Silent, Still & Open

I am removing what I thought was protecting my heart from being broken one more time. So the love can flow through.  Madeline Johnson

Psychological resistance is like an invisible wall that stands between who we are and who we want to become.

I want to be open to receiving more love.

We resist because we fear. We construct our own invisible walls of impossibility. We do this in all aspects of our lives, but the wall that can be the biggest barrier to our growth is the one we put between us and our relationships.

We need each other to survive.

Whatever you call the wall,  the emotional armor, the fence and property line that separate our thoughts and feelings from those of other people. Sometimes these boundaries keep us locked in, stunted and unable to grow.

I’m taking down my wall, brick by brick.  It starts with me.

No more interrupting what others have to say or predicting what might happen. No looking for fault lines in their character, or scanning for clues for what might hurt me in the future.

No scanning for threats and no rushing to move things along.

Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I let go of unmet expectations and realize that a bit of stress is another way of showing I care.

I am not going to even try to control the conversation and I will remember it’s not only my time, it’s your time. It’s this moment.

Opening to love.

I am removing what I thought was protecting my heart from being broken one more time. So the love can flow through.

I won’t interrupt. I will stop ending moments before they have had a chance to begin.

I remain curious, looking for signs of love. Clues along the way.

Expecting more love from all.

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Featured Artist

Maki Itanami 

 

Speed Demons: Breaking the Habit of Being Busy

We are all still so busy, using meditation as medication to calm ourselves down. By Madeline Johnson

While I have noticed more and more mindful coaches, lifestyle experts, AI-powered apps like Woebot and the exploding popularity of meditation used to calm down the mind, busy is still the commander’s intent. We are all still so busy, while using meditation as medication to calm ourselves down. We are using meditation the way we use camomile, lemon balm and kava and marijuana, wine and Ambien to cure us of the business of being busy.

Caught in a chaotic, frenzied pace, we are all on the chase. Chasing money, influence, success at the cost of our own peace of mind.

A herd of speed demons.

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What are the costs of being a speed demon? We live under a weight of demands, real and imagined, that is debilitating. We see an alarming increase in stress-related disorders of all kinds for all ages, beginning with elementary school-age children who are struggling with obesity, depression, anxiety, attention disorders and all kinds of learning disabilities, a list of problems for all ages. Read more about our destructive speed demoning here.

The antidote is patience.

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Impatience

the tendency to be impatient; irritable or restless. To be agitated, edgy, nervous.

Impatience feeds feelings of anxiety, anger, and fear. It can crush relationships and careers. Being impatient isn’t a great trait to have and results in feelings of guilt for your out-of-control behavior. Being impatient can get you into some bit trouble. It can also make you physically ill.

When you’re impatient, you view life as a something to get through; the task in front of you is something to just get done. When you’re impatient you’re trying to rush into the future.

When you are working on something – anything –  a business,  a writing assignment, losing weight, or writing a book – whatever it is – it is easy to get frustrated and wish you were further down the road – closer to your goal. . . but you may find it easier to do something different next time.

Go easier on yourself.  Give yourself sometime. Screw the frenzied pace of the outside world.

Be grateful for each small step closer to your goal –

  • If it’s your business – then appreciate that your sales are up today.
  • If it’s a writing assignment – than give yourself more time than you think you need.
  • If you are dieting – set a goal date that is realistic and journal your intake.

 

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Patience

the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

When we are patient, we are willing to stay in the moment, letting go of the tight grip, releasing control.

Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a thoughtful outlook on life. Patience leads to wisdom and peace. How does this happen? When we are patient we slow down, and in taking our time we’re able to see the complexity in life. We are able to hear all that is being communicated to us. When we are patient, we become conscious of the natural rhythms of life.

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In the words of Rob Bell . . .

Every moment spent working towards your purpose, calling and joy should be celebrated.

 

Featured Artist

Russell Weiss

 

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.

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

 

Featured Photographer

Robert Wood Cox on Instagram

 

Waiting For What We Want

Nobody likes to wait for what they want. Sometimes waiting can drive us crazy. Most often we must honor the holy rhythm of God’s timing. By Madeline Johnson

Nobody likes to wait for what they want. Sometimes waiting can drive us absolutely crazy.  Be patient, they will tell you. Screw you, is what you’re thinking.

Patience isn’t for those who simply place their hands in the air and let fate have its way. No, patience is a choice, a proactive way to approach the waiting game.  Patience becomes palatable when we combine it with gratitude and then continue to seek that which makes us happy, (yes even during the less than optimal circumstances of waiting).

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Most importantly we must remember to honor the holy rhythm of God’s timing. We must surrender to this waiting.

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It’s a cycle really. 

Expecting things to happen quickly makes us impatient, when things take longer we get angry and getting angry makes things seem like they take forever.

Read:  Our Brains Hate Waiting @SmithsonianMag

An interesting fact about waiting. The French word for waiting is “to attend”.

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While most of us cannot stand the notion of having to wait for what we want, perhaps the waiting, what we deem as the “wasted” time between what we don’t have and what we want, can be used for attending to what must be done. 

Perhaps, this annoying waiting is a gift. A give of time to attend to all that you should be taking care of before, you receive that which what you have been waiting for.

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Waiting gives you time to plan. Time to prepare for the worst and anticipate the best.

Waiting can be your weapon. As you wait, more and more possibilities open up to you. Options appear out of no where (if you let them).

You can go this way, or that way.  You can have this or you can have that. Time seems to expand opportunities.

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Surrendering to Serenity

The mere act of surrendering to the notion of waiting . . .actually leads to serenity. So the next time someone says to you as you worry while you wait, “let it go” . . . really let. it. go.

This letting go, the releasing of your tight grip. . . all that “worrying to try to control”  . . .  is actually quite liberating.

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Sometimes we try to think away the wait.  Our mind cleverly tries to coach us to be patient and we pray, pray, pray. That is all well and good, but we don’t always have to rely on our thoughts to comfort us. We can sit patiently and celebrate the silence in-between the thoughts, so we may attend to our soul.

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Featured Artwork

Eyes Like The Sky on Instagram

Controlling Your Own Climate

Better to learn how to adapt and overcome and to face ordeals head on, while watching carefully, what conditions shape your heart.  Madeline Johnson

Warning, this is not another conspiracy theory on climate control. This is about navigating the storms that can soak your soul with sorrow, harden your heart in a hailstorm of hatred and parch your mind until it’s baked and fried.

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What interests me here is understanding what we can control in ourselves as we face our daily struggles. Like the weather, we can control some things.

Nothing new, cloud seeding is the process of adding particles to clouds to force them to rain or snow.  The goal is to increase precipitation in places with water shortages. Snow to pack the slopes of Colorado, rain to grow the crops in Texas and water to fill the damns of Idaho. While a helpful advancement, cloud seeding doesn’t give us the ability to control all weather.

The Weather (like life) is Unpredictable

Most days, the winter weather conditions here in Delray Beach are really unpredictable. Visitors think Southeast Florida is always warm and sunny. Not the case, the weather is also quite localized.  Depending on where you are change can come on quite suddenly.  All in a single day – one can experience strong, blustery gusts of wind, then momentary clear, blue skies. Within minutes a sudden warm sun shower followed by a soft breeze and puffy passing clouds, until. . .thunderheads in the distance – a threat of a down pour.

Now, life normally doesn’t move along this quickly, but just like the weather life is always changing. The conditions, whether good or bad, come and go.

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Life brings on all types of conditions. Some we can control like cloud seeding and some we might have predicted if we paid closer attention. Then, there are the conditions that take us completely by surprise.

Life. Half the time we spend time doing stuff and the other half cleaning up our own messes. Sometimes we create our own storms. 

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I wake up sometimes wondering- what kind of dramatic weather will I be subjected to today? How will I be prepared to prevail -to move forward in the face of anything?

Who knows what today might bring?

There’s no such thing as being completely ready for whatever life throws you. You are never going to feel that you’ve got everything sorted and all figured out. If you get to the place where you’re just a little bit more excited than afraid, that’s when you go for it. That’s when you go all in. To hell with playing safe.

Better to learn how to adapt and overcome and to face ordeals head on, while watching carefully, what conditions shape your heart. 

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Read

The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Featured Artist

David Altmejd

 

 

Blazing A Trail

Clarity + patience + humility = victory by Madeline Johnson

“Where you are headed is more important than how fast you are going”

~ Stephen Covey

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Single-minded focus + patience + humility =

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Clarity gives you energy, a direction, a plan and courage. Before you begin get very, very, very clear on what you need and what you want first. Then hit the peddle.

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Being humble does not, in any way, equate to being a pushover or a doormat. One can be kind and still be immensely effective and powerful.  To be humble is to lay your ego to rest and to become comfortable in your humanness.

“To live fully is to always be in “no-man’s land”, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” Read Pema Chodron’s When Thing’s Fall Apart

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Having patience means being able to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity, so anywhere there is frustration or adversity—i.e., nearly everywhere—we have the opportunity to practice it. Read MoreThe Benefits of Being a Patient Person

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Featured Artwork

Nicole Watt is an internationally exhibited self-taught mixed media sculpture artist living and creating in the wilderness of Southern Tasmania, Australia.  Her exquisitely simplistic and emotionally driven characters blossom from a world long forgotten; a world hidden in the shadows of imagination where the wind blows wild, the trees groan with ancient secrets born from the whispers of the ancestors.

(Some) of The Most Important Things That Matter

I use to fill every moment of my day with something I could cross off my list later. #thatain’tliving

Elizabeth CarlsonI am Falling in Love with My Imperfections“.  A poem to learn from.

The more time I spend with the aging and the dying, the more I am beginning to understand what really matters each day.

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Their regrets become my wisdom and the important lessons to win tomorrow, while there is still life to be lived.  This is the stuff I should’ve learned so long ago and the lessons that should be taught in school.

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1. This moment right now, make it matter.  Make this moment important, vital and worth living.

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For so long I made a pact with myself to seek the truth, until I realized, that . . .

2. The truth you seek is only a matter of your perspective. There are many different versions of the truth.

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There are many realities. There are many versions of what appears obvious. Whatever appears as the unshakeable truth, its exact opposite may also be true in another context. – Amish Tripathi

Embrace the ability to see all things as they are and not as we ‘think’ they are. Reality in all it’s forms, is our friend.

3. All of our experiences shape us. We should seek new experiences and adventures each day. Try stuff. All sorts of stuff.  Expand our borders.

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You may think your “story” is boring, ordinary and not worth sharing, but you are wrong. Very wrong. You have some experience with life and someone out there can learn from your mistakes. You hold the power to lift someone up with a single sentence, a lesson learned.  Share your lessons with strangers.

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4. We are so much more powerful than we even know. Our words can be weapons, a single sentence can be as sharp as a sword. You can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.

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To play our roles in life well – whatever the roles are, brother, father, husband, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, mentor. . .we simply must be and do that which is right at the moment and do it with patience and kindness.

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5. The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.

So listen deeply to friends and enemies. Listen quietly for all the missing words, the things they don’t say. All of it can teach you as well.

And remember, fear not the angry and rageful. To see compassionately how others may be in pain.

Stay soft and available always. Yes, you can train, practice and prepare for the future, but most importantly, be adaptable, flexible and ready to pivot, detour and move on when things aren’t going well.

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Sharing our gifts, bringing our best and leaving those we encounter feeling stronger and more inspired after we leave them.

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Be emotionally free, while letting go of all resentment and anger. Forgiving all.

6. Continue to strip life of all that bogs us down. Boiling our actions down to the most important.

Speaking fewer words, owning less of everything, accomplishing more by doing less.  Every so often, it is our duty to cleanse our emotional baggage and past hurt. Heal our pain and fix our faulty parts by becoming more self-aware while understanding the genesis of our emotions

7. Treat ourselves well. Guard our minds, keep thoughts bright, clear and as strong as can be.

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8. To prepare for the transition of  life/death/life. Learning to love the open ended mystery of not knowing why.

Balance out the days with enough sleep time, intimacy time, work & focus time, time in (self-reflection), down time and play time. Live each day as if it was your last.

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Remember this, when it all falls apart or there’s a heavy cross to bear and the storm is on the horizon. Learn to adapt and adjust daily.

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“Amid a world of noisy, shallow actors it is noble to stand aside and say, ‘I will simply be.”
Henry David Thoreau

“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.”
Allen Ginsberg

“The snow goose need not bathe to make itself white. Neither need you do anything but be yourself.”
Lao Tzu

    • Featured art “Sounding Silence” by

Michael Cheval

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Seriously Good Questions to Help Free Your Soul

To be aware of a single shortcoming within oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in somebody else.  

Dalai Lama

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I’m listening for the unknown in the silence.  For my inner guidance system to tell me what to do.
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Inspired by Tim O’Reilly and his explanation on the process he goes through when considering important decisions. How he waits for better answers in the unknown.
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Instead of following the Argyris Ladder of Influence. The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. … Draw conclusions based on the interpreted facts and our assumptions while developing beliefs based on these conclusions.
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Learning more about the Structural Differential (a physical chart or three-dimensional model illustrating the abstracting processes of the human nervous system) helps to understand why we should remain curious about the unknown instead of formulating answers based on old beliefs.
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What must I let die today? What most go, in order for me to love more deeply? To live more intently? To embrace life more purposely?

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1. That I am not a perfect fit for the world.
2. That I’m not enough, that I need to be more of anything.
3. That I am lost and disconnected.
4. That I must wear this heavy armor and use my tongue as my sword.
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What am I hesitant in doing?

1. Being more thoughtful and patience with myself and others.
2. Picking one path – oh, it might be a mistake. I make get caught looking stupid, feeling vulnerable and terribly exposed.
3. Speaking my whole truth. The damn truth and nothing but the fucking truth.
4. Creating a life I really want to live.
5. Becoming more loving – the real kind of loving – the unconditional kind.
6. Letting go of the pain of my past.
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What should continue to live? And what life am I afraid to give birth to today?

  1. More of my curiosity about everything.
  2. Trusting where love takes me.
  3. Exploring the lush but uncharted territory of this world.
  4. Listening deeply with a more loving and tender heart.
  5. My deep desire to connect with others.
  6. More leaning on the cheek of god, doing things that expand my mind and conscience.
  7. Allowing my heart to break open –  a vast and oceanic heart.
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Something to think about.  A new perspective on sparking more joy in your life.
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I use to wake up each morning wondering “What if?” My mind blown with anxiety.
What if he leaves me? What if I can’t contribute? What if I become ill? What if the world should end?
Now, I wake up each morning and change that “What if?” to acceptance and gratitude for
“What is.” Simply, What is. 
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