Just Keep Going

When you are so tired you and you simply can’t do another moment. Keep going. Just keep moving. Don’t stand still.  Madeline Johnson

When you feel like you have had enough. When your eyes are burning from exhaustion. When you are so tired you and you simply can’t do another moment. Keep going. Just keep moving. Don’t stand still.  Push yourself forward.

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Rather than depleting yourself with judgments about what you haven’t done, redirect that energy toward the next big push—the one that takes you from good enough to better. The one that takes you from adequate to extraordinary. The one that helps you rise up from a low moment and reach for your personal best.

Read more: Oprah on pushing yourself.

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Featured Art

@acidntrippy 

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.

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’.

Bad Choices & More Thoughtful People

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. Madeline Johnson

Decisions. We have so many to make every day. Although unscientifically proven, there seems to be a general consensus that we make about 35,000 decisions a day on average.

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Decisions vs Choices

According to Cornelia Schepis, there is a distinction between decision and choice. Every time you decide you’re literally killing your possibility to be self expressed. You’re putting up with something and there’s lack of freedom and power right there. When you choose you are freely and powerfully creating space for self expression and possibilities. This is a distinction that most of human beings unfortunately isn’t aware of. So don’t feel bad. I’m glad you brought this question up. Said that, we live in a society and often we are required to make decisions and not choices. I’d say as long as you know the distinction and you’re aware of which you’re choosing, it’s “ok”.

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Guided By Our Intuition

As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are even confidant when we are wrong and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.

From Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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What Thoughtful People Do

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. They are observant to the needs of those around them and are as kind and considerate as possible.

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They learn from the past, prepare for the future and act in the present moment.

They don’t walk away from arguments. They see other thoughts and ideas as a challenge to think bigger.

Incredibly curious about whatever they are studying. They ask the best questions.  They don’t settle for what they know. They understand that “If you don’t seek, you don’t know.”

They decide that everything that happens to them is feedback, lessons to be learned. Good or bad, they take in the teaching and move forward stronger.

They have taken the time to decide what is important, what really matters in their life. Relationships, good work, enjoying the ordinary. They know how and with whom to spend their time.

Thoughtful people build from what they have in the moment. They make best use of their current situation and work with what they’ve got.

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They know what they can control and what they can’t but they also understand that they have choices. They exert self-control. After deliberation and consideration, they make thoughtful choices.

They review all possibilities and focus on possible best outcomes, knowing full well, that the only thing constant in life is change.

Read: This is How High Achievers Make Smart Decisions

A Case For Being More Thoughtful 

Your (intuitive) brain is lazy and causes you to make intellectual errors.

Take the test –

A baseball bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

I’ll give you a second.

Got it?

If your instant and initial answer is $0.10, I’m sorry to tell you that system 1 just tricked you.

Do the math again.

And?

Once you spent a minute or two actually thinking about it, you’ll see that the ball must cost $0.05. Then, if the bat costs $1 more, it comes out to $1.05, which, combined, gives you $1.10.

Another way to understand this –

Although $1.00 + $0.10 does equal $1.10,  if you take $1.00 – $0.10 you get $0.90, but the problem requires that the bat costs $1 more than the ball.

So, the ball must cost $0.05, and the bat must cost $1.05 since $1.05 + $0.05 = $1.10

Fascinating, right? What happened here?

Sometimes your brain perceives problems as simpler as they actually are.

Why does your brain do this?  The law of least effort states that your brain uses the minimum amount of energy for each task it can get away with.

Read even more: 17 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Intruding Thoughts And Intuitive Ones

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Featured Art

May Ray

André Breton once described Man Ray as a ‘pre-Surrealist’, something which accurately describes the artist’s natural affinity for the style. Even before the movement had coalesced, in the mid 1920s, his work, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, had Surrealist undertones, and he would continue to draw on the movement’s ideas throughout his life. His work has ultimately been very important in popularizing Surrealism.

 

 

 

 

Nothing is Stopping You

Don’t make starting something new daunting. Gather the tools you need for success. Madeline Johnson

For most of us, when we decide we want to make a change, try something new, transform our ways and set our sights on brand new goals, we talk about it. We talk about it to just about anyone who will listen. We talk about how bad we want it. How it’s going to make us so much better. How great it will be when we do it. “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain”

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The simple stupid secret to getting where you want to go is that it’s never too soon to begin.  So you some take action and you don’t get caught up in the results. You do a little bit of it.  You start. You do one small step each hour, day, week . .. to get to the goal, the finish line. Whatever that line looks like.  15 pounds off, a new business idea, writing that damn book or maybe dating again. You begin each day with a motivated step in that direction.  And you don’t make it daunting. If you are losing weight, make sure there is healthy food in the fridge and a gym near by; if you are writing a book, get up earlier and start writing your thoughts down; gather the tools you need for success.

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What is it going to take to get to the finish line? A lot. A lot of repeated moments of practice, success, planning and failing.

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Don’t let your desire for perfection, become your procrastination. Get messy with it. Watch those micro-decisions you make throughout the day.

Read Awaken The Giant Within

Read Mark Twain: His Words, Wit and Wisdom

Featured Art

Dimitra Milan

“I want my artwork to inspire people to make them feel anything is possible. I want people to understand their true identity and believe in their destiny.“

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.

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.

 

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Running Down A Dream

Between you and me, I feel your frustrations. It’s a new year and you are on to new things. Secretly, you may not actually tell anyone but you might have promised/sworn to yourself that this is THE year (finally dammit) that you are going to start doing that thing or maybe the things you’ve always wanted to do. The big things. The important things.

Begin writing that blog, outlining the book, building that business, start your volunteering project, working on your tree house, planning that vacation, etc.  Yes, you have told yourself you are going to start working on the dreams you’ve had for quite some time that keep getting placed on the back burner while you are taking care of everyone and everything else. You’re not actually sharing it with anyone because you know there is a strong probability that you won’t get around to beginning, that your secret “resolutions” will be broken before you even have a chance to start.

You already know that this New Year New You thing is all a bunch of hype created by marketers who want to sell you detox juice cleanses and gym memberships. Today’s post is about turning your New Year’s Resolutions into a daily practice of self reflection and ongoing development. Yes, we all probably need a spark of something like ambition and self-motivation to begin building our dreams, the actual transformation happens with small steps taken each day and with a disciplined commitment to continuous iteration.

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 You can’t do it all today, but you can start.

I know this because I have had the same issues. I am too busy. I have to make money, pay the bills, cook the food, maintain the house and I have many different people in my life that depend on me for guidance, support and love.

I’m just spread so thin.

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So, like any day of the year, you start out with a list of things that need to get done today. It might be a mental list, or if you are like me, you might have written or typed your list somewhere.  The thing is, if you want to truly start working on some of those dreams, all of that stuff that you are checking off your list must be prioritized or it will be 3:00 in the afternoon before you know it and you will be kicking yourself for not having started anything that really matters most to you.

What’s Important Vs. Urgent

Knowing the difference between what is urgent and what is important in your life is the ticket to winning the day. So much seems “urgent”, but you must identify what is most important and do what is important first. For me, it is getting out a post a day here, so I got up early and made it the thing I had to do. The most important. Sure it has taken three times as long to write it, but I will make more improvements tomorrow.

So many things in life can feel urgent, but they are not. Up close, things feel so much bigger. Checking emails, answering texts, posting on social media all seem urgent and important, but they usually are not. Not to that future thing you are trying to build.

Try today to understand what you need to do to begin that dream and do those things first.

Make your to do list and type an “I” for important next to the things you need to do today to get you closer to where you need to be and a “U” next to those urgent things that you will get done after you’ve done the most important. 

Seems so simple right? Just because it’s simple, doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Don’t Let Your Ambition Overwhelm You

Ambition is the fire, the desire, but when it takes over it can consume you and your time. If you struggle with living a life of overwhelming busyness that you know you can’t sustain, I urger you to stop what you are doing and listen to Rob Bell’s “What to do with your ambition podcast” right now.

Ambition has a place in your life, but it shouldn’t drive you crazy with busyness. Left unbridled, it will.

How do you know if your ambition has got the best of you? Rob explains it as a haunting exhaustion. You are pushing too hard and you don’t know why. It’s when you have over committed and you say yes to everything – and you don’t remember why you did.

Speaking of curbing that overwhelming feeling, it is also important to stay hyper-realistic about what you can do vs what you wish you could do right now. Of course you are not going to write the whole book today, but what is one step you can take to get closer to beginning? You may start out with great intentions, but those long lists of everything that must get done in order to create your masterpiece – you know “the plan” can only be accomplished one task at a time.

Break Those Goals Down To Small Wins

“Too much ambition … can be a problem,” explains Tim Ferris. “not for the world, but for someone individually if it is manifested as a pure focus on self-achievement without any counter-balancing practice that allows you to appreciate [life].”

Collecting a Jar of Awesome

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Ambition must be counter balanced with appreciation. I am going to start today by creating my own jar of awesome. Once a day, I am going to jot down the good moments on my journey. I am going to stop for a moment to jot down something I’ve accomplished towards my goals and celebrate what makes me feel happy, grateful — the small wins.

Inspiration

Books

Stephen Pressfield’s The War of Art

The War of Art emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline.

Tim Ferriss Tribe of Mentors

A compilation of tools, tactics, and habits from 130+ of the world’s top performers. From iconic entrepreneurs to elite athletes, from artists to billionaire investors, their short profiles can help you answer life’s most challenging questions, achieve extraordinary results, and transform your life.

Rob Bell

What to Do With Your Ambition

You are not here to settle. You are crammed full of greatness. Giving your life to something that means something to you.

How to Be here

How to Be Here lays out concrete steps you can use to define and follow your dreams, interweaving engaging stories, lessons from biblical figures, insights gleaned from Rob’s personal experience, and practical advice. Rob gives you the support and insight you need to silence your critics, move from idea to action, take the first step, find joy in the work, persevere through hard times, and surrender to the outcome.

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Featured Art 

Kate Macdowell, Sculpture

We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough.  We want something else which can hardly be put into words–to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. – C.S. Lewis.

Kate MacDowell’s hand-built porcelain sculptures respond to environmental threats and their consequences, revealing the rifts and frictions between man and nature. Based out of Portland, Oregon, her work has been shown throughout the US, Japan and Europe and at Scope Miami and New York, ArtAmsterdam, ArtHamptons, Art London, London Art Fair, Showoff Paris , Solo Project Basel, NEXT and Art Chicago fairs. She was recently an artist in residence at the Kohler Arts and Industry Program and will have work in group exhibits at JMKAC (Wisconsin), and MAD (NY) this year.

The Endless Struggle to Think Well of Ourselves & Living in a World Where Everyone is Real

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm; but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

T.S. Eliot “The Cocktail Party”

 

 

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Fact: A complete stranger upon meeting you within the first five minutes of getting to know you, will know more about your flaws than you will ever learn in a life time. 

-Alain de Botton

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Caught up in their own self-centered drama, most wander the planet fantasizing that they are a caring and kind person even when inside they know they are a absolutely reckless and uncaring.  We all walk the fine line of wanting to be accepted and appreciated while anxiously defending our ego.

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I agree with Alain de Botton –

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However, there is a difference between living for approval and connecting with others without ego.

Living in a world where everyone is real. (an excerpt from Radical Acceptance)

One of the most remarkable things I’ve noticed about the Dalai Lama is how he treats everyone equally. When the Dalai Lama says “My religion is kindness” he is expressing his commitment to live with the unconditionally open and loving heart of compassion. Kindness is a facet of the jewel of compassion.  It is the desire to help that arises when we remember that we are connected with every living being we meet. Each person is precious, each person is fragile, each person matters.

Remembering we are all real.

 

Read:

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

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