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

 

In Search of A More Peaceful Existence

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast. Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. By Madeline Johnson

Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index. This is a study of 163 independent nations and territories around the world that uses indicators to determine which nations are the most dangerous, as well as which are the most peaceful. At the top of this list is Iceland. This isn’t a surprise, as this nation has taken the top spot for 10 years in a row. Features that stand out in this country that make it the most peaceful in the world is low crime rates and “non-existent” tension among the economic classes. My husband says it’s because very few people live there.

Why am I searching for the most peaceful places in the world?

I am in search of stillness, peace and more time for me. A place where I can savor the day and not feel engulfed by the competitive madness and ongoing consumption.

It Takes Time To Be Better

You see, when you set out to improve your life, to be a better person, you take on the responsibility of owning your actions, behavior, thoughts, words and reactions to others. This process invites you to continually observe yourself and treat your life like an experiment. You are the lab rat.  This self-inventory and reflection takes time and deep thought. So most of us who claim we don’t have that extra time to focus on ourselves, are advised to get up earlier. Yes, rise up at 5:00 am so you can have an hour or so to yourself. Time to journal, meditate, pray and contemplate your existence without a flurry of text messages or email requests disrupting your concentration.

Now the rest of the day is spent showering, eating, commuting, emailing, talking, working, writing, waiting in line, food prepping, laundering, shopping, and the list goes on.  . .

I ask you, what kind of world do we live in that we are told just 10 minutes a day of meditation and a few yoga breaths and stretches is all we need to feel better?

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast.

Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. Some unraveling of our emotions, resting of our souls, listening to our hearts, feeling our emotions, basking in our spirit and rising to our light.

 

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Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.

-Rita Schiano

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Featured Art

Kulinovic Marko on Instagram

 

Self-Renewal

Your higher voice needs to be listened to. It is the one with the best advice.  By Madeline Johnson

This new chapter of my life is called smiling again.

The truth is, everything will be okay, as soon as you are okay with everything. 

– Michael Singer, author of The Untethered Soul

Reinventing yourself begins by slowing down. Being at peace. Staying calm.

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But how does one learn to chill out?  A 3-minute listen to the wisdom of Jordan Bach here.

Your higher voice needs to be listened to. It is the one with the best advice.  In the past two weeks my inner, deeper, more knowing voice told me loud and clear – do not complain and do not doubt.

Consult not your fears, but your hopes and dreams.

Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.

Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.

Pope John XXIII

 

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Featured Artwork on Instagram

 

 

The Balancing Act of Daily Living

It can’t be a go, go, go kind of day, everyday, all day.  One must leave some room for rest and relishing in the goodness. By Madeline Johnson

There is beauty in the act of staying open to life. Staying open to the organic experiences that aren’t on the calendar – that aren’t on the schedule.

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Saying yes to new opportunities is a wonderful idea. Saying yes to invitations, offers and experiences. Saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes is a solution to staying relevant and valuable in today’s uncertain times.

Saying yes can also lead to dead ends, to new problems, to over commitment and letting others down.

But there is a problem to saying yes to too much. There is struggle between how much time one has, how much you can commit to and how much sanity you need in your life to stay balanced.

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The struggle between slowing and rushing, the pushing and plotting, the busyness of life and the feeling of being over committed and stuck on the wheel of progress and production. Too much work leaves one feeling depleted yet too little and you feel left out, unnecessary and irrelevant.

This is the fine balance of carving enough time out of each day to breathe and dive into the work – to produce a better quality of work.

It can’t be a go, go, go kind of day, everyday, all day.  One must leave some room for rest and relishing in the goodness. Some time self care and reflection.  It is in these small windows of time that one transforms. When you sit back at the end of the day and decide what worked and didn’t for you and then decide what you will say no to – tomorrow.

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Featured Artwork

Aykut Aydogdu was born in 1986, Ankara – Turkey. He started studying Fine Arts at high school and graduated from Faculty of Fine Arts – Graphic Design. He has various works on commercial illustrations, magazine covers, movie posters. His surreal figurative works are mainly concentrated on the dilemmas of the daily life.

Unapologetically You

There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. By Madeline Johnson

To be unapologetically you – at your best –

gloriously flawed.

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It’s crazy how many people inspire others just by the way they live their lives. They don’t preach, they don’t coach, they just live their lives the way they see fit  – and through that act – they become an inspiration for others.

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There is only one decision for you to make today. Do what is true and meaningful for you. Time is running out. So get to it before you let someone else decide for you.

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Welcome this brand new day.

Use it as you will.

Waste it or fill it with goodness.

You have a choice.

Tomorrow it will be a memory.

Let it be a sweet one for all.

 

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Featured Artist

Stefano Bonazzi

 

Marvel At Your Life

Experiment and play with your life. Get your hands dirty – no better yet, get your soul filthy with experience. By Madeline Johnson

Trust yourself. Trust your inner guidance – it comes in the form of intuition. I promise, God won’t keep you guessing.

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Listen to your life, see it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis of all moments, are key moments, and life itself is grace. 

-Frederick Buechner, author of Telling The Truth The Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy and Fairytale.

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Examine yourself, and learn who you are, how you exist, and what will become of you. Discover the depths of your own true nature.

Pay attention to your life. Listen while it whispers to you. Your life is speaking to you all the time. It is trying to tell you something with every experience you have.

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Your intellect may describe it, but only your instinct can find it.

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Strengthen your intuition with experience. Immerse yourself into your world. Dive into your life. Make it a journey of intentional immersion.

Feel your physical senses. What resonates and what repels? What gives you energy and what sucks you dry?

Take life for a test drive. Get curious – take a little action. Experiment and play with your life. Get your hands dirty – no better yet, get your soul filthy with experience.

 

Featured Artwork

Salvador Dali

In art as in life, Dalí broke with conventions and forged new artistic languages and methods capable of examining human psychology.

Manifesting Your Reality

Don’t waste your thoughts worrying. Don’t give away your thoughts and don’t waste time thinking about what you don’t want to happen. By Madeline Johnson

Your thoughts have the power to change everything in your life. Everything you have in your life right now, started with a thought.

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What you focus on with your thoughts, your mind will manifest as reality.

Sometimes our thoughts create realities that we have to overcome.

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Every single thought we have is a unit of energy. Energy to create something new.

Don’t waste your thoughts worrying. Don’t give away your thoughts and don’t waste time thinking about what you don’t want to happen.

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Invest in thoughts that are productive.

The next time you start obsessing about something, ask yourself . . .

Is this thought going to enhance my life

or take away from it?

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Place your thoughts and energy behind that which will make you stronger, rather than wasting your thoughts on remorse about things that have fallen apart.

Conserve your thought energy to create more beauty, rather than manifest more pain.

The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.   Dr. Bruce Lipton, author of The Biology of Belief

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Recommended Reading

Way of The Peaceful Warrior, Dan Millman

Featured Artist

@demoontier makes weird, queer, drag and fashion inspired art.

https://www.instagram.com/demoontier/

 

 

What We Learn Along the Way

Life happens. Life teaches. 
Some of the most important things I have learned along the way. By Madeline Johnson

Life happens. Life teaches. We live and we learn.

Some of the most important things I have learned along the way.

Life can be unpredictable. The weather can get dark and stormy.  Clouds roll in. No matter what happens, be prepared and stay centered. Don’t let every little thing that happens throw you off balance.  You get to decide what rocks your boat, what drives you crazy.

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Pay attention to the details. Sloppy and fast requires do overs. You don’t want to have to redo what you didn’t want to tackle in the first place.

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Sometimes that thing we don’t want to do – what must be done. Do your best and move on. 

We don’t listen deeply enough to each other. Communicate clearly and elegantly. Get your point across. When it’s your turn to listen, listen with all of your senses. 

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Most of us want bad situations to be over as soon as possible. We will do anything to escape confrontation. We just want to move on. Sometimes they take time to work out. Patience really is a virtue.

When bad things happen, it’s even more important to take extra good care of yourself. Provision yourself well –  to ride out the storm. 

Think long and hard before you say yes to commitments. Especially long term commitments.

Don’t rush into relationships or situations. Weigh your decisions carefully. Uncover the truth, then take smart, calculated risks.

Always remain grateful, even when all you have is just a little.

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You don’t know what you or someone else is capable of doing until they’re really desperate.

Pay attention to your life. Don’t be lazy. Do what needs to be done now.

We are never really blind-sided. Heed the warning signs. Examine the red flags. Listen to the small pains that can become big headaches. Don’t wait. Act now.

Focus on the good that is happening in your life, even when times are dark and bleak.

We all lie. We lie to ourselves. Big lies, small lies, white lies, dark lies. We deceive each other. We do this because we don’t want to hurt ourselves or others. Face the truth. The truth will set you free. Seek what is fact, not fiction in life.

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Most of us see situations the way we want them to be, instead of how they truly are – stay in reality.  Reality may be harsh, but it is your friend

Know that when someone is lashing out in anger, they are usually very sad and frightened. 

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Featured Art

Anna Tsvell Anna’s surreal portraits are full of bohemian melancholy mood. She paints women of almost alien appearance which makes her portraits extremely recognizable and attractive for the art collectors all over the world.
Long curved necks ,chaotically combined parts of the face and body (since summer 2018) are the main distinctive features of Anna’s remarkable style .

 

 

The Messy Process of Loving Yourself

Learning to love and respect yourself isn’t something that you decide to do one day. It’s a daily practice. By Madeline Johnson

Learning to love and respect yourself isn’t something that you decide to do one day. It’s a daily practice. Self-acceptance requires patience and practice and maybe even managing those great expectations you have for yourself while holding onto your standards.

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Expectations can sometimes get in the way of lessons and joy found in unexpected experiences.

-George Leonard, Poet/Philosopher and the granddaddy of the consciousness movement.

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To be unaware of our irrationality and

derangement of our own thoughts

is what keeps us stuck.

Read More: The Three Levels of Self-Awareness by Mark Manson

An argument for loving and accepting yourself . . .

When we refuse to accept ourselves as we are, then we return to the constant need for numbing and distraction. And we will similarly be unable to accept others the way they are, so we will look for ways to manipulate them, change them, or convince them to be a person they are not. Our relationships will become transactional, conditional, and ultimately toxic and fail.

Go deeper into learning about how to better handle adversity in your life. Read his book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

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Featured Art

Leif is an artist and Creative Director. His work explores themes of connectedness, the relevance of nature and the psychedelic experience. By utilizing these subjects he attempts to inspire the viewer into a realignment with themselves and their surroundings.

Our Greatest Weapon Against Self-Doubt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Accurate & Actionable Thinking

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

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

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

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

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

Your desires and your belief must be the same.

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

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

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

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

The Way You Think When You Support Your Limiting Beliefs

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

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

 

Featured Artwork

Rob Shields