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

b.pngFeatured Artist

Marcos Guinoza

Reinventing Your Life

The two things you need to know about reaching your goals. Where you are going and that you are going to get there. By Madeline Johnson

Some days you may feel like a ship lost at sea without a rudder. Directionless and powerless. Like a fish out of water, floundering.

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And some days it is perfectly fine to be lost, to wander, to float . . . . until you stumble upon that thing. . . . you have a breakthrough, and an idea,  and you discover that dream you really want to do.

quotes about mothers lds Luxury This I remember feeling totally lost and sad when a certain someone

Then you just know.

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

 

Read that again: You know the WHERE you want to be and without a doubt that you WILL GET THERE. Just like when you drive to the store at night to get ice cream. You know the flavor you want and you know how delicious it will taste. You even have a plan for your second favorite . . .just in case.

You don’t need to worry about the how. There is no need to know how you are going to get there. That is nonsense. That doesn’t matter as much, because you know there are many roads you can take to where you are going. Some more bumpy and uncomfortable than others. There may even be mountains you need to climb along the way. Some days there will be detours, other days short cuts.

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The secret to success . . .

You know where you are going and that you are going to get there.

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Featured Artist

David Zinn is a street artist specializing in small-scale, improvised and (mostly) light-hearted chalk art.

Bad Choices & More Thoughtful People

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. Madeline Johnson

Decisions. We have so many to make every day. Although unscientifically proven, there seems to be a general consensus that we make about 35,000 decisions a day on average.

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Decisions vs Choices

According to Cornelia Schepis, there is a distinction between decision and choice. Every time you decide you’re literally killing your possibility to be self expressed. You’re putting up with something and there’s lack of freedom and power right there. When you choose you are freely and powerfully creating space for self expression and possibilities. This is a distinction that most of human beings unfortunately isn’t aware of. So don’t feel bad. I’m glad you brought this question up. Said that, we live in a society and often we are required to make decisions and not choices. I’d say as long as you know the distinction and you’re aware of which you’re choosing, it’s “ok”.

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Guided By Our Intuition

As we navigate our lives, we normally allow ourselves to be guided by impressions and feelings, and the confidence we have in our intuitive beliefs and preferences is usually justified. But not always. We are even confidant when we are wrong and an objective observer is more likely to detect our errors than we are.

From Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

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What Thoughtful People Do

Thoughtful people are self-aware, take care of their mental and physical needs and are engaged in the present moment. They are observant to the needs of those around them and are as kind and considerate as possible.

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They learn from the past, prepare for the future and act in the present moment.

They don’t walk away from arguments. They see other thoughts and ideas as a challenge to think bigger.

Incredibly curious about whatever they are studying. They ask the best questions.  They don’t settle for what they know. They understand that “If you don’t seek, you don’t know.”

They decide that everything that happens to them is feedback, lessons to be learned. Good or bad, they take in the teaching and move forward stronger.

They have taken the time to decide what is important, what really matters in their life. Relationships, good work, enjoying the ordinary. They know how and with whom to spend their time.

Thoughtful people build from what they have in the moment. They make best use of their current situation and work with what they’ve got.

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They know what they can control and what they can’t but they also understand that they have choices. They exert self-control. After deliberation and consideration, they make thoughtful choices.

They review all possibilities and focus on possible best outcomes, knowing full well, that the only thing constant in life is change.

Read: This is How High Achievers Make Smart Decisions

A Case For Being More Thoughtful 

Your (intuitive) brain is lazy and causes you to make intellectual errors.

Take the test –

A baseball bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?

I’ll give you a second.

Got it?

If your instant and initial answer is $0.10, I’m sorry to tell you that system 1 just tricked you.

Do the math again.

And?

Once you spent a minute or two actually thinking about it, you’ll see that the ball must cost $0.05. Then, if the bat costs $1 more, it comes out to $1.05, which, combined, gives you $1.10.

Another way to understand this –

Although $1.00 + $0.10 does equal $1.10,  if you take $1.00 – $0.10 you get $0.90, but the problem requires that the bat costs $1 more than the ball.

So, the ball must cost $0.05, and the bat must cost $1.05 since $1.05 + $0.05 = $1.10

Fascinating, right? What happened here?

Sometimes your brain perceives problems as simpler as they actually are.

Why does your brain do this?  The law of least effort states that your brain uses the minimum amount of energy for each task it can get away with.

Read even more: 17 Ways To Tell The Difference Between Intruding Thoughts And Intuitive Ones

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Featured Art

May Ray

André Breton once described Man Ray as a ‘pre-Surrealist’, something which accurately describes the artist’s natural affinity for the style. Even before the movement had coalesced, in the mid 1920s, his work, influenced by Marcel Duchamp, had Surrealist undertones, and he would continue to draw on the movement’s ideas throughout his life. His work has ultimately been very important in popularizing Surrealism.

 

 

 

 

Emotions Over Thoughts and A Softer Way to Communicate

How to follow your intuition by becoming more mindful.

Three things I am working on right now.

Soul Singing

Question: What does my soul say today?

My soul doesn’t speak in thoughts. No, not at all. These thoughts that clutter my mind are just residual pain left over from the things I haven’t let go of yet. Thoughts of conflicts yet resolved.

My soul speaks in feelings, emotions, images, sounds, clues.

My soul speaks to me when I feel deep sadness, frustration, anger, contentment and happiness.

I can feel, see, taste, touch and listen to my soul when my mind is silent.

That’s why I meditate.

Weeding my mind garden so there is more room for a soul orchestra.

Good feelings can’t grow from grudges. Pure thoughts don’t come from residual pain.

These are the feelings from stories feared.

Letting these thoughts drift on by, help me weed my mind garden and clear the soil for a more softer, gentler and more compassionate state of being.

Recovering from the violent ways in which we communicate.

Judging, blaming, demanding, critiquing, name-calling.

Talk about your karma baby.

Softer thoughts lead to kinder words. Seeking more non-violent ways to communicate.

Inspired by Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss & Turning Your Mind Into An Ally by Sakyong

Mipham

The Habit of Employing Self-Deception

People have a habit of inventing fictions they will believe wholeheartedly in order to ignore the truth they cannot accept.

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So much of my own suffering has come from shying away from reality, from protecting myself from the hardcore truth of the choices I’ve made for my life. It seems the more I run from my heartache, my soul ache, the more I continue to distance myself from the painfully honest truth. It’s a strategy for self-preservation actually, but a very bad one at that.
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I have found that I have spent most of my “waking” life quietly buried in a fantasy world of make believe and pretend.  Buried in being busy, buried in too much work, buried in striving for my “goals”, buried in trying to fix hurt people. Bobbing around in a bubble. Sometimes for a time it actually worked (like a band aid) but more often it didn’t.
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Hoping, wishing, praying and becoming more and more determined to try to change those around me that didn’t want to change so I could manifest what I wanted without first seeing and holding the absolute truth about them. How selfish is that? Fighting instead of facing, without knowing the tools, talent or skills I would need to create a better reality, one, I probably didn’t even know I wanted (or needed).
Illusions
This way of living is reckless and irresponsible and will one day come to bite you in the ass.  Yes it can protect and shield you for a time and from the pain, but the cold hard fact is reality is your best fucking friend.
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I have also come to understand this behavior in myself is just another form of manipulation. When I don’t see what is truly in front of me, what is absolutely factual about any circumstance and I slip on those rose colored glasses, pretending that everything is fine, this is when I find myself in the most agonizing of circumstances.
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Whether it be the promise and potential I see, the possibilities in others, the “magic” of a truly desperate moment or the belief that I can do something I haven’t really trained or practiced for, it really doesn’t matter. The fact is I am not prepared to deal with the deep dark core truth. It’s so, so, so frustrating.
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When I convince myself that things are different than they really are, I struggle in that denial, trying to fit pieces of the puzzle in places they don’t belong. It’s maddening really.
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The more we bullshit ourselves into believing that we can do anything without absolutely accepting
  • where we are
  • what we have to work with
  • who is within our company (including our crappy-ass selves)
until we are truly accepting of the actions we have taken & the choices we have made and the distance we have to really go, we will stumble, fumble and fall.
One must start with the unquestionable truth of what is really happening in their lives before anything can get clearer.
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Stay awake, aware, alert and alive. Always.

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To Know The Truth

Don’t deny your world. Your world does not need saving, it needs more of your loving care.  It’s begging you to pay more attention to the details.

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Pay attention.

Accept this moment for what it is.

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Suffering is just the refusal to accept what is.

Healing is really just letting yourself feel your most suppressed feelings and recognizing that these feelings are fleeting.

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Each day we must go to war and fight the good fight. Vivere est Militare. To live is to fight. Fighting for our dreams with fortitude. Fighting against impulses with discipline. Fighting to be the person I want to be with courage.

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Life is a battlefield.

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Your Smile is Your Super Power

This morning I imagined what the 80 year old version of myself would tell me, if I asked her, “What do I do now?” “What should I focus on?

What wisdom would she have, nearing the end of her life? What would she have focused on today?

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She’d tell me to bike more, write more, film everything. Tell everyone I love how much I love them. Hug more, kiss more. Squeeze them tight. Use my creativity to connect with those I love and those I will love in the future. Arms and heart wide open, she would tell me to vulnerably step into the world and be me.

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She’d tell me to fuck fear. Let go of the negative thoughts. Skin the skeptic.  Look for the beauty in all. There are so many good people to love, sweet creatures to care for and wonderous places to inspire. Find them. Get out today and connect on purpose. Smile, it’s a great heart opener. It’s your super power.  Laugh. Enjoy life to the fullest each moment. Find your tribe. Seek out those who inspire you and meet them with open arms. Exercise. Move your body. Play outdoors.

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Seek what you want to find. Chase what makes your heart beat. What makes your heart pound out loud. Friends, food, books, music, work.  Go out there and get it all.

Use

Be thoughtful and intentional about everything you do. Your writing, your film, your drawing. Do it on purpose and with a purpose. 

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Think first, but don’t regret anything. Try not to hurt anyone, including yourself. No time for that. Problems will come and go. It always works out in the end. Stop getting so angry and frustrated. Sail through the storms. There is no time to waste.

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Life is a banquet. There is so much to choose from. Taste it all.

Visit friends, follow the inspiring, touch and taste everything that draws you in – that pulls you closer. Feed your curiosity.

Passionate

Let go of control. Just love.

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The Best Gift You Can Give

The best gift you can give anyone is your full and true presence.

Distractions are everywhere, and who has the time for anyone, really?

I resolve from this moment forward to make more time for truer communication with those I love. This is what makes life more memorable.

Generous Listening

Inspired by Becoming Wise

I’m thinking about how important it is to listen generously. How to compassionately communicate and hear another’s soul, even through the most difficult conversations.

To listen with an awakened heart & mind. To listen openly, without trying immediately to fix the problem at hand or impulsively come up with an answer right now.

To drop the agenda.

I’m thinking about how improved my relationships would be if I just follow the emotion of the moment, if I let the conversation flow.

What if I tolerated more of them and watched my timing of words?  What if I made room for the difficult to pour out, for the pain to set itself free?  Dissipate.

How would the conversation go if I were more flexible with my speech? If I softened my tone? If I held out my arms?

What if I let the conversation move where it will, if I gave up control?

Imagine if I released myself of judging everything to not a single word. How would it look if I decided to just observe it all as if I had never heard it before. What would I see?  If I listened less guardedly.

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Healing Words

The next opportunity I have for a true conversation I will include words of kindness. I will believe that I am exactly what is needed to help heal the situation.  Everything needs a measure of healing, don’t you think?

I vow to not let  differences define what is possible between us. I can argue with your opinion, but not your experience.

I will try, yes I will try very hard, to understand why you are behaving the way you are behaving. Perhaps you are in pain. What can I say or do to help you soothe it away?

I won’t look with anger, but I will try to find the good in you, even during your worst of rage.

A More Courageous Conversation

Even more importantly, I will open up my vulnerable parts to keep the conversation real. It may feel raw, uneasy and probably very uncomfortable, but that is where we grow. I will admit my weaknesses and recognize that what I have done so far has gotten me here, not where I want to be.

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Feature Photo – Artist: Egon Schiele

Going from Anxious Type A to a More Self-Healing Nature

I’m not sure when I adapted such a stressed out, hard-charging approach to life, but I did and it sucked and I am over it. I don’t regret much, but I do feel as if my fretful, grinding approach to work and life has exhausted me with very little more to show for it.

All that grind, all that toil, leading to very little added reward.

What a waste of energy.

Sure I feel successful, but I have over exerted my energy and worried my way to fatigue. The added busy motion, flying headlong into my days, pressing to get things done quickly, hasn’t adding anything of value to my life.

I could have had so much more fun enjoying the process.

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So now I am on a mission to change the habits that have led me to feeling exhausted and sometimes even sick.

Make it Simple, But Significant

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Everything is related to everything else. How stressed or angry you are, and how you interact with the world, is contingent in large part on your personality style,” says Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. “And that is going to have an enormous impact on your health.”

Good Riddance to the Strain, Struggle & Strife

Eliminating the Need to Over Exert my Energy

My plan is to transform my Type A personality to a self-healing nature that is more curious, secure, constructive, responsive, and conscientious. These traits translate to enthusiasm for life, emotional balance, and strong social relationships. Read more about how your personality traits effect your life here.

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Barring any states of emergency that require immediate action, I ban all short and unreasonable deadlines. No more guarantees, pressure to promise results or setting up impossible goals.

I will only take on projects that I am exited to tackle and that I will enjoy completing.

That doesn’t mean that I won’t creatively challenge myself.

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If there is anything I regret, it is having spent so many of my years moving through my days, huffing, puffing, red-faced to get the maximum out of every day.

I could have done it without the pain.

Rushing ruins the whole thing.

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I want to move with more grace and elegance. I believe that with a calmer approach, much of my day can be effortless, enjoyable and effective.

How?

  • I will stop when I begin to feel stressed.
  • Take more time to think.
  • Look for ideas, not immediate answers.
  • Make obstacles work in my favor.
  • I won’t take the pleasure out of doing a great job because I am rushing through it.

More ways to eliminate the stress from your life.

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JR x Blu

In 2007, JR collaborates with Italian artist Blu on a mural installation in Berlin.

 

Additional Credits

 

Artist Nick Cave

 

Adding More Life to Our Years

 In my playbook, every day is Thanksgiving and I bet a lot of you reading this feel the same way. As we remain grateful this holiday, let’s take a moment to consider how fleeting life really is. . .memento mori.

memento-moriA Life That Matters 

(A Non Religious Funeral Reading)

Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours, days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived.
At the end, whether you were beautiful or brilliant, male or female, even your skin colour won’t matter.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched,empowered or encouraged others.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.

Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.

– Unknown

Adding More Life to Our Years

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How do you add more life to your years? How do we know if we are living to the max, giving the most we can give?  Do we just go by feeling? Do we continue to list and review our accomplishments? Add more to our resume? Create a bucket list of things we want to do sometime in the future?

What can we do right now to add more life to the moment in front of us?

We might listen to our heart more. Perhaps address the “psychic” pain of every day life and make adjustments to our day. Change what we don’t like about our living.

Perhaps we stop saying yes out of habit or obligation and start to consider what we really want to contribute during our lifetime. Volunteer maybe? Start a blog perhaps? Train for the marathon? Save up for the excursion?

Or better yet, maybe we wake the hell up. We stop sleep walking through life. No more numbing the brain with another glass of wine after dinner or taking the same route to work each morning. Perhaps we establish a healthy morning ritual to renew our sense of aliveness.

Could it be we create a new purpose. Develop a mantra to make people smile. Yeah, maybe that’s a purpose in life. smile

 How about we begin to take on more of life. . . .
  • Tackle the world’s bigger problems. Become an agent for change.
  • Learn something new, every day.  There are so many free ways to learn.
  • Do something selfless, make things easier for someone else.
  • Or maybe only respond to things that make us say Hell Yes! and say no to the rest.
Inspired by Derek Sivers and this post here