The Process of Self Awareness & Examining Your Heart

Before any true change can happen in your life, you need to really understand where you are at right now. Madeline Johnson

Before any true change can happen in your life, you need to really understand where you are at right now. You need to know what you are working with and that includes the results in your life right now that demonstrate your decisions from the past.

As a progressive and eternal being, you are where you are so that you may learn. You are shown the results of your thoughts, so that you may grow.

– James Allen

If you don’t like where you are living, what decisions did you make to get where you are? If you don’t like how much you weigh, what did you decide to eat that packed on the pounds? (that is unless you have a serious illness that caused inflammation). If you don’t like your friends, why did you decide to connect with them in the first place?

This sleuthing process requires time, honesty and deep self-examination. The detective-like process of becoming self aware and of examining your heart begins with questioning how you got to your position in life right now.

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What were your thoughts, your fears and your doubts along with your hopes and aspirations that manifested what you have today.  Pay attention to your life. Get curious about where you are and apply it to everything in your life, from your job to your partner to your friendships to your diet to your state-of-mind.

This examination includes asking yourself what you like and don’t like about your life right now. Once you have decided what you don’t like you must decide what you want to do about it.

What change would you like to see about your living conditions, your career, your relationships and your self-worth. Get familiar with what you would like to change.

Then, once you have uncovered the good and the not so good aspects of your current situation you might ask yourself what you need to think and do in order to manifest what you want. What new ways of thinking and doing must you put into place to make the changes come true.

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Examining the good in your life is pretty easy to do. You know what you like about your friends, your partner and your work. It’s the looking at what could be improved that is more challenging because so often we want to blame others and circumstances for our current conditions.

In order to change for the good we must be extremely honest with ourselves and begin to take complete ownership of what has happened to us, including our thoughts and actions that led us here.

Change begins with changing our thoughts first. For what you think and do now, will inevitably create your tomorrow.

Some habits are really hard to change, even when we know they are not producing what we want.

Focusing on becoming extremely aware of your habits and behavior is critical to your transformational success but it doesn’t mean you have to be critical of yourself.  You simply have to acknowledge the truth about your life first and then put into place new habits that will manifest better outcomes for you.

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There are many ways to support the changes you want to make and that includes changing your perception and environment.

Read: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

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The Chemical Messiah

Our Extraordinary Potential

How do we awaken our extraordinary potential in everyday life? We must believe before we begin. By Madeline Johnson

How do we awaken our extraordinary potential in everyday life? We must believe before we begin. We strengthen our core and explore the limitless possibilities of who we can become. In the words of Jim Morrison, “We break on through to the other side.” 

You and only you are the composer of your inner harmony.

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Ordinary riches can be stolen but real riches cannot.

In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be take from you.

– Oscar Wilde

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It’s all about your approach and attitude.

I don’t play accurately – any one can play accurately – but I play with wonderful expression.   

Read  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

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The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. 

– Joseph Campbell

 

Featured Artist on Instagram @slimesunday

Dr. Joe Dispenza is a synthesizer of information with a vision that extends beyond the confines of a single, scientific discipline. Drawing from diverse fields of epigenetics , molecular biology, neurocardiology, and quantum physics.

 

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

 

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/

 

 

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.

Why We Don’t Get What We Want

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. By Madeline Johnson

Oh for the saving grace of chaos and confusion in our lives.  While I believe it can drive us mad, we should embrace feeling overwhelmed and confused. Yes we want this, but we need that. We are pulled in so many directions. Yes it can be daunting and emotionally draining, but if we strive to understand the cause for our confusion we can better understand what motivates us in the first place. Yes, I mean connecting our two minds, our hearts and our thoughts. I believe that even our most anxious emotions can drive us to clarity, if we take a moment to reflect.

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Please understand, the type of mental clarity I am describing here is the overall sensation that you are on the right path, you are not questioning every little thing you do and in some way, shape or form, you are getting what you both need and want.

You are focused on what is important to you throughout your day and you don’t have that existential angst pulling you in a downward spiral of depressing confusion.

You know why you are doing what you are doing and even though you may not have a detailed map on how to get to your desired goal, you have the emotional drive and you persevere.

Mental clarity can come in all shapes and forms and it will definitely happen to you when you work to know yourself better. Mental clarity kicks in when you are aware of what you like, what you don’t like, what you will tolerate from yourself and others and what you won’t. This understanding of what it takes for us to operate at full capacity, helps us find the tools we need for the tasks at hand and eliminate what doesn’t serve us well.

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It helps to spend some time with yourself to better understand what lights you up and what brings you down. What turns you on and what dims your soul.

Needs vs Wants

Necessity is the ultimate motivator for mental clarity.  It’s amazing how focused we can get about what we are required to do, as opposed to what we would like to do. Clarity becomes crystalized when we better understand if something is a need vs a want.

Read: Ray Dalio’s  Principles

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Knowing what we should do with our lives, getting really clear on the next step can also be driven by guilt and obligation.  Mental clarity can come from simply doing the right thing, because we must. Clarity comes from turning to our inner moral compass.

I’ll explain.

I decided I will take time out of my day to care of my aging parents because they brought me into this world and they provided for me for many years. I love them and I am obliged to give back to them and help them.  The intention is clear. No questions asked.

I need to work in order to pay the bills makes it very clear. I must get a job. Find some work. Make money. I don’t want to be a burden on my family. My purpose is put in place because it is essential. There is nothing murky about this.

I am posting one article a day to Undisputed Origin because I have committed myself to learning something new about myself every single day. No questions asked. This writing that I do, this creative activity in turn will help me become stronger, smarter and more of a benefit to the world.

vs. . .

I want to _________ (fill in the blank ie. start a business, create a blog, travel around the world, learn to sing, etc).  Wants, wishes and desires may be more soul-fulfilling, but not a must.  They are not necessary, so sometimes you just don’t start.  These “goals” lay by the wayside.

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Question: Can you turn a want into a must?

I challenge you to think about why you do the things you must do. Like going to work, raising your children, volunteering to help others, etc. You do them because they matter to you in a big way. They are essential to your existence. If you don’t work, you don’t eat. If you don’t bother to connect with others you will be lonely. If you don’t take care of your health, you will eventually get sick.

Your wants (losing weight, finding a mate, starting a business, living a more adventurous life) must be essential to your life. They must be extremely important and vital to your existence.

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What wants are you looking to turn into musts in your life?

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Featured Art

Kamalky Laureano paints portraits and landscapes that look like photography.

Kamalky Laureano is a hyperrealist painter from the Dominican Republic, born in 1983. Living in Mexico City since 2006, he has made his life and work in that country. His work has been shown in Italy, Argentina, France, Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic.

 

 

Bad Choices & More Thoughtful People

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. Madeline Johnson

Decisions. We have so many to make every day. Although unscientifically proven, there seems to be a general consensus that we make about 35,000 decisions a day on average.

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Decisions vs Choices

According to Cornelia Schepis, there is a distinction between decision and choice. Every time you decide you’re literally killing your possibility to be self expressed. You’re putting up with something and there’s lack of freedom and power right there. When you choose you are freely and powerfully creating space for self expression and possibilities. This is a distinction that most of human beings unfortunately isn’t aware of. So don’t feel bad. I’m glad you brought this question up. Said that, we live in a society and often we are required to make decisions and not choices. I’d say as long as you know the distinction and you’re aware of which you’re choosing, it’s “ok”.

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Guided By Our Intuition

As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are even confidant when we are wrong and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.

From Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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What Thoughtful People Do

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. They are observant to the needs of those around them and are as kind and considerate as possible.

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They learn from the past, prepare for the future and act in the present moment.

They don’t walk away from arguments. They see other thoughts and ideas as a challenge to think bigger.

Incredibly curious about whatever they are studying. They ask the best questions.  They don’t settle for what they know. They understand that “If you don’t seek, you don’t know.”

They decide that everything that happens to them is feedback, lessons to be learned. Good or bad, they take in the teaching and move forward stronger.

They have taken the time to decide what is important, what really matters in their life. Relationships, good work, enjoying the ordinary. They know how and with whom to spend their time.

Thoughtful people build from what they have in the moment. They make best use of their current situation and work with what they’ve got.

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They know what they can control and what they can’t but they also understand that they have choices. They exert self-control. After deliberation and consideration, they make thoughtful choices.

They review all possibilities and focus on possible best outcomes, knowing full well, that the only thing constant in life is change.

Read: This is How High Achievers Make Smart Decisions

A Case For Being More Thoughtful 

Your (intuitive) brain is lazy and causes you to make intellectual errors.

Take the test –

A baseball bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

I’ll give you a second.

Got it?

If your instant and initial answer is $0.10, I’m sorry to tell you that system 1 just tricked you.

Do the math again.

And?

Once you spent a minute or two actually thinking about it, you’ll see that the ball must cost $0.05. Then, if the bat costs $1 more, it comes out to $1.05, which, combined, gives you $1.10.

Another way to understand this –

Although $1.00 + $0.10 does equal $1.10,  if you take $1.00 – $0.10 you get $0.90, but the problem requires that the bat costs $1 more than the ball.

So, the ball must cost $0.05, and the bat must cost $1.05 since $1.05 + $0.05 = $1.10

Fascinating, right? What happened here?

Sometimes your brain perceives problems as simpler as they actually are.

Why does your brain do this?  The law of least effort states that your brain uses the minimum amount of energy for each task it can get away with.

Read even more: 17 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Intruding Thoughts And Intuitive Ones

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Featured Art

May Ray

André Breton once described Man Ray as a ‘pre-Surrealist’, something which accurately describes the artist’s natural affinity for the style. Even before the movement had coalesced, in the mid 1920s, his work, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, had Surrealist undertones, and he would continue to draw on the movement’s ideas throughout his life. His work has ultimately been very important in popularizing Surrealism.

 

 

 

 

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 =

victory

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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.

Knowing Where You’re Going

Why it’s so hard to really change. The need for new tools. Our being is becoming. Madeline Johnson

I honestly believe we’d all be much better off if we all had more of a life plan and we shared those plans with each other. Relationships would be so much easier because we’d know whether or not we were in someone’s short or long term plans or maybe both.

Knowing where you going is truly important. We never want to get stuck in a rigid sense of who or where we are today. Our purpose is to evolve.

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The idea is to move forward a bit better each day.  Taking care of our health, our work and our loved ones. Making things a bit more lovely along the way. Becoming a bit more kinder, confident, resilient and powerful.

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The proper way to fix the world isn’t to fix the world.  There is no reason to even assume that you are up for such a task. But you can fix yourself.  You’ll do no one any harm by doing so, and in the manner at least, you will make the world a better place. 

-Jordan Peterson 12 Rules for Life

 

Any significant change in you life will create the need for new tools. Tools to help you remain structured and disciplined through your transformation and tools to help you stay flexible as you float through the chaos that life will inevitably bring upon you as you try to change your behavior.

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A change in diet requires new healthier meals, new recipes, a new approach to more mindful eating.

A change in your career requires an attitude of humility and resilience, and of course, new skills.

You will be uncertain and resistant. It takes so much work to change. So much effort and time.

8 Reasons Why It’s So Hard to Change.

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Aggregating and compounding tiny little micro-gains of change each day.

In the words of Jordan B. Peterson, “Our being is in our becoming.”

Featured Art

Dean Reynolds

An american artist who’s work can be described as Psychadelic Surrealism. His work explores ideas of mythology, religion, psychology and surrealist ideas. His work is a mixture of humor, Dr. Seuss, Alice in Wonderland, and the complex ideas of Carl Jung.  His work combines seriousness with the silly.  Images that are accessible and yet still a mystery.

A Heart-Breaking, Soul-Healing, Amazingly Awful & Ordinary Life

Some of my recent morning notes from inspiring books I’ve been reading. Links included.

Our humanity is expressed must fully in our treatment of others. 

Performance psychologist, Jim Loehr in Tribe of Mentors

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Spencer Tunick’s Nude Installations

It is okay to wander. It is never a mistake to get lost looking for the psychic and soulful kinship of our desires. 

Women Who Run with Wolves

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When we get lost, we need only pause and look at what is true and relax in our heart. We arrive again. Remembering the light of our nature.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

When I feel overwhelmed I realize I am bottlenecked. Bottlenecks help me prioritize.  Feeling overwhelmed can prove to be very useful.

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Attitude before anything. It all starts in your head. Anything can be done with ease when you have the right mind set.

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Discipline equals freedom. Discipline with our time by keeping to a schedule; discipline with our sleep, keeps us awake and energized; discipline with our meals and exercise keeps our health optimal. When we are feeling fully alive, we are free. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

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Everyone has the freedom of choice to express either their high self or something else. Sacred Poetry & Mystical Messages

 

Featured Art 

For nearly seven decades, June Leaf (b. 1929) has created a deeply imagined world of unreal creatures and settings that metaphorically probe the human condition.