Time To Just Be

Time out to just rest the body and mind. Not think. No more solving problems. Simply letting the mind wander. Wonder. Play with serenity. Yes I am baking a serene moment. Yes, you can make it too. No recipe needed. Just do nothing.

No where to go. Nothing to do. Perfectly at peace. Here and now.

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Do nothing but breathe. Maybe walk. Float around. How often do we get to do that? Not much. Not enough.

This is what was missing from my life.

I took the time today. I grabbed it. Or maybe it seduced me. Then, time loved me back.

The time was soft, slow, sweet. The time enveloped me. Everything so warm and serene.

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Steal the time if you must. Tell others you will be gone for a bit. Hide. Go on a walk about. Make the precious time to just be.

 

Featured Art

@Nextlevelfarside

The Freedom of Discipline

Once this day is gone, once the sun has set, the day will be a memory. Let it be a good one.  By Madeline Johnson

Study and seek as I may, the only thing I know for certain is that I will never get this day back again. Once this day is gone, once the sun has set, the day will be a memory. Let it be a good one.

Am I doing my best in this moment right now. Am I paying attention to my life? Am I listening and learning? Are my actions reflecting my pure and bright mind?

You often hear people say you have to get out of your own way to improve. They’ll remind you to remove yourself from the problem. Or perhaps they will recommend you simply let it go. Surrender.

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The battle continues when you struggle  to hold on to that which is no longer here – what is gone – what no longer serves you. Let it go. And victory is had when you give up the fight and move forward with faith into the future. This tug of war is the essence of our challenge and the secret to our lives.

Don’t kid yourself and don’t listen to others that tell you to simply meditate. It really is a struggle to release yourself from the ever-controlling, powerful ego. The part of you that wants to control everything.  It is frustrating to remove the old speak from your mind.  It’s hard to do, but it is possible. With enough discipline and self-encouragement, you can steady yourself on the right path with the right thinking.

This spiritual journey is not all incense, crystals and dream catchers.

The path is not for the faint of heart.

Strong discipline is required.  It begins freeing and disciplining your mind.

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Featured Art

@psychedgallery on Instagram

My, Our Messiest Bests

I can’t know something to be true and do another. I have a hard time with knowing the morally right thing to do and then taking a short cut. Madeline Johnson

Like you, I don’t have it in me to fake my way through life.  I am going to be myself and try to improve each day, exposing the messiest parts of cleaning up my act.

I don’t care about being judged. I never did and never will care what anyone else thinks.

What concerns me most is not being right in my own heart. For me, there is nothing worse than lying to yourself, than letting yourself down, than not being able to look yourself in the mirror.

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I can’t know something to be true and do another. I have a very hard time with knowing the morally right thing to do and then taking a short cut – in the name of self- preservation.

This is one of the real struggles for me. To contemplate what the best version of myself would be – to actually envision how she thinks, speaks and behaves – and than doing something else out of fear, doubt and selfishness.

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Featured Artist

Saido_Doll on Instagram

The Real Reason You Don’t Believe in Yourself

Pay attention. Catch myself in moments of self-destructing justification. Trust that I am not alone and God will help me along the way. Madeline Johnson

I finally understand why I have a hard time believing in myself.  It’s because I say one thing and do another.  I overpromise and under deliver and then justify my poor behavior based on some crazy cognitive distortion.  I am stuck in a continuous loop of self-sabotaging denial.  Oh for the perpetuation of anxious psychopathological states.  To believe in myself, I must keep the promises I make to myself. 

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The broken promise: No more wine at night. It’s mind- numbing sugar poison and wakes me up at 3:00 am. I will drink valerian root tea before bed instead.

The contradicting behavior:  Find myself pouring a second glass of Sauvignon by 10 pm.

The destructive justification: I need to relax this little monkey mind, wine does the trick, it’s white, only 90 calories a glass – it’s so important that I fall asleep already.

The broken promise: No more cheap clients and time-sucking work. It’s time to double down on building up my savings and getting ahead of debt. I promise myself that I won’t overload my schedule tomorrow and I will only accept projects that pay me what I am worth.

The contradicting behavior:   Then there I am, frustrated and annoyed, panting and racing to finish a lousy paying writing project, begrudgingly hunched over my 13″ lap top screen until 9 pm at night.

The destructive justification:  Fear sets in. The money grab.  Say yes to everything.  Jump on the work while I can.  You never know when the well will run dry. Be grateful for everything that comes my way. Take it and don’t be ungrateful.

The broken promise:  I swear to myself that I won’t mindlessly snack on junk food like calorie-packed, nutrient-deficient  milk chocolate raisins and tasteless chick pea crackers between lunch and dinner. I want to get down to fighting weight and I will count all incoming calories.

The contradicting behavior:  Hand in bag, candy smeared on the keyboard, while I stare at my MacBook Pro and wonder how to juggle all these crazy little poor-paying projects and get it all done by the end of the day.

The destructive justification:  I am so stressed, my brain needs energy. I am thinking so deeply. Doesn’t the brain consume most of my calories? Alright, maybe not most, but a lot of them. Oh, these calories are nothing. I’ll go to the pool and swim them off later. . .

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Pay attention to my life. Catch myself in moments of self-destructing justification. Trust that I am not alone and God will help me along the way.

Featured Artist

Yamandu Pazos on Instagram

 

 

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You Are Magic

We can produce quality art and work in small batches and make an astonishing impact on the world.  Madeline Johnson

I want to believe that it is my responsibility to dream and imagine beautiful and creative stories that morph into reality – stories that enhance our knowledge, expand our consciousness and lift our lives.

For a story doesn’t live until it is imagined in our minds.

Spend your time imagining. There is the magic of which we possess.

It is our imagination that fuels our thoughts and our thoughts become our dreams and our dreams become our destinations.

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To be of small but important significance daily.

I argue that we don’t have to strive to reach epic levels of creative recognition like Leonardo and Wolfgang Amadeus. We can produce quality art and work in small batches and make an astonishing impact on the world.

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 Featured Artist

@bal.zar on Instagram

At The End of The Day

Morning rituals are awesome, but we could all use a slow down ritual for the end of the day. By Madeline Johnson

When I tell you I crush it with my morning ritual – I really do. I am a morning ninja.

I awake at about 4:30 to 5:00 am everyday to pray, meditate, journal and learn something new. During this time, I envision what I want to accomplish for the day and think about how today might be a bit better than yesterday. I reflect back on some of the not so great moments and think about what I could have done better, how I need to improve my thoughts and behavior.

This gives me enough time to get to the gym, make a healthy breakfast and get to work by 8:30 – 9:00 am when I hit the ground running. Most days are a  blur of activity. Phone calls, emails, projects, meetings, lunch at the desk. The day flies by.

So by the time I am done with my day, after dinner, I am cooked, fried, simply done with the day and more often than not, I am at my worst by 9:00 pm. I have been going hard and fast and I am trying to wind it down.  I am trying to slow down my mind. I am trying to shut it all off, so I can have a peaceful night’s rest.

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Believe it or not, this slowing down takes focus and thought. Especially on non-yoga nights. It feels as if after dinner, dishes and a glass of wine, maybe a scroll through Instagram, a moment with my hubs and I hit the wall.  A crazy crash landing.  I am exhausted.

For some reason, it doesn’t feel like the best way, nor the most respectful or sacred approach to end the day.

While the mornings are so full of prayer, peace, positivity and purpose, the evenings feel thoughtless, restless and scattered. Full of guilt about things I didn’t get done and worry about whether I really gave it my best.

What I need is a 9 pm to 11 pm slow down ritual. Something that I can do, to unwind me, other than two glasses of wine and Instagram videos.

Reading a book in bed will put me to sleep. Guided hypnosis, even with lucid dreaming, puts me to sleep. Watching anything on Netflix, puts me to sleep.

Sketching seems like it would require too much effort. I don’t have an ounce of brain power left to write. My eyes too weary to stare at another screen, so watching a movie is out of the question.

I am on the hunt to discover ways to slow down and not fall asleep at 9:30 pm. Recommendations are welcome. I am curious, how to you wrap up your days? Do you have a slow down ritual?

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Featured Artist

@Mickces on Instagram

 

 

Have A Little Faith In Your Life Already

I’ll take faith over fear any day. Yes, one good thing about getting older and wiser is that you reach a certain point in your life where you can just say fuck to fear. You have gone through so much that you just know this is another thing that will pass. You have faith.

Yes it is true. You will get here, you will reach this point and you will fall in love with your fearlessness because you will realize that most of the things you are afraid of are only in your mind and most of the problems you think you have – will magically work themselves out – without our worry or intervention.

And, if you have grown spiritually, you let God do the heavy lifting. You will ask your co-pilot for some assistance during the turbulent times.

Other than that, sit back and relax. Enjoy your life. It’s short.

It’s not to say that you shouldn’t pay attention to your life. Please do.

Like if you have a deep gash that is spouting blood and needs medical attention right now or a flat tire on the highway during rush hour. These problems need immediate attention. The others, I promise, you will survive.

Just watch your life unfold.

98% of the time, the things you were worried about – those problems you think you had – they just disappeared. 

Here are the three most common things that happen.

  1. The person you’re really angry with does exactly what you feared they would do and nobody dies. And nobody cares. And nothing came of it. It came to pass.
  2. Somebody else takes care of it.
  3. You realize it wasn’t really a problem in the first place.

Problems.

There is always something to worry about, isn’t there?  It wouldn’t be life without the drama.  It seems like one problem fades away and then another just pops up. And we couldn’t of even predicted it.

You know what we should have instead of more problems?  We should have more fun.

You know what we should do with the unnecessary self-imposed drama? Ignore it. Just refuse it.

If You Ignore It, It Will Go Away.      If you have more fun, you’ll need less drama.

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References

Stop The Drama Train 6 Steps To A Drama Free Life

Avoid Life Dramas With These Tips

3 Simple Steps To Remove Drama From Your Life Immediately

 

Egon Schiele

Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. His work is noted for its intensity and its raw sexuality, and the many self-portraits the artist produced, including naked self-portraits.

 

Self-Honesty Changes Everything

In a world caught between human folly and Godly wonders therein lies the world of self-justifying excuses. By Madeline Johnson

In a world caught between human folly and Godly wonders therein lies the world of self-justifying excuses.

Yes we want to be our best, yes, we want to surrender to the Glory that is ours but are we willing to double down? Are we willing to do the things we must do to become the person we want to be?

Change don’t come easy. Do more truth.

Life is by its nature a transformative journey which unfolds in unforeseeable ways.

So why, when we want to change in a certain way, do we seek to defend poor choices and justify ridiculous ideas fueled by self-will and egocentric thinking?

One more glass of wine won’t bust my diet, I’m so stressed, I need something to calm me down.

He doesn’t need to know I spent that much, besides, I never treat myself.

She won’t remember I didn’t clean up that mess, besides, I work so hard all day.

This is the last purchase I’ll make this month, besides, I deserve it.

Selfjustification describes how, when we encounter a moment of cognitive dissonance (the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change), or a situation in which we behave inconsistently with our beliefs, that we tend to justify our behavior and deny any negative feedback associated with the consequences.

We stop lying to ourselves and get out of our own way when we start making change easier.

If you don’t want to cheat on your diet, and you are eating because you are stressed, meditate instead of medicate with food.

If you want to save money, but keep buying yet another small treat for yourself, then cut up the cards and hold a handful of cash for yourself to spend each week.

If you are too tired to clean up your mess, then don’t make such big ones. Use less and clean as you go.

Read here for 10 Smart Ways to Stop Lying to Yourself

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Marcos Guinoza

Speed Demons: Breaking the Habit of Being Busy

We are all still so busy, using meditation as medication to calm ourselves down. By Madeline Johnson

While I have noticed more and more mindful coaches, lifestyle experts, AI-powered apps like Woebot and the exploding popularity of meditation used to calm down the mind, busy is still the commander’s intent. We are all still so busy, while using meditation as medication to calm ourselves down. We are using meditation the way we use camomile, lemon balm and kava and marijuana, wine and Ambien to cure us of the business of being busy.

Caught in a chaotic, frenzied pace, we are all on the chase. Chasing money, influence, success at the cost of our own peace of mind.

A herd of speed demons.

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What are the costs of being a speed demon? We live under a weight of demands, real and imagined, that is debilitating. We see an alarming increase in stress-related disorders of all kinds for all ages, beginning with elementary school-age children who are struggling with obesity, depression, anxiety, attention disorders and all kinds of learning disabilities, a list of problems for all ages. Read more about our destructive speed demoning here.

The antidote is patience.

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Impatience

the tendency to be impatient; irritable or restless. To be agitated, edgy, nervous.

Impatience feeds feelings of anxiety, anger, and fear. It can crush relationships and careers. Being impatient isn’t a great trait to have and results in feelings of guilt for your out-of-control behavior. Being impatient can get you into some bit trouble. It can also make you physically ill.

When you’re impatient, you view life as a something to get through; the task in front of you is something to just get done. When you’re impatient you’re trying to rush into the future.

When you are working on something – anything –  a business,  a writing assignment, losing weight, or writing a book – whatever it is – it is easy to get frustrated and wish you were further down the road – closer to your goal. . . but you may find it easier to do something different next time.

Go easier on yourself.  Give yourself sometime. Screw the frenzied pace of the outside world.

Be grateful for each small step closer to your goal –

  • If it’s your business – then appreciate that your sales are up today.
  • If it’s a writing assignment – than give yourself more time than you think you need.
  • If you are dieting – set a goal date that is realistic and journal your intake.

 

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Patience

the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

When we are patient, we are willing to stay in the moment, letting go of the tight grip, releasing control.

Patience creates confidence, decisiveness, and a thoughtful outlook on life. Patience leads to wisdom and peace. How does this happen? When we are patient we slow down, and in taking our time we’re able to see the complexity in life. We are able to hear all that is being communicated to us. When we are patient, we become conscious of the natural rhythms of life.

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In the words of Rob Bell . . .

Every moment spent working towards your purpose, calling and joy should be celebrated.

 

Featured Artist

Russell Weiss

 

Deep Breaths of Gratitude & Appreciation

Animals that have the capacity to breathe slowly and deeply tend to have longer lifespans. Take the giant Aldabra Tortoise for instance, living to 152 years old.

When you inhale, your lungs expand to hold the incoming air.   How much air they hold is called lung capacity and varies with a person’s size, age, gender and respiratory health. The maximum amount of air an average adult  lungs can hold is about six liters (that’s the same as about three large soda bottles).

Deep, slow breathing has many benefits.

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1. Breath = life. The better (fuller) you breathe, the more energy you will have. Taking deeper breaths will bring in more oxygen into the body and improve your energy levels.

2. Deep breaths = less stress and better digestion. Slow deep breaths help to activate parasympathetic nervous system which is when the body gets the chance to recuperate, regenerate, and heal..

3. Deep breaths = less inflammation. Deep breathing is said to reduce the acidity level of the body making it more alkaline reducing your risk of infection

4. Deep breath = more awareness. The more awareness you have in the present moment, the more likely you are to connect with your intuition or internal teacher.  It is a matter of learning to listen to that voice and understand it.

5. Slower breaths = better relationships. Most relationships would be better if people were less reactive. Can you imagine if instead of saying something mean, you were able to mentally step back and chill before talking?

Notes from The Hindu Breathe Like a Tortoise, Live Like a King
List of longest living animals and organisms 

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Kiss your life today. Accept it as it is. Right now. So that those moments of peace, happiness and joy you are waiting for don’t pass you by.

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Featured Artist

Marisa Veerman on Instagram