Tuesday, January 31, 2012


"The world tells us in a million ways, whether through the bodies on covers of women's magazines or in ranking us with grades in school, that we aren't enough, that we don't measure up, that we have to change and reform and tweak ourselves to be acceptable. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. We aren't merely enough, but so much more than enough. Human beings come into this world overflowing with brilliance, shining with the sacredness that all human beings are. 

As the world reflects back to us messages that we are flawed, we believe what the world tells us and we begin a new way of looking at ourselves---full of stories about where we don't measure up, how we are this type of person or that---and the light of us gets dimmed. 

If there is any transformation to make, it is the one of coming back to awareness of our own goodness, wholeness, enoughness, trust-worthy-ness, and sacredness.

Those of us interested in inner work might talk about the glory of human beings and our souls, but underneath that, we are saying: "I need to change. I need to fix 'x' about myself." There's actually a lot of striving in the self-help world. The over-arching paradigm is "I'm at point 'a' and I want to get to point 'b'. " 

In some sense, this makes sense because we all end up carrying a lot of junk. Unhelpful fears, limiting beliefs, coping behaviors that don't serve us, etc. We have an instinct to seek a freer, lighter, more joyful existence. 

But it matters if you know, at the foundation, that you are shining and sacred and incredible and whole and nothing can take that away from you. You are already that. 

Besides all our meager chatter about changing ourselves, a quieter voice endures and it speaks with authority. It's the silent, powerful mountain next to all the skirmishes happening on the land. And the mountain is whispering to us about our fundamental shining sacredness."

~ Tara Sophia Mohr 

This is from an e-course I've been taking called "Seeing with New Eyes" and I thought it was worth sharing.
This passage is all about recognizing and embracing the fact that you are enough just the way you are---the way you always have been.

This isn't always an easy thing to remember when we are constantly chasing new goals, berating ourselves when we fall short and feeling inferior and worthless when other people point out our flaws and shortcomings.

But before we can make positive change in our lives, we must first accept and love ourselves just as we are. That is always the first step. I realize that I sound very cheesy and "guru-ish" right now, but remembering all of this has pulled me out of many ruts and stopped me from being so hateful towards myself.

So make a conscious effort to celebrate the "enoughness" in yourself and recognize the "enoughness" in others.

<3 Madison

Monday, January 23, 2012

The difference between staying positive and wearing a mask

I wasn't planning to blog today, but this idea just hit me in the face and I decided to go ahead and write it down.

There is a very fine line between staying positive and pretending to be positive. I've noticed that I've been blurring this line a lot lately. There is a line between having a good attitude about a certain situation and acting like you have a good attitude when in reality, you want to drive your car over a cliff or inhale a bottle of Xanax. (Please don't do either one of those things. That would make me very sad.)

EXAMPLE: Let's say you spend the last of the money in your wallet on a large, delicious cup of Starbucks that you've been craving all day. As you joyfully rush out the door to enjoy your little piece of heaven, you trip and spill it everywhere. But instead of declaring that your whole day is ruined and that life can't possibly go on, you laugh it off and say, "Oh well. I can always get another one tomorrow." THAT is staying positive. THAT is accepting what happened and accepting that you can't rewind time and try more carefully not to trip and spill your drink.

But let's say that your BFF says or does something that really pisses you off/hurts your feelings. You pretend to let it roll off your back and justify her/his behavior by saying that she/he didn't mean it or that she/he was just having a bad day. You act like it doesn't bother you at all, when in reality, it's all you think about. It corrodes at your soul day in and day out, but you continue to avoid talking to her/him about it because you don't want to seem hurt or bothered by it. You convince yourself that you're just having a positive attitude and letting it go. THAT is wearing a mask.

If something is corroding at your soul, you need to address it.

I will say that again.

If something is corroding at your soul, you need to address it. (*cough* MADISON *cough*)

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I'm struggling with this right now. I've been blurring the line between staying positive and wearing a mask. I have problems that need to be faced, confrontations that need to be had, and feelings that need to be addressed.

I am an expert at painting on a happy face. But when that happy face gets washed away as a result of sobbing into my pillow at night, something needs to change. Something needs to be done.

So basically, accepting what is and accepting what you can't change is called staying positive. But if you're unhappy about something that CAN be changed and you're choosing to ignore it and "suck it up" instead, that's called wearing a mask.

Let's try to learn the difference together.

<3 Madison

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bad stuff will happen. But so will good stuff.

"Bad stuff will happen. Let it be. The sun will come out again." ~ Shannon Kaiser

Yesterday was just one of those days. Very up and down. The thing about me is that when I'm up, I'm way up and when I'm down, I'm way down. No matter what I'm feeling, I feel it very deeply. 

I've cried.
I've feared.
I've hurt people I love.
I've hurt myself.
I've blamed other people for my problems.
I've complained.
I've been haunted by my past. 
I've felt stuck.
I've felt undeserving of love.
I've had horrible days.

I have weaknesses below the surface just like everyone else. Those weaknesses can consume me if I give them a large enough opening to do so.

I often use the weather as a metaphor for life. There won't always be sunny, blue skies. There will be tornadoes, thunderstorms, and hurricanes sometimes too. Let the stinging rain hit your face and let the violent winds whip around you. It might do some damage, but the sun will always come back out.

I promise.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 7

"We've all worked toward goals, pondered the implications of our actions, obsessed over other people's opinions, and wished with every fiber of our being we could control them. We've also sat firmly rooted in a space, fully aware that we can let go of everything that keeps us from being where we are. It might seem like we don't have a choice when we consider everything we want to accomplish, how we want to be perceived, and how productive it seems to think about all that in overlapping thoughts in our heads. But in the end, we always have a choice in what we do right now, both with our minds and with our bodies. At any time, we can decide to be fully where we are. The only way to explore what's possible is to first be willing to be."  

This was the last paragraph in the next to the last chapter and it pretty much sums up one of the main ideas of the book: Accepting what is and being fully present.

It can be difficult to simply be where we are, fully aware of what's going on right now and what we're feeling and experiencing right now when there are so many other things to think about. Staying present is a daily challenge for a lot of people because it is so much easier to worry about the future or dwell on the past. To think about everything we have to accomplish or how we want other people to perceive us. To think about the time we took for granted or the people who let us down when we wish they hadn't.

The past is gone. It will forever be in the past and it needs to stay in the past. And worrying about the future is a waste of energy because we can never know how the future is going to turn out, regardless of how much we plan for it, think about it, or worry about it.

So just breathe. Look around and appreciate this moment for everything that it is. Let go of what you cannot control. Let go of what you cannot predict. Let go of what other people think. Let go of unnecessary burdens. Because this very moment is all there is and it will soon be gone too.

So this pretty much wraps up my Tiny Buddha book discussions! I hope you loved reading them as much as I loved writing them. It was very therapeutic to read these excerpts and look deep enough within myself to pull out just the right thoughts and feelings to match what the excerpts were saying.

To learn more about the book and find out how you can order it, be sure to check out this website: http://www.tinybuddhabook.com/

Happy Sunday!

<3 Madison

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 6

"We are all learning as we go. No one has it all figured out. No one goes to bed at night feeling fully confident in her decisions. No one knows for sure that a risk is going to pay off. No one can foresee what's coming. That's the beauty of life." 

This is very comforting to a somewhat overly cautious person like me. Although I'm not as bad as I used to be, I still tend to overanalyze my decisions and second-guess myself sometimes. But I know that every word of this excerpt is absolutely true. You can never know how a situation is going to turn out anyway, so you might as well not even worry about it.

Risks are scary and uncertain, and uncertainty scares me. It's uncomfortable to have no clue what will come out of a risk. But they are worth taking if you know in your gut and in your heart that you need to take them.

So I will remember this excerpt the next time I am faced with a seemingly scary risk. I will remind myself that I will never know the outcome unless I take the jump.

<3 Madison

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 5

"Freedom implies doing what you want when you want, but sometimes we just can't get what we want. While it might seem logical to stress about all the things we can't do and have, and spend our time scheming to eventually do and have them, this leaves us with very little time to create the situations that actually would give us the feelings we're chasing.

The things we want all come down to feelings---whether you want to feel proud, engaged, connected, fulfilled, satisfied, or challenged, and through it all, happy. Those feelings don't only exist in tomorrow. They're not exclusive to the targets you've imagined, the goals you've visualized, or the narrow definition of freedom you've established in your own head and heart.

True freedom is freedom from your own self-imposed limitations. It's the ability to accept situations as they are, in all their abundance and all their lack, and focus on the abundance."

Wow, what a nugget. Really really really think about what she's saying here. The point of this whole excerpt really just comes down to accepting what is, a topic explored throughout most of the book.

We're always chasing after what's next instead of focusing on what's happening right now. We're always stressing about the future instead of enjoying the present. We're always moaning about what we don't have instead of focusing on what we do have.

There are lots of things that I don't have right now and there are lots of things that I haven't accomplished yet. While I'm aware of these things and slowly making progress towards getting and accomplishing them, I make a conscious effort not to waste all my time complaining about it. I have an awesome habit of appreciating and enjoying what I do have. And I really do appreciate those things.


While I can't always go where I need or want to go, I do have two legs. There is a Sonic three minutes from my house (three minutes by car, fifteen minutes by foot) and my brother and I walk there all the time for ice cream or a milkshake. That is something that I really enjoy doing and when the weather is nice, I would much rather walk than drive. Also, there is a hospital within walking distance of my house as well...Just an observation. If I was bleeding to death or having a stroke, I highly doubt I'd be able to just walk myself to the hospital. (That's what 911 is for) But my point is that I've looked around while sitting at Sonic with my brother and noticed how many places are around that area. There are several different things that I can enjoy without a car if I take the time to notice those things.

So today, take the time to notice what you do have, rather than what you don't. What you have accomplished, rather than what you haven't. As Lori said above, don't limit yourself. True freedom really is taking the time to look around and set yourself free from the chains you put around your own ankles.

<3 Madison

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 4

"But in our strong, intimate relationships, we expect that other people will consistently confirm our views and, in doing so, validate us. When they don't seem to get us, or don't act in accordance with our ideas of how things should work, that's when trouble starts---and usually we assume we're right and someone else is wrong." 

This part of the book really made me stop and think for a minute. After a few moments of thinking, I realized that I am guilty of this. I am guilty of wanting to only surround myself with people who "get" me---people who understand my way of thinking, living, and learning. I feel threatened, defensive, and wrongly judged when someone opposes my point of view and then I have a tendency to close off and distance myself from that person. Sound familiar?

Reading certain parts of this book really made me realize that we can't all be right. Instead of arguing over and fighting for our own opinions and beliefs, maybe we should just respect the fact that everyone has different opinions and beliefs. Instead of hand picking a little group of people we want to spend all of our time with because they get us, maybe we should stay open to relationships with new people, even if those people don't always see things exactly as we do. I think a big part of being open-minded is...well, staying open. Listening instead of getting defensive. Agreeing to disagree instead of saying, "you're wrong." Wanting peace instead of wanting validation.

So my new challenge to myself is to become more consciously aware of my reactions to people who make me feel like I'm wrong. Sometimes I may see their point. Sometimes I may still disagree (which is okay). Sometimes I may learn something from them. But it can definitely be exhausting to constantly cling to what you think is right and what you think is wrong. It can be tempting to lash out at someone who challenges that. But wouldn't it be so much easier to loosen your grip a little bit and just choose to be peaceful and open-minded instead? I think it would be.

Here is a more in-depth article about this subject from someone much wiser than me: http://tinybuddha.com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-the-urge-to-make-other-people-wrong/

<3 Madison

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 3

"The best way to navigate new territory is to create new mental maps. Research indicates that we do this most effectively when we reach our own insights, as opposed to when someone else tells us what to do. It's why advice so frequently falls flat: in order for us to get past the discomfort of our thoughts and conditioning, we truly need to have our own epiphanies." 

In other words, we just don't get it until we get it. Got it?

I couldn't agree more with this research indication because I am living proof of its truth. If I'm struggling with something and you think you have the solution that will just completely knock my socks off and change my whole life, think again. Call it stubbornness, call it ignorance, but you can preach to me all day long about something that I need to do or change in my life, but every word you say will fly right over my head until I realize the solution for myself. It has always been that way for me and I think it is for a lot of other people too.

If I hate myself, you can tell me a million times to love myself, but I still won't. Not until I reach the conclusion that I'm deserving of love and self-respect.

If I'm afraid to step out of my comfort zone, you can write countless articles about pushing through fear, but I'm not going to push through that fear until I find the inner strength to do so.

Makes giving advice seem kind of pointless, doesn't it? Well, not necessarily. We're all human and we're all learning and growing together. Nobody ever gets life all figured out and there will always be more insights to be reached and realizations to be had. With that said, we're all different. We all have different opinions and beliefs. Some people may feel empowered by self-help articles, while others may fall asleep while reading them. Some people may hear and absorb life changing advice, while others may figure things out for themselves.

I'm not saying that I've never been emotionally moved or inspired by someone else's story or nugget of wisdom. I have. Countless times. I've heard from people and read books and articles that really made me look within myself and mull over what they had to say. But after all that mulling, I'm still the one who has to make the change. No one else can do that for me. I believe that self-empowerment is the most powerful kind of empowerment of all. Real change comes from the inside. You can look to other people and read self-help articles/books all day long, but at the end of the day, your life is still your life and you are the only one who can change what needs to be changed.

Advice helps. Wisdom helps. Compassionate, understanding people help. But that's the thing. They only help. Only you get to decide what you want or need to change in your own life. You need to have your own epiphanies and figure out what works for you as an individual.

<3 Madison

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 2

"I was rarely sure I liked myself, but I was certain I loved myself when I gutted myself onstage and filled the hole with a fictional character. Also: everyone else knew that I came to New York to become someone. I felt desperate to succeed on a massive scale---to take that small bit of joy I felt while in a costume and pump it into an aura of greatness that everyone could see, admire, and respect. 

Going to New York was easy; doing something when I got there, not so much. If I pursued my purpose and failed, I'd have to acknowledge that I wasn't good enough to do what I was meant to do, and worse yet, I'd confirm what I assumed to be my family members' suspicions: that I was inadequate and a horrible disappointment."

I relate to every word of this passage except for the part about going to New York, considering I've never even been. (But I want to visit so bad!!!)

I used to act before I started writing. Well actually, I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but I acted before writing became my first and foremost passion to pursue. And reading this particular part of the book literally made my jaw drop because I realized that I pursued acting for the same exact reasons as Lori. First, I wanted to do something big. I wanted to be the next Dakota Fanning. (Isn't she rad?) And second, acting was an escape from myself. Being a fictional character was easier than being the awkward, lame girl that I considered myself to be in middle school. I always thought of acting as an escape. I could shed my skin and get into the skin of someone else. That was my talent---being comfortable with being anyone other than myself.

But don't get me wrong! I really loved acting and it was my way of expressing myself and coming out of my shell. I only realized later when the interest dwindled (as most of my interests often did), the deeper reason why I loved it so much. It was because I loved having permission to be someone else for a day or an hour or however long my character lasted.

And I also relate to what Lori said about her fear of failing and confirming what she assumed to be her family members' suspicions: that she was inadequate and a horrible disappointment. I have to be honest. I still have that fear. I had it when I wanted to be an actress and I have it now that I want to be a writer. It's not this intense, crippling fear that keeps me from pursuing that dream, but there is this subconscious thought in the back of my mind that my family thinks I'll fail and be of no importance as the years of my life continue to pass me by.

We all want to feel supported and accepted by our families, but unfortunately, that's just not always the case. What I've learned is that if someone truly loves you, they will support you no matter what. They won't make you feel inadequate. They won't assume that you're going to fail at everything you do in life. They will fully embrace you just as you are, dreams and all. They will be your biggest fans.

So with that said, I try my best to limit the amount of time I spend with people who make me feel bad about myself, whether it's intentional or not. I get my feelings hurt very easily and if I were to constantly spend time with people who made me feel bad, I'd still be depressed and not wanting to try or pursue anything because nothing would ever feel good enough.

So I guess that's all I wanted to share today. I wanted to explain how this excerpt was so relevant to me and also to remind you to know the difference between who really supports you and who doesn't. It feels amazing to only listen to people who encourage me and compliment my writing, both online and offline.

And just for the record...You are good enough and I will support you if no one else will.

<3 Madison

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tiny Buddha book discussion: Day 1

"Of all the burdens I've carried around, the heaviest was the belief that I was wrong to be hurting---that enlightened people felt pain like a raindrop on their shoe, whereas I let it hit me like a self-contained tsunami because I was tragically weak. I felt certain I had to either hide or package myself in smiles and lies---otherwise I'd expose the ugliest flaw in my character. I've come to realize that the only mistake when it comes to pain is to assume life shouldn't involve it and that pain often starts to dull when I decide to embrace it, acknowledge it, and grow from it. Sadness, fear, disgust, and even anger can make the world a better place if we find the strength to channel them toward something good. 

Why is there suffering in the world? Because there is---the more important question is: what good can we do for ourselves and each other knowing that pain to be inevitable?"

I love this excerpt and it really resonates with me a lot. If you read my latest Tiny Buddha post, you'll see that I start it off by saying that I'm a very emotional person who feels things about ten times more intensely than the "average person." Several people have been writing me saying that they're very emotional too, so that definitely made me feel less alone.

On the other hand, a few people have said that simple breathing exercises can change how you feel and that the only person making you feel the way you do is you. I agree with that to a certain extent, but not completely. Like Lori said in the excerpt above, no one should assume that they're wrong to be hurting. In other words, they shouldn't feel like it's all their fault and they're bringing it upon themselves. When I'm upset, I can very rarely just take a few deep breaths and then be happy as a clam. I need to let myself go through it and feel it and understand it all. Because pain is inevitable. We all feel it. Even those people who say "just breathe and choose to be happy instead."

And on the part about channeling negative emotions into something good, I have always done that by writing. But there are an endless number of ways to channel your pain into something good. Art, music, sports, the list could go on and on. I keep a journal, I write lyrics, and of course, I have this blog. Whenever I need to get something out in front of me, I just start writing. That's my way of channeling negative energy into something I can be proud of.

I still make the mistake of hiding my emotions sometimes. I still find myself smothering my pain in ice cream and chick flicks sometimes too. But whenever that happens, I just have to remind myself that that pain will continue to sit inside of me until I acknowledge it. So I've gotten better at admitting my true feelings to myself. If I could just get better at communicating, I would be good to go...

<3 Madison

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Tiny Buddha guest post!

I did it again, you guys! My new Tiny Buddha article is up today and it's about something that I often struggle with and have to remind myself of sometimes. I wrote it just as much for myself as I did for other people. It's all about feelings and giving yourself permission to feel them and let them run their natural course.

Here it is! http://tinybuddha.com/blog/4-steps-to-address-how-you-really-feel/ 

And speaking of Tiny Buddha, I finished reading Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions the other day and I must agree with everyone else when they say that it is a little book with big wisdom. I went through it with a highlighter and highlighted everything I found inspiring, everything I could relate to, and everything that I feel I need to work on or apply in my life. It's pretty amazing how much Lori Deschene and I have in common. I found myself thinking, "No way! Me too!" more times than I can count. And she is so loving and wise beyond her years. I really look up to her a lot.

So with that said, I would like to announce that starting Monday, I am going to share a different excerpt or quote that I highlighted from the book every day for one whole week. And underneath it, I will share my own thoughts or stories associated with it. So every day next week, check back here for the excerpt of the day followed by my thoughts. Because that book is like something you would bring to a discussion group about life and since I am not a part of a discussion group about life, I will just discuss my insights right here on this handy dandy blog.

If I were to miss a day for some reason (Get hit by a bus, laptop explodes, internet crashes), I will make up for it as soon as possible.

As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my new article!

<3 Madison

p.s. ~ You can learn more about/find out how you can order Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions here: http://www.tinybuddhabook.com/ Do iiit :-)