Resuscitating Back To Life

A shift in perspective can give life to something that feels dead. By Madeline Johnson

Lately I have been experiencing many shifts in perspective about my life. A shift in perspective can give life to something that feels dead.  It can breathe fresh air into an old relationship, it can help you finally see the opportunity in a recurring nightmare of a problem, a change of energy can help you resolve an “issue” that you keep experiencing over and over.

I am beginning to see things differently, especially the problems and pain points – the obstacles that I face every day. Between you and me, they aren’t huge challenges, but they aren’t small either and thank God they don’t effect my health.

You and I both know, your mental and physical health is everything. Soul health too. Soul health is most important.

“Poverty consciousness and a sense of “not enough” can cast a shadow on your path. These ideas and core beliefs come with a high cost. Do you really want to proclaim yourself a victim of disappointment and failed expectations? Are you avoiding success because you will grow so tall that others may want to cut you down? Or is it possible that you are caught in a fear that you will lose what you have acquired, so you hold on so tight that you miss the opportunities to expand? You are being challenged to change the way you see the world and move from a perception of limitations to a perception of abundance. Take a risk, for you have nothing to lose except your confinement in a prison of your own making. Open the door and find the abundance waiting for you to claim it.

-from Wisdom of the Oracle Card Deck

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I use to think that the best form of prayer is a simple, single prayer of gratitude and appreciation for whatever God gives us. I still believe that to be true, but now I also understand that the act of prayer is also an invitation to surrender to what we think we need and want.

I now think of the power of prayer as a form of letting go and accepting that God knows better and with us at all times. 

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It was Gabby Bernstein today that turned me on to a new way of praying that truly resonates with me.

Dear God,

Thank you for showing me creative solutions

that are beyond my sight. 

So often we pray for what we think we need instead of surrendering to the knowledge that God has bigger, better plans for us. When we are open and allowing God to take over our lives we unleash the strength within us and stay open to the power of the universe and possibility. It is then that we collaborate and create our masterpiece in union with the divine.

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Remember, you are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you keep.

You are what you take from these. They leave an impression on you. Be careful what you consume.

You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life.

So drown yourself in a deep and beautiful sea of knowledge and existence. Let these experiences run through your veins and let the essence fill your mind and soul.

 

Featured Art

Holly Denham on Instagram

 

Flowing Not Forcing

Slow down and let your breath anchor you into this moment, where you remain at peace and with the pace of this universe.  By Madeline Johnson

Today is the day I let go.  I let go and for damn good reason. I let go of attaching myself to what I think I need and want. This is true freedom.

I have no control over when my last breath will be, so if I cannot control something as essential as my breath, which keeps me alive, who is to say I can control anything else.

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The only thing between me and death is my breath. I don’t want to catch my breath, I want to slow it down and let it anchor me into this moment, where I remain at peace and with the pace of this universe.

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Recommended Reading

Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life – Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer

The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

The Tao Te Ching is a series of meditations on the mysterious nature of the Tao–the Way, the guiding light, the very source of all existence. According to Lao Tzu (a name meaning “the old master”), the Tao is found where we would least expect it–not in the strong but in the weak; not in speech but in silence; not in doing but in “not-doing.”

Poems by Cristen Rodgers 

“Once I made it through the darkest and most difficult parts of my personal adventure, I came to realize that this magic key wasn’t meant just for me – it could be a gift to others as well.  I could use my pen to throw the doors wide open and allow the truths that had so profoundly improved my life to find their way to others who are stepping upon the path that I walked myself.”

Featured Artist

@miles_art on Instagram

Miles Johnston  was born in the UK in 1993. He spent the first few years of his early childhood living in Brunei, Borneo, something that he is sure had a major effect on him. The totally different environment gave him the intuition early on that there is no true ‘normal’.

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.

Come Hell or High Water

This post is about tenacity and the mindset behind achieving your dreams and goals.
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I’ll Try vs I Will
We often say, “I’ll try,” because “try” gives us an out. Our ego isn’t on the line. Our identity isn’t on the line. After all, if we fail, at least we tried.
Once you say, “I will,” your perspective changes. What previously seemed insurmountable is no longer a matter of luck or chance but of time and effort and persistence.
When what you want to do really matters, don’t say “I’ll try.” Say “I will,” and then keep that promise to yourself.
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Trying is a Procrastination Tool
Trying is built in failure, a procrastination tool, it buys some time, keeps you comfortable, gives you permission to stay non-committed. It gets you off the hook.
You can’t improve until you finally go from try to will. Dreamers have a problem with this kind of stuff.
Read more “9 Difficult Decisions the Happiest People Always Get Right” here
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Stop disappointing yourself.
Trying is okay when you are exposing yourself to new people, places or opportunities, it’s not okay when you are determined to meet your goals.
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Featured Art

Max Ernst was a German painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and poet. A prolific artist, Ernst was a primary pioneer of the Dada movement and Surrealism.

Trust the Process

Trusting the process and reaching your goals. by Madeline Johnson

Goals can be so absolutely frustrating. Some days they seem to be so out of reach. Setbacks require creativity and a successful process. Read: Movement & Creativity.

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Trust the process.

Trust the Process has become a catchphrase in sports. It means sticking to a long-term plan even in the face of bad short-term outcomes. … Trust the Process means sticking to a well-grounded methodology to accomplish a long-term goal.

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Much of this calls for redefining, or refining, one’s relationship with time, and all the qualities and skills that will only come from engaging time more creatively and effectively. 

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The Difference Between Goals and Processes or Systems

  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a successful business. Your process (system ) is your processes for sales, marketing, fulfillment, operations, etc.
  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your (process) system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your (process) system is the writing schedule you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your (process) system is your training schedule for the month

The repetitive process, the habit, the ritual, the daily “doing” is what gets you to the goal. If you focus on the goal, you will get frustrated. Basically, you give up the need for immediate results. Transformation doesn’t happen in a moment, it happens over time.

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Better to Iterate

Think of repetition as doing the same thing with the same data over and over. Think of iteration as doing the same thing with different or refined data.

& Measure your success with feedback loops.

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Remember

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Books to Read to help you develop your creative process.

Steal Like An Artist

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

Big Magic

Elizabeth Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.

Featured Art

Kiki Smith Woven Tapestries

Kiki Smith works at the scale of the tapestry, creating large collages on paper from cutout drawings, photolithographs, and various textural elements. The collages are sent to Magnolia Editions, photographed, printed at scale and sent back to Smith for more handwork and collaging; this cycle continues (often for months) until the design is ready to be translated into a digital weave file and sent to an electronic, double-headed Jacquard loom for proofing as a textile.

“It’s the way that I work,” she told me from her studio in New York last summer, “making sculptures, too, I do the exact same thing: I make drawings, and from the drawings I make rubber stamps; from the rubber stamps I make impressions in clay, then waxes, and then sculptures. It’s a transformation, moving from one way of generating an image to another, which makes a hybrid.” Smith’s choice to compose her tapestries at scale rather than enlarging smaller images is crucial to their impact. To work large is “to emphasize the holiness of it,” she explains: “historically, these things were made to blanket walls… They’re blanketing space. In mosques you have the kilims that are hundreds of years old sitting on top of each other for prayer, and there’s that relationship between cloth and life and protection.” …

Kiki Smith’s critically acclaimed tapestries depict “a mythical world wherein human and animal forms entwine with natural phenomena” (Artforum); they have been exhibited internationally at venues including Pace Editions (New York), Timothy Taylor (London), Haus der Kunst (Munich) and Lorcan O’Neill (Rome). This 2018 survey of Smith’s tapestry editions to date features an interview with the artist and an essay by Nick Stone.

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

 

 

Hardwired for Happiness

Changing your thoughts to create your future by Madeline Johnson with Dr. Joe Dispenza

According to Dr. Joe Dispenza in this lecture, 95% of who we are by the time we are 35 is a memorized set of behaviors, a pattern of emotional reactions, continual unconscious habits, hardwired attitudes, rigid beliefs and perceptions.
We become very predictable people.
If we decide that perhaps we want something better, perhaps change in our lifes, we must start with our thoughts.

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If you agree and believe that the way you think has some effect on you life, than changing the way you think is the only real solution for transformation.

In order to become better versions of who we are for a better life, we must change our personalities.

Terri Duan

How Our Personalities Are Formed

We have around 60,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. That’s an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. Out of those 60-70 thousand thoughts that you think, 90% of those thoughts are the same thoughts as the day before.

If you believe (like I do) that your thoughts are some how connected to your life, then the same thoughts always lead to the same choices, which eventually lead to the same outcomes.

Thoughts for Change

Since the same choices always lead to the same behaviors, the same behaviors create the same experiences.

The same experiences produce the same emotions.

Those very same emotions drive those very same thoughts.

A vicious circle and a predictable life.

Your thoughts, fueled by emotions effect your entire life, including your biology, your neurocircuitry, your neurochemistry, your neurohormones, and even your genetic expression. It is all equal to how you think, how you act and how you feel.

How you think, how you act and how you feel is called your personality and your personality creates your personal reality.

Art by Robert Jahns

 

Overcoming Distractions & That Overwhelming Feeling

Distractions keep us from focusing on our mission. If you don’t have a mission, that’s okay, think of your mission as anything you say that you really want to “focus” on if you had the time, the money, the resources. You know, your hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

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Everything feels like a distraction at times, which can lead to feeling overwhelmed especially when distractions are inviting and enticing.

Do what Adam Robinson does. Ask yourself this question – my notes from Tribe of Mentors.

Where should I be focusing my attention right now?

Mission

 

Art by Russ Mills

https://byroglyphics.co.uk/

Firing Your Mind & Taking Stock of Your Personal Inventory

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Dear Mind of Mine,

Oh, how you trouble me so. Fretting and worrying about things completely out of your control.  I remind you today that I am not getting involved in your ridiculous melodrama.  As a matter of fact, it’s time you and I took an extended vacay. 

– Me, Myself & I

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Now that I’m not playing those mind games anymore, what will I do with all this free time?

I’ll start by taking inventory- pause, take that deep breath – oh, dear, what the hell is my heart feeling now?

What are my shoulders doing? How is my stomach feeling? How about my right toe? Is my mind wandering off into fantasyland and nightmares again?
Checking in with myself.

Stopping a moment to take my inventory. What am I lugging around that I no longer need?

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Aiming Higher & Reaching Over Your Heart

They say you are drawn to what you value. What you think is really important in life. Your values lead you to the types of friends you associate with, the places you visit, the work you enjoy, who you fall in love with, what you do in your free time and all the other incredible things you do here on this big, crazy, beautiful planet.

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We don’t talk about the importance of having good values in school. We should, but we don’t.  Not yet anyway. 

I am thinking about my values a lot lately. What I use to value (having a lot of fun, making a lot of money, looking a certain way, etc) and what my values look like now. My values are changing quickly. The more I grow, the more my values change. 

The type of personality traits I now value. For me and for you.

1. Optimistic warmth (genuine kindness, thoughtfulness, and a sense that the glass is always at least half full);

2. Intelligence (not just “smarts” but rather an insatiable curiosity to learn for the sake of learning);

3. Work ethic (a natural tendency to do something as well as it can possibly be done);

4. Empathy (an awareness of, care for, and connection to how others feel and how your actions make others feel);

5. Self-awareness (an understanding of what makes you tick

6.  Integrity (a natural inclination to be accountable for doing the right thing with honesty and superb judgment).

This trait list inspired by this article about what Danny Meyer’s says to look for when hiring the right people.

Act II: Living a More Deliberate  and Intentional Life

Anytime I see anyone from high school whether in real life or on social media, they say they remember me as this carefree, fun loving girl with tons of energy. 

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While the life of the party might have served me well for all thing things that high school is about – partying, socializing and basically having a great time (at least that was my experience), those same traits led me down some very challenging and difficult paths.

Why?

Because I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. I lived so “in the moment” that I never really stopped to seriously consider what I wanted to do with my life. So, I didn’t make any real decisions for myself. I just let things happenI just did whatever anyone else was doing. If it looked good and sounded like fun, I did it.  -Like going to the same college as my best friend – why not?  Choosing a career that allowed me to speak in front of many, many people and express my point of view. Of course. Eloping with the guy I met on the train –well okay? Having four children in the span of six years, because, well, who was thinking, planning or considering the responsibilities involved in raising four beautiful humans?

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Now, on the flip side, I have a very strong ability to keep on keeping on. Most likely a choice-supportive bias with a bit of ambiguity effect in place here. Resilient, persistent and stubborn to the point of stupidity, I made it through and by society’s standards with a decent amount of success.

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I built the career, raised the children, made the money, bought the house, went on the vacations and somehow even seemed to survive the roller coaster ride of being married and divorced to a bipolar manic depressive who was non-compliant with his medication and irrationally obsessed with traveling the country tripping his balls off while following the Grateful Dead.

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You see I made choices without really knowing myself and stuck to my cognitive biases and compromised so much of myself. It’s not like I feared anything, but more like I just kept going, without ever questioning. I was determined to starve before I was hungry.

Until now. Now I can be anywhere I want, doing anything I damn well feel. Which begs the question.

What does a life filled with intention look like for me? 

You see, the way I look at it – if I got this far not knowing what the hell I wanted, well can you just imagine when I do?

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. 

Henry David Thoreau.

 

Beautiful image of the woman with the dove coming out of her face.