Feelings

Life becomes a little easier when you begin to realize that feelings are meant to be felt, not meant to wreck you. That sometimes the only thing that is really wrong is your mindset, not your situation. You have the power to create something wrong just by the way you are looking it.

Just because you have a frightening moment doesn’t mean your world is about to collapse.

featured artist

Aniela Sobieski

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

 

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I remember not to fear or worry or doubt myself for that is the ultimate sin against life. Imagine a Dove doubting its ability to fly? Madeline Johnson

There is so much advice out there about taking an honest look at yourself. You must be courageous enough to face your bloodiest wounds to change. So many experts telling us to be brave and bold enough to recognize our faults.  Advising us to replace negative thinking and habits with better ones.

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At one point in time, in what still feels like the recent past, I was addicted to the feeling of being anxious and angry.  It actually felt very powerful and energizing to feel this way.   Now, as I begin to deliberately focus on letting go of that anger,  I notice that I am no longer feeling righteous and in charge, it can feel really uncomfortable.

You see, anger was once my anchor and complaining my crutch. Both made me feel superior because nothing was good enough for me. I had “higher” standards than most. These emotions also helped me feel less vulnerable and small.  If I remained angry, no one could touch me. They would fear me. This is what I thoughtlessly thought was powerful.

Now, the more I meditate, the more I pray, the more I remain mindful in the moment, the more peaceful I feel.  To be completely honest, feeling peaceful and calm feels strange. It’s actually a bit uncomfortable. I can actually witness my mind wanting to grasp onto what’s wrong with everything and I literally have a battle with my brain to correct my thoughts.

I am in transition and in between the two worlds of ego and serene essence.

Changing my consciousness and altering the way I think about everything, requires fierce discipline. It is as if I am constantly keeping a watchful eye on my thoughts throughout the day.  I weed out those thoughts that just don’t work.

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My logical mind knows that my old way of thinking was lazy, sloppy and useless. It was also very, very defensive and protective. I had built a fortress in the name of self-preservation. But what was I preserving? A shell of myself.

My old consciousness was me against the world, and frankly this way of perceiving people no longer serves me. It actually enslaved me into an endless loop of struggle. I was cynical, skeptical and scanning for threats. I was looking for the bad in others.

Now, as I realize that letting go and forgiving is so freeing, I feel a sense of peace and serenity that feels like floating through life. There is nothing to control. Yet, sometimes this floating feels very frightening, because I am floating in a sea of unknown.  I vacillate still between want to control and wanting to let go.

I sometimes no longer fear the future or think about what might happen next. I am practicing surrendering my control to a higher power of intelligence, to my view of God, to the universe and the divine and it is equal parts glorious, gratifying and frightening as hell.

To be a spiritual warrior is to go to war with the worry.

I remind myself to remember not to fear or worry or doubt myself for that is the ultimate sin against life.

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Imagine a Dove, a Seagull or a Blue Jay doubting their ability to fly?

Featured Artist

Porcelain Bee on Instagram

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

 

Living Life With More Meaning

Life becomes lived when you pay respect to the way it moves you. By Madeline Johnson

The first time I heard the phrase “to hold space” for someone was with Barnaby Ruhe.  Ruhe received his doctorate in shamanism and art practice, an interdisciplinary effort combining psychology, anthropology, art history, phenomenology and art studio action.  It was a Sunday afternoon at his loft at 55 Bethune street where he held power animal and soul retrieval circles.

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The mere act of creating and holding space for yourself and another can actually open your hearts to immense healing and possibilities.  Think about it, when was the last time you felt like you really thought someone was holding space for you, that they were deeply and without an ounce of judgment there for you? Or how about yourself? Do you have a practice of  holding space for yourself? When was the last time you felt like you were really taking time to listen to your heart? Paying attention to your life as if it was permeating your soul.

I don’t know about you but I can’t recall the last time I felt like I let myself linger in the moment.  I do the contrary. I jump from one second to the next, always busy, always after a goal. Now life seems to be flying by fast, the weeks rushing into months and blending into years.  Frankly, I want to reverse that. I want life to slooooooowwwww down, so I can really dig in.

They say that time is relative to the degree of attention you pay to your life.

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It was one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Rob Bell, who brought up two very fresh ways of approaching life, new ways of experiencing life (for me anyway), that helped me think about how to slow life down, to savor each moment and to give my life more meaning.

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Paying Witness to Your Life & Processing The Moment

The first approach is about taking time to observe our lives and the lives of others. To non-anxiously, without any judgement, pay witness to the things that are happening to us.

So often, when asked for advice from others, I am the one to quickly recommend what everyone needs to do next.  It starts like this – I will receive a call, a text or an email from a friend or family member to let me know what is happening with their lives. Typically it is about a problem that occurred. Someone offended them, something happened that got them really angry. They are overwhelmed with this and that. They are really stressed. They have reached out to me as a life line.

So, what do I do? Or what did the old me do?   I would quickly jump into solution-mode. “First you have to do this, then you do that and then all will be good.” I would charge in with answers instead of taking a moment to observe what they or I am actually feeling in the moment.  I did not take the time to sit and process the moment with them.  Sometimes that is all we need to do. We need to hold space for someone we love to process their lives.

Rob Bell explains it so well in this podcast “Is this Your First Accident?” Sometimes, we just need to process our lives, so we understand the meaning.  After listening to this podcast, I recognized that when I charge in with solutions, I am just trying to take control, to apply something I have learned to “repair” a problem. What is wrong with this approach? Nothing really, except that it is a limiting and sloppy and dare I say, disrespectful to yourself and others. Life becomes lived when you pay respect to the way it moves you. You need room and others to help you feel your way through the pain.

Taking a Thoughtful Pause

 

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The second podcast from Rob Bell that I recommend you list to is That Pause.  Life is about what we learn when we become still and aware of the depths of each moment. When we slow down just a bit, we are placing our energies in a wider horizon of possibilities. We pause so we can create space for larger more divine energies to fill us up.

Featured Artist

Aykut Aydogdu

Trust Not The Theater of The Mind

Learning how to relax and be calm is one of the best ways to find peace in your life. By Madeline Johnson

It happens to all of us. We get caught up in our own drama. Most of the time we are doing one thing, but thinking about another. We are driving the car but thinking about how we have to work over the weekend. We are making dinner but fighting with our ex about how it was their fault. We are meeting with a friend over cocktails but were wondering if were going to meet “the one” tonight.

We are every where but here and the last thing we are is relaxed in our own skin.

We aren’t calm, centered and balanced. Every time we get caught up in the frenzy and fantasy, the theater of our mind, we abort ourselves from reality.

And like any good theater production, the dialogue around drama in our mind is powerful.

There aren’t many peaceful, calm moments in our mind, but we all yearn for them.

Evidently, the search engine query “How to be calm all the time” is a very popular one.  Now why would that be?

It turns out one of the biggest stressors is lack of money. Yes, money is the biggest source of stress for Americans, research shows. Indeed, a survey by Northwestern Mutual found that money was the dominant source of stress for 44% of Americans, followed by the 25% who said personal relationships, and just 18% blaming work. And data from the American Psychological Association also shows that money is the No. 1 stressor for Americans: “Regardless of the economic climate, money and finances have remained the top stressor since our survey began in 2007,” the results revealed.

We all know what stress can do to us. Read more about how chronic stress can debilitate your life, and is the main cause of chronic health conditions and addictions here.

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It seems that so many people are seeking that sense of peace throughout their day, including myself.

We want that feeling that everything is okay, I can take care of it all and I can stay confident, balanced, and chill while I am doing it.  We are all looking for ways to be calm in all sorts of situations. Search engine queries around staying calm and centered also include. . .

How to be calm during an interview.

How to be calm at work.

How to be calm and collected.

How to be calm during a presentation.

How to be calm before a test.

How to be calm and assertive.

How to be calm before surgery.

We are all looking for just a beautiful sense of centered peace and being. Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has some very good advice about how to stay calm. Read here.

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Featured Artist

Alia Josephine Fawaz on Instagram @goastray_stayaskew

 

In Search of A More Peaceful Existence

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast. Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. By Madeline Johnson

Each year, the Institute for Economics and Peace releases the Global Peace Index. This is a study of 163 independent nations and territories around the world that uses indicators to determine which nations are the most dangerous, as well as which are the most peaceful. At the top of this list is Iceland. This isn’t a surprise, as this nation has taken the top spot for 10 years in a row. Features that stand out in this country that make it the most peaceful in the world is low crime rates and “non-existent” tension among the economic classes. My husband says it’s because very few people live there.

Why am I searching for the most peaceful places in the world?

I am in search of stillness, peace and more time for me. A place where I can savor the day and not feel engulfed by the competitive madness and ongoing consumption.

It Takes Time To Be Better

You see, when you set out to improve your life, to be a better person, you take on the responsibility of owning your actions, behavior, thoughts, words and reactions to others. This process invites you to continually observe yourself and treat your life like an experiment. You are the lab rat.  This self-inventory and reflection takes time and deep thought. So most of us who claim we don’t have that extra time to focus on ourselves, are advised to get up earlier. Yes, rise up at 5:00 am so you can have an hour or so to yourself. Time to journal, meditate, pray and contemplate your existence without a flurry of text messages or email requests disrupting your concentration.

Now the rest of the day is spent showering, eating, commuting, emailing, talking, working, writing, waiting in line, food prepping, laundering, shopping, and the list goes on.  . .

I ask you, what kind of world do we live in that we are told just 10 minutes a day of meditation and a few yoga breaths and stretches is all we need to feel better?

Enough with the busy, busy, busy going nowhere fast.

Let’s find the time to do some deeper work. Some unraveling of our emotions, resting of our souls, listening to our hearts, feeling our emotions, basking in our spirit and rising to our light.

 

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Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.

-Rita Schiano

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Featured Art

Kulinovic Marko on Instagram

 

Humbly Worthy

How can we forsake the feeling of being  worthy when we are tethered to the divine? By Madeline Johnson

One of the scholars of Hindu Dharma in the 19th century, argues that the concept of humility does not mean “crawling on all fours and calling oneself a sinner.” In Vivekananda’s Hindu Dharma, each human is held humble to the Universal, recognizing and feeling oneness with everyone and everything else in the universe, to live without inferiority or superiority or any other bias, is the mark of humility.

To live opinion and judgement free of your fellow man.

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I think at the very core humility means being able to recognize how little you really know about your capability to go to the very edges of life and how you might behave when left powerless. How you can be compassionate and empathetic to others. To know that you are no bigger or better than a beggar on the street or a junkie on the floor of  the basement or a murderer on death row.

No matter what you think you have accomplished – your essence, your humanness makes you no better than anyone else. This type of humble has you recognize that you can not judge because you know, given the ideal set of circumstances, you would also be left to beg, shoot and kill another. To be humble enough and aware of how immensely difficult life can turn out for anyone and everyone at any given time.

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It is with these thoughts that I am contemplating a different taste of humility. The type of humiliating humble that slams you to the ground and leaves you feeling hopeless, helpless and sometimes badly stained. The flavor of humble that has you cursing down the highway, screaming up at the sky, wondering why life is so unfair.

The humility that catches you in the corner and holds you hostage, pinned up against the wall because you were so wronged, viciously slighted, burned by another and there is no way you are ever going to get revenge. The shade of humility that makes you feel small, shameful and worthless.

Worthless? Really? Can it be so? Can it be that another can make one feel worthless when worthiness is something that bubbles up from inside? How can we forsake the feeling of being  worthy when we are tethered to the divine?

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks states that in Judaism humility is an appreciation of oneself, one’s talents, skills, and virtues. It is not meekness or self-deprecating thought, but the effacing of oneself to something higher. Humility is not to think lowly of oneself, but to appreciate the self one has received. In recognition of the mysteries and complexities of life, one becomes humbled to the awesomeness of what one is and what one can achieve.

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Humble people are confidant because they have had some kind of experience or a huge realization about what is really important in this life. They’ve had things taken away. They have been beaten and worn down to the core. People are drawn to humble people because there is a quality there that is not selfish. There is a sharing mindset. A coming together.

In the mind of Lion Grey, humility is the act of realizing that without others life would not have any meaning at all.

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Featured Artwork

Anders Rokum

 

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

 

No one Can Dance For You

How to face the frightening unknowable and uncontrollable future with less fear and trepidation. By Madeline Johnson

You are the facilitator of change in your life. Ultimately it’s all on you.  You have a choice. Stay stuck or move forward.

Face the demands of life voluntarily, respond to a challenge, instead of bracing for catastrophe.

– Jordan Peterson

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I suffer from catastrophic thinking and it is awful. I turn most problems into the sinking of the Titanic and I bring everyone along for the drowning.

Swimming Through the Unknowable & Uncontrollable

Here are three ways I have discovered to help anyone through a moment of worst case scenario distortions — so they may face the frightening unknowable and uncontrollable future with less fear and trepidation.

1. All is Good Right Now

Sure something bad might happen in the future, but “It’s not happening now.” Yes, it’s certainly possible that a catastrophe could occur, but it’s not happening now. This phrase may help you see that, at least at this moment, you are safe. All is well.

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2. You Made It This Far

“Whatever happens, I can cope.” This statement reminds you of your own inner resources and gives you the determination to meet the challenges of life. (The concept comes from the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy tradition.) Here are 50 ways to get through an anxious moment, that really work.
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3. Can You Stop?

Gain perspective. Instead of telling your brain to stop, ask yourself if you can. If you think about it, you are the cause of your own suffering. Can you stop the anxious loop? The first part of this statement has its origins in Buddhism’s Four Noble Truths. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.  B.png

Read the entire article 3 Ways to Stop Imagining The Worst

Featured Artwork
Naoto Hattori was born in 1975 in Yokohama, Japan, studied graphic design in Tokyo before moving to New York to study. In the year 2000 he received a BFA in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. He has received Awards from the Society of Illustrators, the New York Directors Club, Communication Arts and also he has won numerous awards from many art competitions and has been published in numerous art magazines. Of his work, He says: “My vision is like a dream, whether it’s a sweet dream, a nightmare, or just a trippy dream.