It’s All For You

Here’s a way to get through the hard times. Imagine if everything is happening for you. Madeline Johnson

Here’s a way to get through the hard times. Imagine if everything is happening for you. Even the suckiest parts of life. That crazy client you just can’t make happy? Teaching you patience and understanding. The partner that just won’t commit? Raising your standards about what you will and won’t tolerate. The unorganized boss who does everything half-assed? Demonstrating ways to avoid disaster. Fair-weather friends? What true compassion and understanding means to you.

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Everything in your life is leading you to a better tomorrow. While it might not feel great in the midst of moment, you have faith that if you learn from the hard times you will grow stronger and better into tomorrow.

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Featured Art

@cult.class

Clarity About Your Contribution

I believe if we can share what we have learned along the way, we might be able shed light on the dark edges of the path for others. By Madeline Johnson

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.  

-Anne Frank

I keep telling myself, “you can’t do everything, but you can do something.”  My issue, is scattered energy. I struggle with staying focused and seeing things through. I start, I stop and I keep bouncing around from one great idea to another. Everything and nothing excites me all at once.

It’s probably why I am reading Michael Singer’s The Untethered Soul for the third time. The only thing I can do is laugh at myself. Such a beautiful mess.

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Seeking More Clarity About My Contribution

So, of course I was inspired by Jordan Bach today. Yet another one of you on the world wide web sharing wisdom and inspiration. I am in awe.

Jordan encourages his community to petition God, the Universe, their Higher Power for more clarity about their contribution to the world.  What is it that you want me to do with these gifts I am not sure I actually have?

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Jordan guides us to believe that only loving thoughts are true.  The rest of your fear-based spin outs, that “negative thinking” thing we all do – the “doubting thing” that is  simply false and harmful?

We must remember no amount of negativity will serve us well at all.

To Be Such A Beautiful Mess

We are all human, and to be human is a very complex way to be. Most of our lives are messy.  Some of us have created a more beautiful mess than others, but a mess just the same.

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The question is, as you become more centered and grounded, as you get closer to what your unique contribution looks and feels like – are you going to share your mess or are you going to share your message?

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Are you sharing the grace and illumination you have received from the pain you have suffered?  This, I believe is a hint, a God wink, to where your contribution might reside.

I believe if we can share what we have learned along the way, we might be able shed light on the dark edges of the path for others.

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Inspiration

Wisdom of the Oracle cards

Jordan Bach

 

Featured Artist

Irina Silviu

 

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

 

 

Too Busy To Feel

Why don’t we honor what it means to be a feeling, thinking being? By Madeline Johnson

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The consequences of emotional avoidance are usually worse than the experience of what we try to avoid.

What avoiding your emotions does –

  • Reinforces the idea that discomfort/distress/anxiety is “bad” or “dangerous.” It reduces your ability to face and tolerate necessary pain.
  • Limits your ability to fully experience the present moment.
  • Keeps you from moving toward the important, valued aspects of life.
  • Often leads to suffering: addiction, helplessness, hopelessness, depression, damaged relationships, and lost opportunities.

Read More How Avoiding Emotions Keeps Them High Intensity

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The ways in which we hold ourselves back by running from our feelings.

  • Situational: avoiding people, places, or things
  • Cognitive: avoiding thoughts, images, or memories
  • Somatic: avoiding unpleasant physical sensations
  • Protective: avoiding uncertainty through frequent checking, procrastinating, or assurance seeking
  • Substitution: avoiding by numbing, suppressing, addictive behaviors, or replacement emotions (i.e., replacing shame with anger)

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Those moments when you are just too busy to feel, but your emotions leak through anyway.

  • Will you love me if I’m boring?
  • I just feel helpless not being able to help you.
  • Why do I feel guilty letting you know what I need to be happy?

Why don’t we honor what it means to be a feeling, thinking being?

What if we were to embrace all of these feelings instead?

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These feelings are signals for growth. Eventually, you will have to walk through that door. These emotions you are running from are your keys to freedom. Let them guide you to do everything you don’t want to do.

Read Richard J. Davidson’s The Emotional Life of Your Brain

Featured Artwork

Liquid PinkContemporary and surreal digital collage art and photo manipulation by Gaia Barnatan. Based in Byron Bay, Australia.

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Shifting Your Focus & Redirecting Your Energy

What to do when you feel like your life doesn’t align with your dreams. by Madeline Johnson

Everything is Energy.

 

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Your thoughts are energy

and everything we create begins with thinking first.

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Negative thoughts = negative energy
Negative thoughts lead to anxious days. Sometimes miserable ones at that.
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Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be changed from one form to another.

– Albert Einstein
Fresh New Vibes
Your ‘vibration’ is a way of describing your overall state of being. Everything in the universe is made up of energy vibrating at different frequencies. Even things that look solid are made up of vibrational energy fields at the quantum level. This includes you.”
Read Raise Your Vibration here.
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What to do when you aren’t doing what you really want to be doing, but you must.
When you’re taking that job to pay the rent.
When you’re just way to comfortable with your significant other.
When you feel like you just don’t have any real friends.
When you’re feeling like a sell out.
When you’re not following your passion.
Or pursuing your purpose.
When you feel like a fake.
An imposter.
When you feel ugly on the inside, and maybe on the out.
When you feel like your life doesn’t align with your dreams.
You must redirect your energy. . . reconfigure that negative thinking.
You must change your mind.
Shift Your focus.
Yet still respect the rules.
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Realize you may be too close to see your reality.
Recognize that you are ruminating again. (but make sure you’re not problem-solving, which is a good thing).
Take charge of your thoughts, your life again.
Anxious rumination can pull us in and take on a life of its own, providing a superstitious feeling of security and control.
To get unstuck and outside of our heads, we can activate our right (nonverbal) brain by doing a simple physical activity such as a walk (without ruminating), or jogging in place for a minute or two. Or we can soothe ourselves, for example, by focusing on our breathing in a meditative way, drawing or painting, or listening to music. In this way, we can contain anxiety and unnecessary torment, as well as safeguard our psychological resources for genuine problem-solving, creative thought, relationships, and other challenges that pay off.
Allow yourself to rest first. Take a moment to pause.
Now begin to question and remove every thought that is not serving you well.
Physically change your environment. Put down the phone, close the laptop,
get the hell off of Instagram. Please.
Take a walk. Go for a bike ride. Stop and change your location.
Just move.
Take another moment to protect your energy. . .
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Understand that negative, anxious thinking is positive energy turned bad, spent complaining, fretting, crying, worrying, comparing and hating yourself.
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You must struggle to redirect it. You channel it. You take that pain and anguish and put it into something new. Let it out. Use that energy to make something new. Something that looks a little more like what you want.
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You take that energy and you journal a bit, go for a run or a walk, blast your favorite music. Make your bed. Clean the kitchen. You break out the water colors, turn to the fresh page, press open the notebook. You click on a new project on adobe. You put on your yoga leggings and grab your mat.  You walk to the market and pick up a wickedly healthy salad.
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Featured Art
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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

Future Stress Reduction Made Simple and Why Your Having A Bad Day Already

 

lifeHere’s a thought.

We can completely avoid being “blindsided” by problems.  Problems leave clues way before they become dilemmas.

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Problems present themselves first as small annoyances. The things that are bugging you that are tiny enough to just brush off and not big enough to make you care.

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Bad day

There are so many clues right in front of our eyes but we may not want to look at them because, well, they can lead to an even more frightening thought. The future.

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I hate it when I notice a minuscule pesky problem and I say “oh, it will be okay.” Yeah, no it won’t. Grab it by the ass.

Sure I, on occasion, have just wanted to things to be okay, even if they weren’t. I even said to myself, as shit was going down, it’s okay. Sometimes I surrounded myself with people who loved to stay in the bubble of “okayness” rather than face the problem head-on. I don’t anymore.

It’s called living in denial.

We have immense power to cause both positive and negative outcomes in our lives. It starts by waking up to the truth. Small problems today grow into sucky stressful tomorrows. Address the problems now and save yourself the stress.

 

Surreal images by Eugenia Loli

 

Staying Awake, Alive & In The Moment, Even in Times of Uncertainty

Three very memorable lessons from my morning (reading and mediation) ritual today.
Live Like This
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Act, speak, write and create as if it were your very last day. Your last moment here. Create from the heart as if you are expressing yourself for the last time. Like this is it. Make it all matter.
Listen: Tara Brach Accessing Innate Wisdom
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Let Go of The Controls
Stay open to the impermanence of life. To all of the change that is happening around you. To the fact that everything is constantly evolving.
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Discipline yourself to wake up out of the trance-like “thought” and come into your senses, awake and aware of this moment right now. Stay in touch with your aliveness. Open up to the space between your thoughts. Inhabit the pause, the silence between your monkey mind chatter.  Learn to tolerate the groundlessness & uncertainty of life. Let it all happen, even in times of maddening uncertainty.
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Stay Amazed and Astonished
Life is nothing short of a miracle. This is something to remember when you are busy managing the mundane. Never forget the miracle of being alive right now.
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