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

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

Slow, Deliberate & Intentional

You can’t bring anxious energy to long lasting change. By Madeline Johnson

More than 40% of our lives are spent in habit. Habits are those things we do, mindlessly, without any thought.  Bingeing on Neflix, emotional shopping and overspending, obsessively checking your Instagram, that second glass of wine every night, working 15 hours a day, never holding eye contact, obliviously eavesdropping, eating too quickly, forgetting to floss, overpromising and under delivering, drunken raging at your partner, the list goes on. . .

Some habits are not as harmful as others, but many of them can cause some pretty big issues – like feeling drowsy at work from lack of sleep, large credit card balances that are impossible to pay down, digestive issues and early onset of gum disease and many a bad and torturous break up .

The worst approach you can take towards breaking bad habits is to rush – the race to the finish line approach. The force it in your brain with daily affirmations and ten minute meditations, this doesn’t work for long lasting change.

When you set out to be a better person than you once were, change doesn’t come easy.  Correcting parts of your personality that don’t suit you anymore requires a change in thoughts, emotions, behaviors and habits – everything that creates the foundation of who you are.

You can’t bring anxious energy to long lasting change.  Pushing, forcing and shoving your way to a new version of you doesn’t have the strong and deep energy to create that staying power.  It doesn’t carve the deep enough grooves in our neural pathways to make the change stick.

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I found what has been working best for me is the slow, deliberate and intentional approach.

 

Featured Photographer

Robert Wood Cox on Instagram

 

One Big Fat Lie and The Stark Naked Truth

Unravelling your self-deception begins with acknowledging how you are contributing to something you don’t like. By Madeline Johnson

It is estimated that the average person lies 10 to 200 times a day. Whether you consider yourself “average”, the fact is we lie all the time. We lie to ourselves and we lie to each other. Small lies, big lies, just to get where we need to go kind of lies.  This isn’t necessarily the big, blatant, in your face lying. It could be the sneaky “white” lying – what we consider to be harmless or trivial, and frequently said in order to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

Lying to ourselves according to Dr. Courtney Warren, stems from not being psychologically strong enough to be honest with yourself. 

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We fool ourselves into believing things that are false,

and we refuse to believe things that are true. 

Listening to Courtney Warren’s Tedx talk “Honest liars — the psychology of self-deception” I was taken back, it struck a hard, deep cord,  but at the same time I felt inspired and relieved. It rang and rings so true. Frighteningly true.

So what’s the big deal about telling yourself you can have that third cookie because you worked out yesterday?

Lying to yourself keeps you stuck. Now I don’t know about you, but I want to grow.

The fact is, when you lie to yourself, you aren’t going to get anywhere, because you can’t change something you can’t admit.  Self-deception restricts you, limits you and steals your power.

How do you know you are lying to yourself and others?

You’re blaming others. “I wouldn’t have freaked out if he didn’t get me so mad.” You’re playing the victim. “I can’t believe she would do that to me.” You’re defending yourself.  You’re defending your ego, your deceived identity.

Read more on the 15 Common Defense Mechanisms.

Other ways you can tell when you are lying to yourself. Y ou have a strong emotional reaction or thought to someone or something. “I just can’t stand being around her.” “He just rubs me the wrong way.” Anytime you feel or think something in an extreme way is an opportunity to see how you might be deceiving yourself.

When your actions don’t match your commitments. Like, when you catch saying one thing and doing another. “One more glass of wine won’t break my diet.” “Sure, let’s have dinner next week.” “I’ll text you tomorrow.”

And of course when you overpromise. You go after things you’re not equipped to handle because you’ve over-exaggerated your abilities. You find yourself in situations where you can’t deliver what you said you would deliver. You tell yourself you can do anything. You’re not being honest about your skill set, personality or knowledge. Be honest about what you can and cannot do. What you can’t do today may be achievable in the future if you educate yourself. The key is to first acknowledge that you don’t know what you don’t know.

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So, why do we do this? We are susceptible to self-deception because we have emotional attachments to our beliefs.

Wear a mask long enough and it becomes your face.

Play a role long enough and it becomes who you are.

Spend enough time pretending something is true and

you might as well believe it to be so.

Read more How To Liberate Your Life From Self-Deception

Unravelling your self-deception begins with acknowledging how you are contributing to something you don’t like.

Featured Artist

@psychedgallery on Instagram

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

 

Navigating Life From The Heart

When I remove my fears, frustrations, anger, worry and remorse from the moment, all I have left is this perfect moment.  By Madeline Johnson

Here is what my heart told me today.

The day must start and end with peace.

All the middle minutes, calm.

All is at peace. Do not disturb. Do not disturb this peace with doubts.

This peace is natural. Everything is already ideal. There is nothing to fix.

Everything is good.

It is I who disturbs this peace with my anxiousness.

My heart told me so.

Do not bring the anxious and questioning to every moment of existence.

My heart told me to back off. Let it be. Do not step into the moment with any judgement.

No judgement about about him, her or here.

Respect all around me. Appreciate everyone and everything. Yes even the difficult.

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Just as it is.

Reality is not for me to judge or disagree with.

My heart told me to speak less. Just observe. Observe and respect. Appreciate.

This frees up so much of the energy to be me. To be love. To imprint upon the moment, the essence of acceptance.

Do not fill the silence with words. No need.

Look at this perfect moment without my fear and my worries and angst.

It is perfect.

When I remove my fears and frustrations from the moment,

all I have left is perfect peace.

 

Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question. . . 

Does this path have a heart?

If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.

– Carlos Castaneda

And may I add dear Carlos – can we imprint more heart on the path?

 

 

 

Featured Art

Veks Van Hillik on Instagram (cover)

Jerico Santander on Instagram (2nd)

Resuscitating Back To Life

A shift in perspective can give life to something that feels dead. By Madeline Johnson

Lately I have been experiencing many shifts in perspective about my life. A shift in perspective can give life to something that feels dead.  It can breathe fresh air into an old relationship, it can help you finally see the opportunity in a recurring nightmare of a problem, a change of energy can help you resolve an “issue” that you keep experiencing over and over.

I am beginning to see things differently, especially the problems and pain points – the obstacles that I face every day. Between you and me, they aren’t huge challenges, but they aren’t small either and thank God they don’t effect my health.

You and I both know, your mental and physical health is everything. Soul health too. Soul health is most important.

“Poverty consciousness and a sense of “not enough” can cast a shadow on your path. These ideas and core beliefs come with a high cost. Do you really want to proclaim yourself a victim of disappointment and failed expectations? Are you avoiding success because you will grow so tall that others may want to cut you down? Or is it possible that you are caught in a fear that you will lose what you have acquired, so you hold on so tight that you miss the opportunities to expand? You are being challenged to change the way you see the world and move from a perception of limitations to a perception of abundance. Take a risk, for you have nothing to lose except your confinement in a prison of your own making. Open the door and find the abundance waiting for you to claim it.

-from Wisdom of the Oracle Card Deck

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I use to think that the best form of prayer is a simple, single prayer of gratitude and appreciation for whatever God gives us. I still believe that to be true, but now I also understand that the act of prayer is also an invitation to surrender to what we think we need and want.

I now think of the power of prayer as a form of letting go and accepting that God knows better and with us at all times. 

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It was Gabby Bernstein today that turned me on to a new way of praying that truly resonates with me.

Dear God,

Thank you for showing me creative solutions

that are beyond my sight. 

So often we pray for what we think we need instead of surrendering to the knowledge that God has bigger, better plans for us. When we are open and allowing God to take over our lives we unleash the strength within us and stay open to the power of the universe and possibility. It is then that we collaborate and create our masterpiece in union with the divine.

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Remember, you are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you keep.

You are what you take from these. They leave an impression on you. Be careful what you consume.

You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You are a collective of every experience you have had in your life.

So drown yourself in a deep and beautiful sea of knowledge and existence. Let these experiences run through your veins and let the essence fill your mind and soul.

 

Featured Art

Holly Denham on Instagram

 

Calibrating Your Inner Compass

You always have a choice about how you face the day. By Madeline Johnson

While routines are good for your brain and smart habits conserve energy for better, more creative use – if one is not careful, a disciplined life can become dull and monotonous very quickly.  A way around this slope into slumbering through your days is to remember that you have a choice. You always have a choice about how you face the day.

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This doesn’t mean one has to chart an entirely new course everyday. No, sometimes it is a simple switch of lanes. Instead of trundling down one, you swiftly shift gears in another.

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Today is a good day to look at old things in a new way. A time to inhale a fresh, new energy into your existing life. Thinking in new ways about your thoughts, emotions and behavior – your attitude and approach to life.

Starting with a new mind – a new way of staying interested in your life and moving it forward. Your life is not the same as yesterday, you’ve added something new.

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You lift your own spirits.

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Featured Artwork @mr.babies

 

Grace Full

And remember to learn, learn, learn. Open your mind to the wonders. By Madeline Johnson

Do what you please, follow your heart.

It is your life.

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Just be. Be natural, positive, grateful. Grace full.

Stay light if you can.

And remember to learn, learn, learn. Open your mind to the wonders.

In the words of Mary Oliver. . .

And that I did not give to anyone the responsibility of my life. It is mine. I made it. 

And can do what I want with it. Live it.

Give it back, someday, without bitterness,

to the wild and weedy dunes. 

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Read: Upstream by Mary Oliver, Selected Essays.

Featured Art

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on Instagram @hecatombedeesperanzas/

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