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

 

Limbo

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.

QUOTE10

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

Featured Artist

Porcelain Bee on Instagram

Living in the Future

I constantly catch my mind planning out my future. I might be thinking about where to have dinner (the very near future), dreaming of my next home (the few years away future), deciding on my next travel adventure (the hopefully this year future), or what type of shoes I want to buy next (the sometime this month future).

In my mind, I am living in the future. Creating my next steps along the way. My brain just constantly planning, scheming, dreaming and thinking about what lies ahead.

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”  – Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Featured Artist

Japan Hokkaido

Graphic Designer / Contemporary Artist / Surrealism Art / Collage Artist /

The Absurdity Of It All

Life is simply absurd.

Our bad choices make great stories.

Sometimes we don’t look like a 300 likes kind of person.

7.5 billion people on the planet and I have two good friends.

When nothing goes right, we should just go to sleep.

Sometimes all you need is a billion dollars.

We worry because we feel unprepared to face the future.

It starts with tuning in. The trick is first realizing what is happening. Awareness is a powerful tool that many times we forget we have. We make our way through our day reacting to whatever is put in front of us, without realizing we actually have the power to choose our perspective and our thoughts in any situation.

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Featured Artist

@rouge_de_honte/

 

Choosing The Path With Heart

How to choose the path with heart. By Madeline Johnson

So many problems. So little time.

How do you begin to tackle difficult problems?  Your own and others?

Remove yourself emotionally. Do not take the problem personally. It isn’t about you. Even if it is your own. It doesn’t define you. Whether you solve the problem or not doesn’t make you more or less of a good person, but it is best that you learn the lesson.

Is it a new problem that has you perplexed? Do a bit of brain mining and reframing.  Search your mind for old solutions that you can apply to your new problem. You need to see your new problem in a different light, so it feels less mind-numbing.

Be hyper realistic – make sure you understand what part of the problem is true, not what you wish to be true. Beware of false evidence appearing as real (your fear about the problem).

Tease out what is not necessary. Are you worrying about parts of the problem that don’t have to be solved? This will only make it that much more complex. Get to the core of the problem.

Now that you are at the core issue, state each element of the problem simply. Explain your problem as if you were going to tell it to a five year old.

Write out the questions that you don’t understand about the problem.

Research and understand what other’s have tried to fix the problem. Is there anything you can learn from your mistakes?

Use divergent thinkingexpanding what could be possible. Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.

After you have come up with an acceptable amount of new ideas, use convergent thinking to refining ideas and looking for patterns.

Here a 3 minute explanation from Harvard’s Anne Manning.

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Featured Artist

Mirella Nania

 

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

Acting with Clear Intent

Changing the way you talk to yourself about your life can make a huge difference in the way your life actually unfolds.  Madeline Johnson

Changing the way you talk to yourself about your life can make a huge difference in the way your life actually unfolds.

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We all know how important it is to communicate your intentions clearly to others – but what about how we speak to ourselves?

We can’t send ourselves mixed messages.

Watch every thought and watch ever word.

This isn’t just about positive thinking and affirmations.

It’s about how you can be more thoughtful about your intentions.

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Featured Artist

@early_worm on Instagram

 

Life is So Easy

How do we make the hard things easier to do? By Madeline Johnson

Every adult I know has their own philosophy about life. My brother tries to keep it so simple. His mantra is clear – life is so easy.  I applaud him for boiling it down to four simple words.  How clever. It definitely keeps thinks manageable.

My brother loves to talk about how others screw up their lives by not thinking this way. By not realizing that life is so easy.

He thinks we complicate our lives. We complicate our lives by doing things we don’t want to do. We screw up our lives by not having a goal or a plan.

We mess up our lives by spending more than we have and by giving into our own laziness and lack of discipline. We know the right thing to do, but we don’t follow through.

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Yes, life can be easy, but I challenge that thought. Is life easy when you are on a spiritual path and holding yourself to different set of standards? To a higher moral code?  How is it easier when you have to do the things you have avoided for so long. . . like forgiving.

How do we make the hard things easier to do?

When you know better and you don’t walk the walk, it’s so difficult to kid yourself.

Today I promise to keep my spirits so high that I am able to walk my walk.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was so brilliant.

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Featured Artist

Sarah Renzi Sanders on Instagram

 

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