Useful vs Useless Thoughts

Listening to negative thinking and unwanted thoughts is a pointless, time-consuming habit that does nothing but leave us stuck.  Madeline Johnson

What stops us from having a productive, peaceful mind, a mind that is fluid and lucid, a mind that is energized, capable and fully determined to reach our highest goals  is having a mind that is filled with resentful road blocks, self-destructive detours and cynical and suspicious beliefs.

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Listening to negative thinking and unwanted thoughts is a pointless, time-consuming habit that does nothing but leave us stuck.  But, when we are angry, when we are frustrated and when we have had enough, we can use that energy to fuel ourselves into something more. With the right attitude, we can take that victimizing rage and turn it into a powerful strain of strength to fuel to rocket us to a whole new level of powerful confidence.

I’m getting into the habit of replacing all useless thoughts for useful ones.

How do we know when a thought is useless?  We can simply ask – what good will this ruminating thought bring us? Will it bring us closer to harmony? to feeling good? Feeling empowered?  Or will it only frustrate and aggravate us even more?

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I am giving myself the permission to stop the worrying and self-pity.

And I am making great progress focusing on the productive, peacefulness and power of this present moment.

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Featured Artist

 

Kadambari Pathania

What are we free for?

You are free to discover the talents that are built with in you. To explore the inner workings of your mind. You are free to take creative risks with your life. By Madeline Johnson

You are free to discover the talents that are built with in you. To explore the inner workings of your mind. You are free to take creative risks with your life. Free to experiment and do more with your day.  Free to build what you can’t find but you know you need. Free to have an original thought and express that thought elegantly.

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Why then do we so often choose to waste this freedom? Why are we so careless with the free time we have? Why do we waste our weekends, our evenings, any free time we have in idol pursuits? Surfing the internet, watching bad Netflix series and trolling through Instagram?

I argue, like Colin Wilson that to be truly happy most human beings need a certain amount of stimulus during their free time or they will grow dull, lethargic and perhaps for some, even depressed. This is not a motivational rant about having a positive attitude or being grateful.  This is about doing more with our minds and our lives. This is about using the free time we have to create something new and original.

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Playing it Safe is The Riskiest Thing You Can Do

Many people will account their lives to be successful if they get through them with only minimal pain.  Few aim to rise above a plodding existence. And this, not-withstanding that they often have within them the ability to do something that which perhaps no other human being has done before.

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Merely to do what others have done is often safe and comfortable; but to do something truly original, and do it well, whether appreciated by others or not – that is what being human is really all about and it is alone that what justifies the self-love that is pride. 

From Richard Taylor’s Restoring Pride.

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Occupy your day with interesting tasks, challenges and problems to solve.

Strive to spend the majority of your free time creating, exploring, learning, doing.

Challenge your capacities and improve your talents.

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Creative risk taking requires perseverance, struggle and the short term sacrifice of pleasures and comfort, to explore and cultivate the gifts within us, and thus to enjoy the fruits of genuine pride.

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The goal: to attain personal excellence of the kind that sets you apart from others.

Read Richard Taylor’s Restoring Pride

Watch Why Passivity Breeds Mediocrity 

Featured Artist

Afarin Sajedi was born in 1979 in Shiraz. She came to Tehran to study at the Azad University of Tehran where she got her degree in Graphic Design. Sajedi’s creativity, technique and powerful presentation are sure to ensure her an elevated position in the world of Iranian art. She has several motifs she enjoys portraying. However, whether she is depicting her Japanese people, her clowns or her theatrical personages she only portrays women. In all her works her women’s faces are highly made up be it in pain or joy to show how she visualizes women when they leave the security of their homes to enter the world outside. “Women have often told me how much they enjoy using make up because it allows them another face,” Sajedi exclaims in despair. She confesses that she has been highly influenced by Heinrich Boll’s Clown and by Gustav Klimt. She uses Klimt’s depth of color to vivify the pain of the modern woman in any role she decides to thrust herself into. Red plays an important role in the works of this painter. “It’s an aggressive color,” Sajedi says, “and I love aggressive colors.” Sajedi has participated in four group and four solo exhibitions. She is presently living and working in Tehran.

 

 

Ego Trippers, Smiling Our Way Through Fear & The Life Long Importance of Relationships

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When we remove ego, we’re left with what is real.ReadEgo is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday

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Redefining Our Identities with and without Psychedelics

Ego death, or as Jung called it, “psychic death,” is also called “ego loss.” It signifies the complete loss of subjective identity. In Jungian theory, this precedes a rebirth into a new identity. Timothy Leary coined the term “ego loss” in regard to LSD experiences. Ego death is the second stage In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.  Ego death in Buddhism is related to understanding one’s true nature, (not mistaking the rope for the snake), which leads to a permanent awakening from ego fixation (one will never mistake the rope for the snake once it is seen to be a rope).

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Psychotherapy and psychedelics both assist in helping redefine identity. Psychotherapy focuses on ego defenses and issues stemming from identification with the ego and its journey to wholeness, while ayahuasca can loosen the strict boundaries of self-perception and allow other information and perspectives in, introducing a new dimension of healing.

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From Panic to Peace – Smiling Your Way Through Fear

Thich Nhat Hanh calls his practice of yes “smile yoga.” He suggests bringing a slight but real smile to our lips many times throughout the day, whether we are meditating or simply stopping for a red light. “A tiny bud of a smile on your lips,” writes Thich Nhat Hanh, “nourishes awareness and calms you miraculously. . . your smile will bring happiness to you and those around you.”

The power of a smile to open and relax us is confirmed by modern science. The muscles used to make a smile actually send a biochemical message to our nervous system that it is safe to relax the flight, fight or freeze response.  A smile is the yes of unconditional friendliness that welcomes experience without fear.

Smiling can be the trigger that switches us from operating under the power of the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) to the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Our body is designed to be in the state of rest and digest most of the time, but there are too many stressful things in our life to keep our body to stay in the fight or flight mode.

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Why is smiling important? Smiling not only offers a mood boost but helps our bodies release cortisol and endorphins that provide numerous health benefits, including:

  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Increased endurance
  • Reduced pain
  • Reduced stress
  • Strengthened immune system

Read

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

 

Good Genes are Nice, But Joy is Better

Robert Waldinger is a Zen priest and leader of the longest-running study of human happiness. He has found that science and Buddhism agree on what makes life happy and meaningful.

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Waldinger is also a clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard University and director of the famed Harvard Study of Adult Development. It’s perhaps the longest-running study of adult life ever conducted. For seventy-five continuous years, it has tracked the lives of 724 men in order to understand what makes for a healthy, happy life. Now it’s following the next generation, as it tracks the lives of the original subjects’ children and their families.

Harvard study, almost 80 years old, has proved that embracing community helps us live longer, and be happier.

 

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Freedom from the Fear of the Unknown

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Working Against the Tide
Every day felt like a meaningless and grueling grind. The 90 minute commute, the two hour calls, the craziness and directionless confusion. The frustration was becoming intolerable and unbearable. The harder she tried to accomplish her tasks the more difficult and challenging they became. She was working against the tide. She knew that it was very wrong to stay, she was so very unhappy, just miserable really, but she was entrapped by the sense of security of steady pay.
Soul Scraping and Mind Twisting
Days turned into weeks and weeks into long and tiresome months as they drowned her in mindless heaps of senseless work. She came with grand ideas and an astonishingly powerful vision but she stayed with her soul scraping the ground behind her, disempowered and disenchanted.
A Crazy Crew of Misfits
She realized they’d never change and their demise inevitable. The crazy crew of misfits, the bureau of imaginary problems, manufacturing crap that nobody needed. Oh and the office clan, you know the annoying cast of pervasive personalities, they playing starring roles in failing and crumbling companies around the world.
Weird Office Culture
Mad Mary, the desolate bookkeeper who bullies and snarls as she writes the checks. Sorry ass Sam, Operations “Director”, who squirms at the thought of having to deal with the world, always repeating but never contributing. The first one to whine during the long conference meetings in a stale, windowless room. And then there was timid Lucy, whose command of the English language was limited at best, making training a painful and arduous process. But oh how they loved her, because she yes’d them to death. Even as the ship went down.
Freedom from the Fear of the Unknown
She had enough with it all, it was time to leave. It was either security or her soul.  To take the leap, the dive, the jump. The fear of falling without a net, without a job, without the false sense of security scared her beyond her wildest belief.
 Saving Her Soul & Sparking Joy
But she did. And when she did, it felt wonderful, liberating and free. All was well with the world. Security could not buy the sense of splendor in her heart for having the courage to save her soul.
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Onwards and upwards, she had a plan, a plan to build her own empire of inspiration. This next chapter entitled “Sparking Joy“.
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No Cliffhangers