Positively at Peace

When we become more aware of our negativity biases we can begin to work with them to see the upside of events. By Madeline Johnson

The more I learn about what it takes to become the best version of me, the more I am convinced that the two most important strategies to produce consecutively good days are a positive outlook and a calm demeanor.

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“It’s easy to think about positive psychology as a magic carpet ride,” explains Dr. Rick Hanson, author of Resilient, his latest book about growing an unshakeable core.  For example, someone recommends you keep a gratitude journal and that is what is suppose to transport you to a new level of happiness and joy.

While remaining grateful sounds like good advice (and I know from personal experience that being appreciative of what you have is a better way to be) – – – what happens in the real world? How does keeping a gratitude journal help with the everyday stress and difficulties we deal with and the the reality about hard things in our lives?

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While I haven’t read his book yet, Dr. Rick Hawkins reminds us that if we want to improve our lives we must be aware of our bias towards negativity.

It is perfectly natural for us to look for bad news, threats that might effect our lives and then focus upon the negative and possibly over react to it. This is the fast track to becoming extra irritable and anxious throughout our days.

When we become more aware of our negativity biases we can begin to work with them to see the upside of events, the opportunities and the possibilities that can even come from difficult and challenging experiences.

Two habits that I am nurturing to help me are guided meditation (I highly recommend Jordan Bach’s free 7 minute giveaway guided meditation) and pushing myself to at the bright side of everything that happens. Finding one slice of goodness in even what looks like the worst possible scenario. These are simple strategies, and they are working for me.

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Read Dr. Rick Hawkins books

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. His books are available in 26 languages and include Resilient, Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s BrainJust One Thing, and Mother Nurture.

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Resilient because it’s vital to grow strengths inside like grit, gratitude, and compassion—the key to resilience, and to lasting well-being in a changing world.

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Hardwiring Happiness because life isn’t easy, and having a brain wired to take in the bad and ignore the good makes us worried, irritated, and stressed, instead of confident, secure, and happy.

Buddha’s Brain draws on the latest research to show how to stimulate your brain for more fulfilling relationships, a deeper spiritual life, and a greater sense of inner confidence and worth.

Just One Thing is a guide that offers simple things you can do routinely, mainly inside your mind, that will support and increase your sense of security and worth, resilience, effectiveness, well-being, insight, and inner peace.

More at Scientific American on the roots of embodied cognition.

Featured Artwork

Yoskay Yamamoto

 

Needs vs Desires

In the words of Osho, desire is need gone mad. By Madeline Johnson

I haven’t read Osho’s book When The Shoe Fits yet, but I think I might.  If you have read it, I would love to hear your thoughts, negative, positive or neutral.

I have always been interested in Taoism but absolutely confused and overwhelmed by the cryptic meanings.

Read: A Riddle on the Essence of Wisdom

It’s statements like
“The Tao never does anything, yet through it, all things are done.” 

Huh?

Taoism is more than just a “philosophy” or a “religion”. Taoism is more like a system of beliefs, attitudes, and practices.

Some claim that the path of understanding Taoism is simply accepting oneself. Live life and discover who you are. Your nature is ever changing and is always the same. Don’t try to resolve the various contradictions in life, instead learn acceptance of your nature.

I haven’t read any of the Tao te Ching, but it was Osho’s description of needs versus desires that really resonated with me today.

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Featured Artist

Taiji Taomote

Unchain Your Heart

Today could be the day that you start releasing yourself from the past. By Madeline Johnson

Today could be the day that you start releasing yourself from the past. Today could be the beginning of a new moment and movement for you – a new time in your life where you choose to see people, places and even yourself with a fresh new pair of eyes. Today could be filled with promise of something new for you.  The day that you decide to start over.

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It’s about letting go of past mistakes and poor bad behavior and the painful problems. It’s about beginning with a clean slate.  Tabula Rasa.

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It’s about letting go over the old stories to make room for something more immense.

It’s about holding no hostages and understanding your propensity to love. Your natural inclination to love deeply.

Today’s post is about understanding that the healthiest thing you can do is start new and start again, without carrying all of the baggage you’ve collected a long the way.

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Letting go of the luggage – – – the heavy weight of resentment,   shame and the disappointment.

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Listen to Navigating Conflict with a Wise Heart by Tara Brach

 

Featured Artwork

Esther Sarto

Navigating The Mysteries of Life

The bridge we must build to travel in-between the known and the unknown is made of faith and trust. By Madeline Johnson

Most of our moments are spent toggling between what we understand and what we don’t yet know.   We spend our lives dwelling in the past, living in the moment and nervously marveling at the mystery of what we can not conceive.   We sit restlessly in the known and fret fearfully about how we will traverse the unchartered future.

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The bridge we must build to travel in-between the known and the unknown is made of faith and trust.

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When The Mystery of It All is Too Much

How do we come to embrace that most of what we know is not factual? How do we remain comfortably cradled in the mystery of life?  Suspended in the spirit? How do we come to trust the unknown? How do we face the future without fear?

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Perhaps we must be courageous enough to slay the monsters and dragons that we imagine will devour us? Perhaps our purpose is to become heroic enough to live out our own nightmares?

Watch Jordan Peterson Isolation & Epiphanies

Or perhaps as we long for days of effortless effort — when what lies before us is too overwhelming to bear – — we might try to remember that the powerful resistance we feel has the capability to lift us to new heights —- if only we do as airplanes do – take off against the wind. 

Watch Jason Silva An Ode to Resistance

I don’t know for certain, but I am beginning to believe that we are much better prepared to approach the mysteries of life from a deep and relaxed state-of-mind. Perhaps this is where we can begin the journey into the unknown.

Try Guided Hypnosis How to Face The Unknown without Fear

Read  How to Create a Mind Ray Kurzweil

 

Featured Artwork

Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch/Netherlandish draughtsman and painter from Brabant. He is one of the most notable representatives of the Early Netherlandish painting school. His work contains fantastic illustrations of religious concepts and narratives

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

What Makes Life Easier

When you’re clear on your intention you take inspired action that is in alignment with your words and truth. By Madeline Johnson

What makes life easier is setting your intention for everything you do. This one simple habit will increase the probability of things going your way today and who doesn’t want more of that?

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When you’re clear on your intention you take inspired action that is in alignment with your words and truth.

When you intend for everything to go well, you don’t have to try as hard.

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Before you begin today, set your intentions.

I intend to remain grateful today.

I intend to have a productive day at work.

I intend to show my  husband,  brother, daughters and friends how much I love them.

I intend to laugh at myself more throughout the day.

 

What are your intentions for the day? 

 

Featured Artwork

@circlecirclemath

 

Your Unseen Power & Contribution

How among the toxic state of public discourse might we come to understand that we can achieve a unified sense of peace with each other. Madeline Johnson

As the sun rose today I sat contemplating that which makes us more alike than different.  That which brings us closer together. That which unifies our hearts.

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While I truly appreciate our unique individuality, I, like many of you,  also long for a world of unity. A world where understanding and respect reigns true.

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A world where we realize that peace begins with respecting our individual contributions and the authentic expression of ourselves that will shape the future our our universe.

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How among the chaos of extremism and the toxic state of public discourse and polarity, might we come to understand that we can achieve a unified sense of peace with each other. An essence of tolerance.

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I want to believe that we all have the ability to appreciate our deep connectedness to one and other and our potential to contribute to a more sustainable, vibrant future.

The question is – how are we going to use that understanding? How will we interpret this knowledge of our connectedness to shape society for tomorrows to come?

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To make visible, what without you, might perhaps never been seen. 

– Robert Bresson

 

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The Thinkers

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a French idealist philosopher and Jesuit priest who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man. He conceived the vitalist idea of the Omega Point, and he developed Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of noosphere.

The Omega Point is a spiritual belief and a scientific speculation that everything in the universe is fated to spiral towards a final point of divine unification.

Robert Bresson was a French film director. Known for his ascetic approach, Bresson contributed notably to the art of cinema; his non-professional actors, ellipses, and sparse use of scoring have led his works to be regarded as preeminent examples of minimalist film

Robert Bresson

 

Featured Artwork

Illustrator Daniel Egneus

 

 

Loving, Forgiving & Living

To forgive, to love and to hold sacred everything in our lives – this is the living prayer that keeps us connected. By Madeline Johnson

Every experience we have in life is a blessing. The love, the hate, the betrayal, the gain and the loss.  All of life is an opportunity to grow. Yes, even the most painful experiences of deep suffering – – are all opportunities for us to evolve.  For if we are not humanly evolving, we are spiritually dying.

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When we process all of our experiences with love, forgiveness and blessings in our heart, we are in constant healing mode. When we are healing we become stronger and more spiritually connected and elevated in mind and being.

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One of God’s most astonishing gifts is His ability to use time to heal and redeem; to make something beautiful later of what appears ugly now.

As Mary C. Neal explains in her book 7 Lessons from Heaven

It is that moment. . . .

When you come to understand that each event in your life, spread through time and space, initiated a cascading effect of other events from which something of beauty and worth, always emerged.  

So often we forget that it is not our time, but God’s time. When we give up control, let go of the need to heal right now and begin to bless our pain, we are at peace. To forgive, to love and to hold sacred everything in our lives – this is the living prayer that keeps us connected and the path of the Bodhisattva, a spiritual warrior.

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To pray with forgiveness and gratitude all day long, as a full-bodied, breathing and feeling spiritual being. To embody our prayer. To pray by involving all of the senses. To stay in this state of being throughout our lives. This is healing. This is living.

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In the words of Gregg Braden. . . Each moment is a prayer. Life is a prayer.  We’re always sending a message to the mirror of creation, signaling healing or disease, peace or war, honoring or dishonoring our relationships with those we love. “Life” is the Mind of God sending back to us what we feel—what we’ve prayed.

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Read more How Do You Pray? by Gregg Braden

Watch Everything is Spiritual by Rob Bell.

Author of The Diving Matrix bridging time, space, miracles and belief and The Spontaneous Healing of Belief.

7 Lessons from Heaven Mary C. Neal

Featured Artwork

Kim Simonsson of Fiskars, Finland

With life-size ceramic “Moss People” sculptures depicting innocent yet beguiling child figures, Kim Simonsson leads the viewer into an imaginative, fairytale-like world inspired by the forests of Finland. His gestures are indeed sublime. Simonsson is a superb sculptor who uses clay with great sensitivity for his subjects.

“The name Moss People refers to children’s innate camouflage,” explains Simonsson. “The moss green figures blend perfectly into their natural surroundings, just as a soft carpet of moss covers the ground, rocks and tree trunks and acts as a sort of protection. In the Moss People world, lost and disconnected children, evoking different characters, gather in a Shaman Party, choose leaders and end up creating false idols.”

 

 

Evolving to Resolve Ourselves

There is nothing more thoughtless than a life unexamined. Make some time in your day to confront your existence. By Madeline Johnson

Three simple ways to have a more interesting and enriching life.

Tell the truth.

Say what you mean.

Don’t do things you hate.

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Thoughts about turning your

resentment into resilience.

A recipe for becoming a self-reliant, immovable force.

We all want to feel strong, empowered, confident and ready to take the world head on, but more often than not, we are a mixed bag of worry and concern about our day-to-day existence.  It’s time to make some time.

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There is nothing more thoughtless than a life unexamined. Make some time in your day to confront your existence. Think about the people and problems in your life that you believe are holding you back, weighing you down and making you miserable.

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Step 1

Separate fact from fiction. Think objectively about why you are feeling burdened. If you are bitter, angry or believe that life should be treating you better, examine that.  If your heart is hardening and you are disenfranchised with the world, proceed with intelligent caution.  Strive to understand that part of the problem might be you. Maybe you just need to grow up, mature a little.  Perhaps you are whining about your resentment towards someone, instead of truly owning and accepting your part. How can you be better, stronger, smarter about this problem? Stand up for your better self.

Step 2

Humbly face your enemies and your problems in a brave new way. Once you have sorted out the part you are playing in the anger game and you are ready to own that bit of it, you must know what you want and need and have the courage to ask for it.   You cannot move forward without first forgiving yourself and making a pact with your soul never to betray yourself again.  Next. Do the thing that most of us never want to do. Pick the right place and the right time and humbly open up and confront those who aren’t respecting you. So often we play out conversations in our heads, but we don’t actually have them. We aren’t brave enough to actually speak the words. It’s time to learn how to do just that. Let others know what you need and specifically what would make the situation better.

Step 3

Then put it down. Shed those past grievances. Release your clenching grip of control. Practice and proceed with intelligent caution. Start fresh and move forward with realistic optimism about your future.

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Featured Artwork

Welderwings

 

 

Reinventing Your Life

The two things you need to know about reaching your goals. Where you are going and that you are going to get there. By Madeline Johnson

Some days you may feel like a ship lost at sea without a rudder. Directionless and powerless. Like a fish out of water, floundering.

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And some days it is perfectly fine to be lost, to wander, to float . . . . until you stumble upon that thing. . . . you have a breakthrough, and an idea,  and you discover that dream you really want to do.

quotes about mothers lds Luxury This I remember feeling totally lost and sad when a certain someone

Then you just know.

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

 

Read that again: You know the WHERE you want to be and without a doubt that you WILL GET THERE. Just like when you drive to the store at night to get ice cream. You know the flavor you want and you know how delicious it will taste. You even have a plan for your second favorite . . .just in case.

You don’t need to worry about the how. There is no need to know how you are going to get there. That is nonsense. That doesn’t matter as much, because you know there are many roads you can take to where you are going. Some more bumpy and uncomfortable than others. There may even be mountains you need to climb along the way. Some days there will be detours, other days short cuts.

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The secret to success . . .

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

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Featured Artist

David Zinn is a street artist specializing in small-scale, improvised and (mostly) light-hearted chalk art.