Believing in More

For the most part I think we all wish to become the deliberate creators of our own lives.  We truly want to believe that we still have the freedom and capability to shape our own realities.
We all want to believe that we can succeed in whatever our dreams may be. Yet somehow we get stuck. Stunted by our limiting beliefs.
I’m too old.
I’m too young.
I’m not smart.
I’m not pretty.
I’m not handsome.
I’m not thin.
I’m not funny.
I’m not wealthy.
I’m not talented enough.
Beliefs that break our hearts and kill our dreams.
it-takes-a-huge-effort-to-free-yourself-from-memory-quote-1
But let us for a moment dissect what a belief is and what that “enough” might buy us.
Let me know if you agree. A belief is a thought that is backed by your confidence, faith, trust and acceptance – it is an assumed truth for you  and the best explanation that you have based on the evidence you have experienced so far in life.
The word “enough” is an opportunity to grow. Ask yourself, what would it require you to be “enough” of something. What would you need to be, to be enough? What would you need to believe? What would you need to sacrifice?
Take a moment to reflect. Are your beliefs a detriment or a benefit to you? That is a good question to ponder.  While you are at it, be honest about the emotional payoff you get from your beliefs.
How does “I’m too old” get you off the hook from embarrassing yourself?
How does “I’m not talented” keep you from failing before you even begin?
Perhaps believing that you are not athletic gets you off the hook from getting in shape.
Maybe believing you aren’t creative keeps you from the agony and frustration of trying something new and being a beginner at something like painting, drawing or dancing.
No matter how old, young or smart we are, we must experiment with our lives to build new beliefs about ourselves.  Grow baby grow.
In order to transform, one must pull all of these tragic beliefs by the root, weeding the garden of the mind.
Remove the seemingly innocent beliefs of . . .
  • “I can’t tell the truth because I may get judged…” Better to be heard, than care about being judged.
  • “I don’t want to get close to this person lest my heart gets broken…” Let your heart be soft and forgiving, beating and pumping that love juice. Love again. 
  • “I don’t want to ask for what I want because, I might be rejected” Rejection is your projection my darling. 
  • “I can’t trust people because I’ve been betrayed before…” But what if you aren’t this time around? 
  • “I can’t pursue my dreams because I don’t know what I’d do if I fail. I can’t afford the risk.” What is life but a risk?

2.png

You become what you believe you can be. Before you can begin to grow, you must believe that you have what it takes.

Featured Artist

Mai @glitchostrich

 

Inner Thoughts & Outer Expressions

Our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have. Thank you Emmet Fox. By Madeline Johnson

I am very, very inspired by the teachings of Emmet Fox.

“All day long the thoughts that occupy your mind, your Secret Place, as Jesus calls it, are moulding your destiny for good or evil; in fact, the truth is that the whole of our life’s experience is but the outer expression of inner thought. Now we can choose the sort of thoughts that we entertain. It will be a little difficult to break a bad habit of thought, but it can be done. We can choose how we shall think—in point of fact, we always do choose—and therefore our lives are just the result of the kind of thoughts we have
― Emmet Fox, The Sermon on the Mount: The Key to Success in Life

you-must-not-under-any-pretense-allow-your-mind-to-dwell-on-any-thought-that-is-not-positive-quote-1

“Emmet Fox was one of the world’s greatest metaphysical teachers. His works have contributed profoundly to the spiritual understanding of millions of people, including myself.” (Marianne Williamson, author of A Return to Love)

j.png

Featured Artist

Japanese graphic designer @t.f.gallery

Slow, Deliberate & Intentional

You can’t bring anxious energy to long lasting change. By Madeline Johnson

More than 40% of our lives are spent in habit. Habits are those things we do, mindlessly, without any thought.  Bingeing on Neflix, emotional shopping and overspending, obsessively checking your Instagram, that second glass of wine every night, working 15 hours a day, never holding eye contact, obliviously eavesdropping, eating too quickly, forgetting to floss, overpromising and under delivering, drunken raging at your partner, the list goes on. . .

Some habits are not as harmful as others, but many of them can cause some pretty big issues – like feeling drowsy at work from lack of sleep, large credit card balances that are impossible to pay down, digestive issues and early onset of gum disease and many a bad and torturous break up .

The worst approach you can take towards breaking bad habits is to rush – the race to the finish line approach. The force it in your brain with daily affirmations and ten minute meditations, this doesn’t work for long lasting change.

When you set out to be a better person than you once were, change doesn’t come easy.  Correcting parts of your personality that don’t suit you anymore requires a change in thoughts, emotions, behaviors and habits – everything that creates the foundation of who you are.

You can’t bring anxious energy to long lasting change.  Pushing, forcing and shoving your way to a new version of you doesn’t have the strong and deep energy to create that staying power.  It doesn’t carve the deep enough grooves in our neural pathways to make the change stick.

there-is-no-statute-of-limitations-on-starting-over-re-invent-23197585

I found what has been working best for me is the slow, deliberate and intentional approach.

 

Featured Photographer

Robert Wood Cox on Instagram

 

To Be Fierce with A Fighting Spirit

To be inventive in the face of problems. Making more out of less. How hard can that be?  By Madeline Johnson

Early morning words of encouragement for all of you facing the day. Feisty, gutsy and full of fighting spirit. Shouldering  burdens, effortlessly. Never growing weary with struggle.  Adapting what is useful, rejecting what no longer serves and owning what is yours. Listening to the sound of your own intuitive voice.  Sometimes it whispers, often it shouts. You always listen, for clues.

voice

2To be inventive in the face of problems. Making more out of less. Staying juicy, scrappy and saying yes, sure, why not? I’ll try that. How hard can that be?

3..png

Flying forward fearlessly. Laughing in the face of what looks like lack. Holding on to what most would consider horrifying.  There’s not much left, but it’s still useful, you say. They don’t, but you know, almost everything is an opportunity to grow, a tool to transform.

4

Think of it this way. No one cares how you get there. They don’t know what you drove up in. Skip the valet, park it in the back and forge in with fighting spirit. Be unapologetically brave.

You may not feel it today, but you are divine. Some days are like that, your wings are weary and worn. Let them rest a while. Take a moment to breathe in the grace.

holy

In the words of Dylan Thomas, Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

While you can, you must.

5

 

I promise you – no one will care how you pulled it off. But oh, the stories you will tell. How they’ll entertain. Fascinating stories about seemingly hopeless situations that turned around, because of luck, fate and how you dared.  You and your moxie, you with your high-tailed initiative and relentless resourcefulness.

Sub Rosa

You didn’t spend more, take more, no you reinvented and discovered talents you never knew you had. You developed yourself, grappled with life. Down to the ground.

Those scars you bare. They share interesting stories about battles overcome. Scars on your heart, that you wear on your sleeve, because you were strong enough to show the world the strength of your soul.

6.png

Featured Artist

Agostino Arrivabene creates spiritual, surreal, occult paintings with a nod to the symbolists. Alchemists aimed to turn lead into gold: the seeker into the initiate– from suffering human to enlightened being.

Arrivabene seems to want us to have a limitless appreciation for the unknown, the hidden, the unknowable: the mysteries of the universe are unbounded. To have an appreciation of one’s own ignorance is paramount. Arrivabene’s paintings live in the liminal space between psychology and magic. They expand and make tangible the mysteries of the Western Spiritual Tradition. And in doing so, they are a reminder that while Newton was right, so too was Mandelbrot. Our minds are linear, limited, and ruled by reductive cause and effect and a bias towards narrative. But the world is messy, dirty, and with infinite causes, effects and unpredictability. The future and present are opaque. Arrivabene’s work creates a space for the mystery, the unknown, and the hidden.

Paintings

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.

creative process

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.

static1.squarespace

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. 

impattient

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.

kiki+smith+guide

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.

kiki-smith-congregation-tp-with-handpainting

Remember

doubt

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.

Be Who You Are, Not Who You Wish You Were

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

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

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

emma

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

c_s_lewis_quote-1

I use to think feeling happy was practically impossible.

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

So, Why The Hell am I So Happy?

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

Why are you so “happy”?

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

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

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 11.37.33 PM

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

shit

download

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

How to Be More Like You

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

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

yourself

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

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

facade

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

Emotional Masks

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

mask2

sting ray

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

Artwork by Dimitra Milan

 

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.

ellar

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

1694

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

1502
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?

1733
the-untethered-soul-summary

Emotions Over Thoughts and A Softer Way to Communicate

How to follow your intuition by becoming more mindful.

Three things I am working on right now.

Soul Singing

Question: What does my soul say today?

My soul doesn’t speak in thoughts. No, not at all. These thoughts that clutter my mind are just residual pain left over from the things I haven’t let go of yet. Thoughts of conflicts yet resolved.

My soul speaks in feelings, emotions, images, sounds, clues.

My soul speaks to me when I feel deep sadness, frustration, anger, contentment and happiness.

I can feel, see, taste, touch and listen to my soul when my mind is silent.

That’s why I meditate.

Weeding my mind garden so there is more room for a soul orchestra.

Good feelings can’t grow from grudges. Pure thoughts don’t come from residual pain.

These are the feelings from stories feared.

Letting these thoughts drift on by, help me weed my mind garden and clear the soil for a more softer, gentler and more compassionate state of being.

Recovering from the violent ways in which we communicate.

Judging, blaming, demanding, critiquing, name-calling.

Talk about your karma baby.

Softer thoughts lead to kinder words. Seeking more non-violent ways to communicate.

Inspired by Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss & Turning Your Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong

Mipham