Our Greatest Weapon Against Self-Doubt

How to challenge our negative self talk and align our desires with our subconscious beliefs.
by Madeline Johnson

Whether you succeed or not begins with what you believe to be true and sometimes what we believe to be true about ourselves just isn’t so.

You can look at it this way.  Whatever you hold in your mind (whatever you think about constantly) will tend to happen in your life.

If you continue to believe and act as you always have, you will get precisely what you’ve always gotten.

If you don’t like where you are at in life, then it’s time for a change in your thinking.

It’s simple and it can be easy, if you believe you can do it. You can change your thinking for better results in your life.

Our thinking leads to our behavior and there are ways we can behave to make situations worse and there our ways we can behave to make things better. 

Accurate & Actionable Thinking

All action starts with a thought and when your thoughts are a mixed bag of desire and fear you will create mediocre results at best. You will start that project but quit. You will start to lose a bit of weight and then binge. You won’t succeed at the new goal you have started.

It’s not like you aren’t trying, so it’s finally time to get to the root cause of your lack of progress. It starts with establishing what you know and what you don’t know about yourself. Discovering what is true about you.

buddha

It’s finally time to remove your self-doubt, those limiting beliefs about yourself that are ingrained in your subconscious. I am talking about unpacking the stale and old beliefs that are stored in your subconscious mind. These deep-rooted beliefs are what really drive us to behave the way we behave and are the beliefs that get in the way of our success.

97% of our thoughts are unconscious and autonomic – similar to how our heart beats and our eyes blink. Read more about shifting paradigms *changing your beliefs by Dr. Catherine Collautt

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You simply can’t hold a positive intention in your head and mix it with self-doubt or fear.

Your desires and your belief must be the same.

kick

Our thoughts and subconscious beliefs must be on the same page or we will self-sabotage our success.

I truly believe you can have anything you want in life,

when you give up the belief that you can’t have it.

Note: There is a difference between believing you can have something and thinking you deserve it.  The key to success is starting with the belief and then working really, really hard at achieving what you want. It has nothing to do with thinking you deserve something.

The Way You Think When You Support Your Limiting Beliefs

When we are thinking from emotion (not a good idea), we must become aware of our cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are simply ways that our mind convinces us of something that isn’t really true. Here is a description of 15 of the most popular ways in which we use them to reinforce negative thinking or emotions.

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The greatest weapon against self-doubt and fear is our ability to choose one thought over another.

 

Featured Artwork

Rob Shields

 

Enough is a Feast & How We Rise Up

An essay and prayer of gratitude from Madeline Johnson

I do not wish to make sense of life. I wish to dwell in it’s sacred mystery.  For life is one infinite, remarkable, unfolding miracle.

Mysterious

Every single breath I take, you take, we take is a true gift.  A moment to be held in reverence. I remain humbled for this life given to all of us today, for it is is nothing short of magnificent.

dwell

I look up at the cosmos and pay my respect.

For life is a daily, daring, epic adventure, a thrilling mystery ride to explore. I live for the questions, the seeking, the learning and the strikingly beautiful moments of awe.

I am comfortable and content with this.

I do not need answers.

enough

Gratitude is my living, breathing moving prayer, and my heart breaks open wide with an enormously huge appreciation for everything that happens today.

My soul cries out a passionate thank you to God and the universe.

This is how I pray.

My heart softening and melting into the moment.

breath

I am genuinely grateful for this breath, and now this one, and the next. . . For as my friend Julia says. . .

we are all just one exhale away . . .

There is nothing to prove or improve. Not to ourselves or to others. Honoring that we are all made perfect already. No mistakes, all of divine intelligence. We connect to our compassionate soul source, our innate goodness to our loving nature right now.

Love is the only real emotion, every other, the absence of it.

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

All of us quite unique on the outside, yet our hearts and souls beating as one.

joko

 

All throughout the day, I am grateful for this opportunity, this moment right now, to be awake, aware alive and here and I will not waste a moment of it.

Not a single second.

 

This is how I rise.

 

Featured art Nikolina Petolas is a Croatian based photographer and digital artist.

Perennial philosophy (Latinphilosophia perennis),[note 1] also referred to as Perennialism and perennial wisdom, is a perspective in modern spirituality that views each of the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all esoteric and exoteric knowledge and doctrine has grown.
The Perennial Philosophy has its historical roots in the syncretism of Renaissance humanists like Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, who suggested that Plato, Jesus, Hermes Trismegistus and the Kabbalah were all pointing to the same God (they were almost excommunicated as a result). Leibniz also championed the philosophia perennis. You can see it flourishing in the transcendentalism of Emerson, Coleridge and Thoreau.

Joko Beck 

True Love

Acts of Love are valid only if they are performed without conditions or expectations.

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It starts with honoring and remembering the sacredness that lives within all of us.

No matter how screwed up we treat each other.
Asphyxia
Art by Mario Sanchez Nevado Aegis

Blind to the Beauty of This Moment

Distraction is the main problem for us all – what the Buddha called the monkey mind. We need to tame this little monkey mind. Tenzin Palmo

As entertaining as it can be, please don’t feed the monkey mind.

giphy

When we are unaware that we are unaware.
Then we rush and ramble through the day, doing the “important” and the urgent, going after the goals, just killing it, aren’t we though?
Both numb and dumb to the fierce and wild beauty of the present moment.
Asleep at the wheel.
little
Not taking notice of our surroundings, the people we are with and even our own presence. Too busy snapping instead of savoring.
joy
Oh to be mindless,  as we let the monkeys swing from vine to vine through our head. Pulling us from thought-to-thought with our every emotion.  The seedlings for anxiety and panic.
So disconnected with life smack in front of us – to notice the simple and ordinary joy of the day or the pain and suffering of our brother nearby.
And those seemingly little blessings that are happening every moment for our benefit? Wait for it.
Your mind just can’t be here, there and everywhere, yet this is how we go.
2015-08-06-self-aware.png
To be painfully and gratefully aware and awake with appreciation.  This is how we grow.
Inspired by my mother’s doctor who removed her cataracts today. Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40 and is the principal cause of blindness in the world.
Overtime, like many people, mom got use to seeing the world in a blurry, shadow-like haze. In faded color instead of technicolor. It happened gradually over time. Let us not get use to going blind to the beauty of this moment.
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Critical Life Lessons from Watching My Parents Die

They’re not dead yet, but they aren’t living either, although they were once a fantastic dynamic duo, living quite a wonderful life, they are now in a highly emotional state trying to navigate a fiercely complex and shifting terrain that is filled with unknowns.

Now at 76 my mom has stage four lung cancer and even though she will start a new FDA-approved targeted therapy in less than a week, she is very scared, angry and confused. It is a part of the acceptance process, I guess and I hope it will pass.

Dad claims he can take care of her and will not accept any help in their home. It’s causing everyone in the family senseless, needless pain and worry, but it’s even more difficult not to help them. It is a twisted form of enabling and the situation changes daily. How do you know when you’re enabling an elderly loved one as opposed to actually helping them out with something they need?

Life Lessons Learned from The Dying Thus Far

  1. Be Open & Responsive to Change

darwin.jpgBoth of my parents are stubbornly holding on to old ways and traditions that no longer serve them and probably never served anyone well. They are trying so hard to hold on to their independence as they shut out the world around them. They refuse any help at all while making life harder for everyone, including themselves. Their behavior has affected not only their lives but all of us who care for them as they insist on struggling terribly through their days. Their lack of flexibility and adaptability is actually driving their decline even faster than if they chose to open their minds to new ways of staying as safe, secure and healthy as possible.

2. The Trouble is, You Think You have Time

time

Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got. ~Art Buchwald

What you do with the time you have now, while you are actually able to live is most important. More important than savings, work or taking care of daily activities of living. Do not hesitate for one instance to do, try and execute everything you have ever dreamed of – for you have no time. Forgive and let go of the past, tell someone what they mean to you and  celebrate each and every miracle of breath that you take. Gratitude for what you have right here and right now is everything. Do more with your life while you have it to live. Do not take this lightly. This is the most crucial lesson.

3. Know Your Limitations, So You Can Move Forward 

struggle

My parents won’t accept their current weaknesses – fading health and loss of memory, which is causing them even more harm and possibly big trouble for others. How many times does it take getting lost while driving, or losing your cell phone, checkbook, wallet and keys before you realize that your memory isn’t what it was? Only when we honestly examine ourselves and accept our current limitations can we improve or find the tools, people or plan to help us work around the obstacles we face. If we don’t accept that we have a problem, than how can we fix it? 

4. It Takes a Measured Amount of Expectation & Acceptance to Survive

overwhelms

Yes I see how refusing to accept the aging process can be helpful- expecting more from yourself and those around you can actually keep you going, but your approach is what matters most. Feeling overwhelmed and then reacting never produces a good outcome.

Life is always walking up to us and saying, “Come on in, the living’s fine,” and what do we do? Back off and take its picture. ~Russell Baker

My mother really surprised me when she said that she didn’t think the oncologist or the cancer center was really doing anything for her condition. In her mind, they are epically failing.  How about 18 extended months of living? Mom is actually expecting a cure from the second deadliest disease in the world. It’s phenomenal. There is a measured amount of acceptance that is necessary in order to strike a deal with reality.

5. Plan Your Aging & Dying Process Before it Happens

by-failing-to-prepare-you-are-preparing-to-fail

It is our duty to plan our death. I am not taking about a living will, health care proxy or deciding on cremation versus a below the ground burial. I am talking about how you plan to age. How open you will be to the natural process of slowing down? Reverse engineering your life so that when you get to the point that you need help from others, you will accept it. Knowing when it’s time to let go of past behavior and activities, giving up your favorite things like driving. It is critical to understand the type of attitude you will have as you enter a new season of your life.

Just as we plan our career, marriage, children and even vacations, we need to be more thoughtful of how we leave this earth.

6. The Reality of Dying is Largely Negotiable

Just like anything else, we can rethink how we plan to age and die.

If you stress-test the boundaries and experiment with the “impossibles,” of dying, you’ll quickly discover that most limitations are a fragile collection of socially-reinforced rules you can choose to break at any time.

Social rule systems are used to examine all levels of human interaction. They provide more than potential constraints on action possibilities. Read more about social rules and the patterning of action here.

Who made these social rules about aging and dying and why do we think we need to obey them?

Increased longevity paired with aging baby boomers means that our older population is growing at record speed – a phenomenon in developed countries from the UK to Japan. According to Professor David Clark, a researcher in end-of-life care at the University of Glasgow: “We’re seeing what we regard as a massive global issue. There’s a huge wave of dying, death and bereavement.” At the moment about one million people die each week around the world; within 40 years, that number is expected to double.

I held a moment in my hand, brilliant as a star, fragile as a flower, a tiny sliver of one hour. I dropped it carelessly, Ah! I didn’t know, I held opportunity. ~Hazel Lee

 

People redesigning the experience of death

Making decisions about serious illness is not an easy task and they are not made alone. Watch Nick Jehlen  of Common Practice explain his design approach to facing the elephant in the room, the talk about death and these new products, services and dying submissions to Designing Death.

amaranthine

 

Instant Karma and A Trip to Paradise

instant-karmaMost of us in the western part of the world believe that karma is a supernatural universal law of justice. He or she did something bad, hurtful, deceitful, etc. well, karma will get them in the end.

The reality and truth is, when the eastern sages spoke about karma, they were speaking about selfishness. The word “karma” in Sanskrit means “action” and the Buddha believed in two types of action. Bad selfish action and good selfless action. Bad selfish action promotes, protects and aggrandizes the ego which in turn leads to inner suffering, distress, remorse and guilt.

buddhaThe real suffering is on the inside and when we are unconscious of our perpetuating selfish actions, however small they may be, we continue to suffer all the time.

I stumbled upon this explanation and more from Leo Gura on Actualized.org. What Is Karma exactly? – Watch a rational explanation of how karma really works and why it’s extremely relevant to your happiness levels.

On My Book Shelf

Instant Karma is a collection of thousands of ways to create good karma for yourself and others. The advice in Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book is based on the principles of Buddhism and emphasizes the importance of physical health, spiritual growth and peace.

41w7fE7c8DL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_A few pearls of wisdom from this little gem of a book.

  • Throughout the day, ask yourself, Am I paying attention?
  • Then ask yourself, Why judge?
  • Do not expect praise or reward.
  • Give confidence to others.
  • Life is positive, only your thinking is negative.
  • See everything in your life as a gift.

Remember that looking for happiness outside yourself is like expecting to get in shape by watching others exercise.

Read more, here:  Instant Karma

Believe the best is yet to be.

 

Inviting Your Troubles to Tea

buddhaThe night before the Buddha attained final enlightenment he had a visit from the demon king Mara. Mara represented all the anger, doubt, fear, striving, craving and greed of the world. He came to tempt the Buddha.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha calmly acknowledged his presence, staying “I see you, Mara
He then invited Mara to tea as an honored guest.
It is suggested that we do the same when we are pained with trouble (whether real or imaginary). When we are feeling jealous, fearful, angry, frustrated, we examine these feelings with a compassionate heart, filled with self-love. We invite troubles to tea.
Instead of running from what troubles us, avoiding what is painful to face while only trying to seek happiness, we need to deal with all of life’s struggles head on, or they will continue to haunt us.
tea settingTea 101
Wake up with Matcha or Peppermint; Sleep with Kava or Chamomile; Ward off a cold with Echinacea or White Tea; Digest with Ginger or Lemon; Detox with Dandelion or Nettle; Soothe an upset stomach with Fennel or Ginger; Energize with Mint or Green; De-stress with Lavender or Ginseng.
tea
 Tea Supplies
 Soma-Water-Pitcher-01Filter your water

Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter

 bonavitaInvest in an electric tea kettle

Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Travel Electric Kettle

My favorite morning tea

detox
Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)

kenko
KENKO Tea – Matcha Green Tea Powder – USDA Organic – Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Powder for Lattes Smoothies Baking -100g Bag [50 Servings]

 

compassion A lesson a day from . . .

Teachings of the Buddha (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

Lightening Up, Sparking Joy and Creating Love

heartAs I read many of your blogs I can see that we are on a similar path of questioning our lives, bettering ourselves and pursing our dreams. As I seek to accomplish the same, mine is a three part story and also an endless loop of lightening up, sparking joy and creating love. Creating a life that I love and that inspires the world.

Success So Far

Some of the less exciting details. In the past year I have lost 25 pounds, toned and strengthened my body, spent five to eight hours a day examining my values, thoughts and inner-conflicts while embracing a new lifestyle mindset of mindfulness and minimalism. All with the help of some of the best mentors, teachers, authors and leaders I can find.

laoFilled with Mad Love

Without going through the harrowing details of my personal backstory, the most important thing to know about me (that I think can help you) is that on July 18, 2014 I had had enough. Enough of everything, including –

  • The exhausting “weight of the world” that I thought I held.
  • Managing clients with entitled attitudes and bad business models.
  • Rushing through my days without a moment to breathe.
  • Feeling like a worn, torn and tired door mat.
  • Arguing and getting enraged at my family because I didn’t know how to ask for help.
  • Tackling daily task lists that ran the length of a full page of Staple’s copy paper.
  • Trying to play the role of super woman while managing everyone’s mess but my own.

wavesThe monumental motivation factor was raging anger, a deep-seated mammoth-sized storm of anger. Not depression, not a feeling of deflated defeat, no, an exasperated tsunami convulsed with rage.

Change don’t come easy.

I honestly believe it takes that amount of anger, pain and/or strong emotion to push someone out of a rut and/or from the false sense of security that society is trying to sell us to creating and designing a life that you love.

This type of energized and emotional fuel is what takes you from reading your hundredth self-help book filled with life hacks to actually taking action.

picassoWe are what we do

We are not what we think, or what we feel or what we say, we are what we do. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. If you are unhappy with a particular part of your life, take a strong look at what you are doing to be happier.

My Story

Part 1 Lightening Up

Symbolically, I think the added 25 pounds that I gained were due to the heaviness of life, daily strife and stress and uncertainty. I was caught in the spin cycle of success. That compounded with sitting at my desk for 10 hours, eating a mindless lunch and  banging away at the keyboard with only face-to-screen interaction for most of the day that did me in.

My transformation began with

  • Getting up earlier each morning to make the time for me.
  • Changing my habits and designing result rituals – daily, repeated steps towards my success.
  • Remembering to rest, breathe and take a moment to come back to the present.
  • Counting calories while eating low-fat nutrient dense foods.
  • A powerful dose of daily cardio and strength training workouts.
  • Scheduling a 10-20 minute vipassana meditation practice daily.
  • Starting each day with a gratitude journal.
  • A never-ending commitment to reading, learning and expanding my mind.

Part 2 Sparking Joy (where I am now)

It’s all about letting go. Realizing that perfect is the enemy of good. While it is important to have control over our lives, it can be counterproductive to attempt to control our lives. The energy spent trying to be perfect can keep us from enjoying and appreciating all the good things that exist right before us.

Which also means letting go of thoughts, things, people and habits that no longer spark joy in my life.

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

tidying upWith no time to clean or organize (for reasons stated above), shopping for things I already had, my mind and home has become a disorganized array of clutter with stuff I don’t even like, yet enjoy.

I am in the process of –

  • Removing anything in my home and work environment that doesn’t give me a sense of true enjoyment.
  • Guarding my time and my mind with my life. (Note: The 7-Day Mental Diet helps with the mind part)
  • Detoxing my doubts and limiting beliefs about what I can actually achieve.
  • Saying no instead of yes to people who want my time, even if the immediate rewards seem really great. My new motto, “If I don’t feel it, I don’t do it.”

“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

Part 3 Creating Love 

For me, creating love in my life begins with forgiving myself and others, no matter what my ego says.

Forgiving ourselves is a process that continues our whole life. We are so used to replaying the story of what is wrong with ourselves and others that living with a resentful, tight heart can become our most familiar way of being.

Thousands of times we might find ourselves caught in stories of what we are doing wrong. Thousands of times we might drop under our blame to where the deeper pain lives. With each round of freeing ourselves through forgiveness, we strengthen our recognition of our basic goodness.

Quote from

Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

416XVNN6NRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_If you have decided to make a change in your life, I would love to hear about your transformational process – what is working for you, books you are reading, workouts you love, films that have inspired with you.

The Greatest Version of You

Einstein_There-are-only-two-ways-to-live-your-life

The Highest Version of Myself

“When you become too familiar with who you are,

you have become in fact a real stranger to yourself.”

Quote from –

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Inspired by a morning meditation question, what does the best version of myself do today?

  • Frames everything I do with gratitude, appreciating my meals, family, work, friends and opportunities to inspire others and connect.
  • Spends time in the company of wise people while honoring their intelligence and wisdom.
  • Lives in a place and space that is good for me while attempting each moment to help myself and others and as I move in the direction of my heart and soul.
  • Learns daily, developing skills of communication and training with deliberate discipline using my words carefully and beautifully.
  • Takes good care of my mother, father and cherishes my husband, children and engages in a livelihood that is inspiring and uplifting with benefit to all.
  • Gives generously to others and lives with integrity.
  • Avoids doing harm and is careful not to over indulge while developing wholesome states of mind.
  • Respects life and others with humility and is content while appreciating the spiritual teachings brought into my life.
  • Is patient and compassionate with all of those on my path.
  • Lives simply and understands the deepest truth and the highest freedom and happiness of mindfulness.
  • Steadies my mind, never allowing my thoughts to be swayed by the ups and downs of life, free of sorrow and shame.
  • With this highest and humble version of myself, every where I go, I am at peace.

While my religion is not Buddhism, I respect and honor the wisdom of these teachings. I am also inspired by Steve Jobs and his advice for being the best version of you.

I would love to know what the best version of you would do today. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Inspired by the Book Awakening Joy  by James Baraz

Read

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness

The Secret to a Super Successful Day

the-coolest-hotel-in-every-state-and-dcThis human being is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

Some momentary awareness,

Comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house and
empty of its furniture.
Still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

Meet them at the door laughing,

And invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

Poem by Rumi

A Year with Rumi: Daily Readings

On the other hand . . .

not_my_circus_not_my_monkeys_poster-rc84903c43b174247b01ca0072c7c72a9_is56p_8byvr_1024

Safin Taxes-1

“The sweetness of adventures is in unpredictability. Life is a great thing, it’s new meetings, feelings, changes. I do not fear anything, and everything interests me. I could travel, be friends, visit as a guest. What more could I wish for? The fact that we could sit, watch, speak and normally cross the street – that is already happiness! One should value, what one has.”
Marat Safin