Feeling The Pull of The Present

I want to feel the pull of the present moment lure me in – Madeline Johnson

It is so damn difficult to stay present in the moment. Distractions are everywhere, especially in my mind, which vacillates between the recent past and unknown future.

Once in a while, when I can remind myself to pay attention, I become fully aware of my life unfolding in real time. It’s for a split second really. It’s as if I awaken for a moment. My mind fully in this present.

I want to feel the pull of the present moment lure me in. I am tired of not being here. I want to feel the excitement of unencumbered first sight, a virgin noticing.

I am looking for experiences that violate my expectations. Places, people and things that will take me somewhere new.

I want to get off the reservation. Travel a bit. Somewhere new.

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I expect being some where new will allow me to be fully present, my senses heightened, absorbing the freshness of it all.

To steward the contents of my consciousness to the here and now.

Tune in:  Jason Silva’s eye-opening perspective on this seven minute video.

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Featured Artist

Kari Lilt

 

Instant Karma and A Trip to Paradise

instant-karmaMost of us in the western part of the world believe that karma is a supernatural universal law of justice. He or she did something bad, hurtful, deceitful, etc. well, karma will get them in the end.

The reality and truth is, when the eastern sages spoke about karma, they were speaking about selfishness. The word “karma” in Sanskrit means “action” and the Buddha believed in two types of action. Bad selfish action and good selfless action. Bad selfish action promotes, protects and aggrandizes the ego which in turn leads to inner suffering, distress, remorse and guilt.

buddhaThe real suffering is on the inside and when we are unconscious of our perpetuating selfish actions, however small they may be, we continue to suffer all the time.

I stumbled upon this explanation and more from Leo Gura on Actualized.org. What Is Karma exactly? – Watch a rational explanation of how karma really works and why it’s extremely relevant to your happiness levels.

On My Book Shelf

Instant Karma is a collection of thousands of ways to create good karma for yourself and others. The advice in Barbara Ann Kipfer’s book is based on the principles of Buddhism and emphasizes the importance of physical health, spiritual growth and peace.

41w7fE7c8DL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_A few pearls of wisdom from this little gem of a book.

  • Throughout the day, ask yourself, Am I paying attention?
  • Then ask yourself, Why judge?
  • Do not expect praise or reward.
  • Give confidence to others.
  • Life is positive, only your thinking is negative.
  • See everything in your life as a gift.

Remember that looking for happiness outside yourself is like expecting to get in shape by watching others exercise.

Read more, here:  Instant Karma

Believe the best is yet to be.

 

Inviting Your Troubles to Tea

buddhaThe night before the Buddha attained final enlightenment he had a visit from the demon king Mara. Mara represented all the anger, doubt, fear, striving, craving and greed of the world. He came to tempt the Buddha.
Instead of ignoring Mara or driving him away, the Buddha calmly acknowledged his presence, staying “I see you, Mara
He then invited Mara to tea as an honored guest.
It is suggested that we do the same when we are pained with trouble (whether real or imaginary). When we are feeling jealous, fearful, angry, frustrated, we examine these feelings with a compassionate heart, filled with self-love. We invite troubles to tea.
Instead of running from what troubles us, avoiding what is painful to face while only trying to seek happiness, we need to deal with all of life’s struggles head on, or they will continue to haunt us.
tea settingTea 101
Wake up with Matcha or Peppermint; Sleep with Kava or Chamomile; Ward off a cold with Echinacea or White Tea; Digest with Ginger or Lemon; Detox with Dandelion or Nettle; Soothe an upset stomach with Fennel or Ginger; Energize with Mint or Green; De-stress with Lavender or Ginseng.
tea
 Tea Supplies
 Soma-Water-Pitcher-01Filter your water

Soma Sustainable Pitcher & Plant-Based Water Filter

 bonavitaInvest in an electric tea kettle

Bonavita Dual Voltage 0.5L Travel Electric Kettle

My favorite morning tea

detox
Traditional Medicinals EveryDay Detox, 16-Count Boxes (Pack of 6)

kenko
KENKO Tea – Matcha Green Tea Powder – USDA Organic – Japanese Culinary Grade Matcha Powder for Lattes Smoothies Baking -100g Bag [50 Servings]

 

compassion A lesson a day from . . .

Teachings of the Buddha (Shambhala Pocket Classics)

We Have To Stop

  Growing in popularity, Instagram’s @We_have_to_stop  is dedicated to capturing people on their phones and devices while in public.  

A crowd-sourced account that documents the social isolation and bizarre relationships we have with our devices of delusion in a world of increasing chaos and confusion.

Photos of people around the world, taking selfies, posting updates, merging calls, drafting emails, filming injustices, snapping and filtering their every meal. 

My Friend Gary calls this the severe maladaptive behavior of Generation K – as in Kardashians.

I wonder what it will take to wake the world up again to true human interaction, face-to-face communication and  co-existence  with compassion.

Your Standing Ovation

Mick Jagger Oakland 1969
Mick Jagger Oakland 1969

We have all had this anxious moment. The split-second before you post. You re-read your writing, watch your video for the 50th time, re-work a paint stroke or study your sketch and ask yourself- – Is this authentic enough?  Does it stand out in a sea of sameness? Is it “unique” enough for the world to appreciate?

Michael Port, Author of Steal the Show, said it brilliantly in an interview the other day.

You don’t have to be different to make a difference.

Must Read
Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life

Madeline Johnson's Top Book Picks
An inspiring read “Steal the Show” has great work and life performance advice.

In my mind, way too much cred has been given to creating “authentic” and original work in a “unique” way.  This thought can really stifle your creativity.  Worrying about the “authenticity” of your work will only blur your vision and mission. Instead, strive to create a higher caliber of work each day. Your best work. You see, the distinction is that you are already different from everyone else. You don’t need to focus on your authenticity, you are already unique, just as you are. Yes, you do stand out in a crowd, even if you do absolutely nothing.

It also really helps if what you are creating what truly inspires you. If you are bored doing it, then chances are someone else will be bored reading or watching it.

Driven to Perfection

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to tip toe to my grave safely. I want to take risks, chances, I want to soar through this life.

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So I will let my fear be the fuel. The reality is, we all are afraid.

One of my favorite morning rituals is to listen to Brian Johnson’s Philosopher Notes. They are short, sweet, little bits of wisdom that can fuel your day. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

In one of my favorite mini-classes, he mentions taking a deep breathe when fear freezes you. Thinking back on my daily meditation practice, everything I have been learning and last night’s Vinyasa Flow Yoga class I find it funny and ironic, that the simple act of breathing has become such a “thing” in my new found intentional life.  Who knew something so mindful and simple could help so much.

Listen to Brian’s 10 minute video  for more tips on how to move through your fears. “How to Conquer Your Fear in 30 Seconds.

Your Dream Job Come True

SAILING REALAre you like me with a tendency to make life’s problems even harder and more difficult then they need to be? If so, then I challenge you to try a new attitude today.  A new mindset if you will.

As you begin working today ask yourself – How can I make the next task on my list a bit easier. Maybe even fun.

It is a simple idea, that can make your day much more enjoyable.

It’s time to dial back and realize that the daily grind can be re-framed with a lighter, brighter and more playful attitude when you take action to empower your day with ease.

A Few Ideas

  • Be merciful with yourself and others. Forgive someone who has done something ridiculously mean. Seriously, just let it go.
  • Don’t rush it. If you have to, back off a little on the caffeine and let everyone know, realistically how long the work will take. Set easier expectations.
  • Stop overthinking it. Just get it done. Don’t worry about the credit.
  • Do the essential stuff first. Break the task down into smaller steps. Do it over the course of a week, or month.
  • Pause and pay attention to what drives you to think critically and to complain about your work in the first place.
  • Let someone make you laugh. Keep your sense of humor, no matter what.

“Life is not meant to be a series of to-do lists punctuated by eating and sleeping.”

Do you already approach work with a more effortless attitude? If so, share your thoughts here.

Your Mindful Contribution to the World

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I was originally going to call this post Selling your Soul to the Highest Bidder  Inspired by a passage I have been studying from Aman Cara, I felt that this Labor Day holiday weekend is a great time to sit back, relax and reflect on the mindfulness of our contribution to the world through our work.

It is very difficult, at first consideration, to bring the world of work and the world of soul together. Most of us work in order to survive. – John O’Donoghue, Aman Cara

We need to make money; we have no choice.

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On the other hand, those who are unemployed feel frustrated and demeaned and suffer a great loss of dignity.

Yet those of us who work are often caught within a grid of predictability and repetition. It is the same every day. Work should not be like that at all; it should be an arena of possibility and real expression.

Working for Security

Respectability and security are subtle traps on life’s journey. Those who are drawn to extremes are often nearer to renewal and self-discovery. Those trapped in the bland middle region of respectability are lost without ever realizing it. This can be a trip for those addicted to the business world.

Your Work Identity

Many people in business operate only with one side of their mind: the strategic, tactical mechanical side day in and day out. This becomes a mental habit that they apply to everything, including their inner life. Even though they may be powerful people in the theater of work, outside the workplace they look forlorn and lost. You cannot repress the presence of your soul and not pay the price. If you sin against your soul, it is always at a great cost. Work can be an attractive way of sinning deeply against the wildness and creativity of your own soul.  Work comes to dominate your identity.

Read more    Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

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As Gregor Samsa, in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, when we are working just to survive, we are sacrificing a part of ourselves, perhaps the best part, either for others’ happiness or just to survive on a personal level.

“As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.” quote from The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. “Calm —indeed the calmest— reflection might be better than the most confused decisions”  Recommended Reading “The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories

Your Unique Contribution and Training Your Mind

Try to establish whether the work you do and where you work is actually expressive of your identity, dignity and gifted-ness. If not, difficult choices may need to be made.

If you sell your soul, you ultimately buy a life of misery.

You need great patience and self-trust to sense the invisible harvest in the territory of the mind. You need to train the inner eye for the invisible realms where thoughts can grow and where feelings put down their roots.  Mindfulness at work starts with synchronizing with our experience. Being mindful at work is not simply a matter of being alert to the present moment, as if we were intently sightseeing or inspecting our experience. Rather, mindfulness introduces us to the reality that we are fully immersed – utterly harmonized 360 degrees – in the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Mindfulness reveals that for us to accomplish goals, conduct ourselves ethically, and contribute to our world we must first see clearly.

Read  The Mindful Leader: Awakening Your Natural Management Skills Through Mindfulness Meditation

I’m curious, is your being finding expression in your doing?

 

The Powerful Practice of Mindfulness

morningWith mindfulness we live in the present moment. This is not, however, where most of us currently spend a lot of time. We topple forward into the future and worry about the next day or month or year. We think about what happened yesterday or last week or five years ago. We plan a vacation for months, then when we’re finally lounging on the beach, our mind drifts off to the problems we left at home. The habit of being a little (or a lot) ahead of ourselves, living in the past, or lost in fantasy, extracts an enormous price: We miss out on our life.

Quotes from a book I am reading now.

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness

If you are in the US and taking some time off for Labor Day, I truly hope you enjoy a mindful, peaceful and fun-filled three-day weekend.

The Miracle of Mindfulness and Mono-Tasking

thich

thich-nhat-hanh-colour“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.

Thích Nhất Hạnh

Adventure travel isn’t always about riding big waves, biking through forests and ascending new heights — sometimes it’s about wandering inside, to explore the realm of our inner worlds. I’m stoked to be going to Town Hall NYC  to hear one of the most influential spiritual leaders of our time, Vietnamese Buddhist Monk, Thich Nhat Hanh

This week in the US, 75 monks and nuns from Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastic order launched a cross-country “Miracle of Mindfulness” tour. #miracleofmindfulness Visit http://www.tnhtour.org/ for the tour schedule.

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Mono-tasking – the opposite of multi-tasking, when we are really engaged in what we are doing, that one thing right now. The unobstructed mind.

This practice helps us to become more and more awake to our presence. To wake up to recognize what is really taking place right now.

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Interested in learning more about Buddhism and Thay? The 14 Mindfulness Trainings from the Order of Interbeings.

Read

The Miracle of Mindfulness: The Classic Guide by the World’s Most Revered Master

Mastering Your Mind with Charlie Bradford Part 4

enlightenmentI started this blog to connect with brilliant thinkers and doers like yourself with the intention of making new friends from all around the world. It’s been a little over  a month and I am excited to say, that it’s working. I am inspired by what I am reading and learning from so many of you.

I recently discovered, thinker, writer and modern day philosopher,  Charlie Bradford, author of Ensouling Potential. If you haven’t read Charlie’s work, I highly recommend you do. He is an authentic and insightful explorer of life and the bigger questions about our existence. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @CharlieBrad4ord

Some of my personal favorite blogs other than Charlie’s are Zen Habits, Tiny Buddha, Tim Ferris, Jonathan Fields, Tara Brach  and Brendon Burchard.

Do you have any trusted websites and/or resources that you have found helped you expand your mind?

The answer to your 4th Question:

 Outside of books, films, and being in nature, the rest of the resources for expanding my mind, are pretty much self-derived. One of the greatest resources for me right now, is blogging. Most of the thoughts and insights that I’ve had along my journey, remained inside my head and in notepads; written in a very non-linear, incoherent manner. I never knew that I could actually formulate my thoughts into writing, until I started my blog. Just seeing the amount of different people out there with unique view points and means of expression, is enough to expand our sense of what’s possible. So I encourage anyone out there who is yearning to express their thoughts and ideas, to consider starting a blog. You’ll be amazed at how much you grow and develop as a person, just by sharing your thought and ideas with others.

 Another great way of expanding the mind, and attaining a greater sense of personal power, is to become a habit pattern interrupter. Some of my greatest insights have come to me after stepping outside of my comfort zone – always questioning and challenging the way that I do things. The limits of our minds are usually not limits, but stagnant programs operating just below our conscious awareness that keep us in a particular mode of living. Therefore I urge anyone who feels trapped, and lost within the walls of their own life – to take a long break, and examine the significance of your daily routine. Our daily routines should be building us up, not breaking us down. Therefore, this distinction is a reliable indicator in letting us know whether or not we’ve got sub-conscious pressures bubbling beneath the surface. Once we’ve interrupted these habit patterns with our conscious effort, then we begin to untangle the many hidden knots within the sub-conscious mind, and revive that sense of personal freedom, and the trust within ourselves to know that we can change our lives when ever we desire to.

 I’m still on the path of self-discovery myself, and I always will be. I’m forever learning, and forever unfolding. I realize that we are all a work in progress. And I love that. Because no matter which direction we take in life, no matter how many mistakes we all make – we’re all heading toward a greater meaning of life.