal illness or the ending of what was once a deep and loving relationship.  These are all painful moments that we will experience. The secret to growing through the painfully tough times in life lies in your ability to stay focused on a strong belief in yourself and your creator. Your attitude towards whatever life throws your way is everything. The only thing constant is change and while your circumstances evolve, use every ounce of energy you have to grow stronger through it all. Ten Simple Habits to Grow a Positive Attitude.
Learning from Pain is a Damn Good Strategy
Everything that occurs in our lives – the good, the bad, the easy, the difficult -is usable and workable and is actually the path itself. We can use everything that happens to us as a means for waking up and strengthening our core beliefs and values.
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Difficult People Build Patience
Give up trying to control others, especially those who cause you frustration and harm. They are in your life to help you build patience. You can’t change them, but you can become a more tolerant person from being around them. Remember, you can only control your own thoughts and reactions, no one else’s.
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Don’t Make it Harder Than it Has to Be
See problems for what they are, not bigger than they are. Do not forecast more gloom and doom in your life or you will make a tough situation harder than it has to be. When something bad happens to us we want it to be over quickly and we feel extremely vulnerable. We imagine what worse can happen? What bigger problem is headed our way? Is this the start of a bigger collapse? Accept your reality for what it is right now and remember it is a moment in time that will pass. It really will. Know that everything in the universe, including your problems and challenges, are transforming the world and you.
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It is all meant to be. Practice what Tara Brach calls Radical Acceptance. Move with the transformation, feel the pain, breathe deeply into it and let it help you grow for the better.
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Don’t Try to Predict the Outcome
Soothe your mind by moving and meditating and staying right here, right now in the moment, even if it is painful. You don’t need to suffer so hard, take one step and a time and don’t think too far ahead.  Bring your ruminating and obsessing thoughts that are stuck in the past or worried about the future back to the here and now.
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Everyone Has Something or Someone to Appreciate
Awaken each day by recognizing what good you do have in your life. You always have something to work with. It might be a beautiful day for a long morning stroll or a steamy cup of strong dark coffee or a new soft-covered Moleskin notebook to write in or maybe a good friend to see, sit and chill with. Recognize and acknowledge that these gifts are right here in front of you.
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Use Your Silence to Explain Yourself
When situations are really rough, there may be nothing you can do to change the current moment. Sometimes doing nothing is precisely what you should be doing to help the situation. Some problems must work themselves out organically, in their own time, by people and actions you do not have to handle.  You aren’t suppose to fix everything.
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Watch your words. You must think before you speak. Try to say fewer and fewer words throughout the day. Make it a challenge. Bite your lip. Sometimes we speak because we are nervous. We can’t stand the silence, it’s just too awkward. Words can drown out the pain, but they don’t.
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Nervous words are never really useful. Think before you speak, not every thought is meant to be shared and sometimes words are just noise and nervous energy that add to the pain.
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What You Do Really Does Matter
We might struggle with our significance, but what you do with your day really matters. You get to decide what you do with your day. From what you eat to what you wear to who you call and where you decide to show up. Ever minute is a decision that you get to make. Smart decisions start with a clear mind.
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Keep your mind clear and free from obsessive worry and concern. This can be done by simply focusing on your current moment. This moment right now. Just sit or stand for a second and realize where you are. I know, it’s not easy. We walk around worried while writing a scary script over our painful reality. Our brain’s non-stop problem-solving can be mind bursting. We continue to make up additional problems that may never occur. Isn’t it ridiculous how preoccupied we are most of the time?  The trick is to stop. Pick anything in your environment. Look it at as if it is the first time you have ever observed it. Stay here in this moment. Here is where your mind will be clear and free.
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Watch What Drives You Mad
Watch what moves you. What triggers you. Examine your heart as you respond to others. What feels like a big chore and what truly excites you? If you don’t like some of the things or people or places that trigger anger, rage, pain, sadness or frustration in you, you have an option to walk away. Not to go there.  Perhaps taking the crowded train during rush hour makes you panic, concerned or nervous? You can choose to walk, share a car or ride a bike to work. If you look in the mirror and only see the chubby parts, the stomach you wish was flat, the legs that you want to look slim and tone – then you have a choice. You can start right now. Choose to count your calories, move more instead of sitting and make a plan to lose the extra weight.
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It’s Better to Be Kind than Right
No one ever remembers if you are right, but they certainly remember if you are kind. You have an opportunity every moment to be kind. To be kind is to be soft, sympathetic, compassionate and loving. Kindness – a listening ear, the touching of a hand, a warm embrace, a sympathetic glance. These little moments of kindness can smooth out even the toughest wrinkles of life. Sometimes they feel genuine, sometimes not. It doesn’t matter.
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Put Yourself Under the Microscope
Be painfully aware of the why behind everything you do. Why you rush in the morning? Does all the nervous rushing make you feel energized and in control? Like you are doing more? What are you avoiding by rushing? Why do you check Facebook throughout the day? Does it give your mind a rest from all the hard thinking? Is your job fulfilling enough? Do you secretly wish you were somewhere else? Does feeling jealous of others make you feel awake and alive?  Is your life that boring?  Why do you obsess over whether your boyfriend or girlfriend is cheating on you? Have you been completely honest with them? with yourself?
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Full Speed Ahead
Place yourself where you want to be. Don’t stay in the same place because it feels comfortable or because it is easy. You can’t grow while staying comfortably numb. Open up to the idea of exploring new spaces and environments to inspire you. Make new choices about where to eat, new bookstores to visit, new trails and parks to walk and hike. A new career to replace the shitty job you have. Placing yourself in new places that will open your mind to a bigger life and new opportunities. It starts with a small step, a simple self-seeking search into your heart and a strong, positive attitude.

What Are We Meant To Do?

Important questions for a more meaningful life.

Why do we need one another?

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What does it mean to be absolutely human?

What is our purpose in this world and how is that purpose related to our responsibilities to each other?

What are we meant for?

What are the deeper things we are meant to do?

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If you wish your heart to be bright,
you must do a little work.

– from Be Lost in the Call, a poem by Rumi

 

Featured Mutated Swamp Girl by David Choe

Kindness  and 1+1 = love  –  Banksy

What Are You Grateful For Right Now?

I’m grateful for another chance. The opportunity to start from scratch. An opportunity to improve my attitude and behavior. This day is fresh, clean, unworn with emotional stains. 


Nothing carried over from yesterday, just this rare and beautiful day, made up of many moments ahead, today is a day in my life, not my entire life. How will I use it? 


What I choose to think about today will make me and much around me, better or worse, it is up to me.


Today is a chance to break my bad patterns of behavior. 

An opportunity to control my short temper, release my self-pity and remove envy of others.

I can help those right in front of me that need my help. 

I am given this day as an opportunity to finish projects and work that has been nagging to be done.

Perhaps I will start something new that I’ve been wanting to try.

Maybe I’ll apologize, sympathize, empathize with others.

What are your grateful for right now? How will you use this day?