Madison MacGregor

Think About It

Teaching myself how to think, not what to think, has been an interesting process thus far.

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Photo by my wonderful friend Zenon Zubyk – you can check out his work here

I am immersed in a different kind of education, where I’m not learning how to “mindlessly” regurgitate information, but instead to process “out-of-the-box” ideas in order to formulate my own way of thinking. To think on purpose. To chose who and how I want to be, and to always make sure that it is in line with my goal of doing work that matters. 

At this age and stage, I’ve realized that what I consume (everything from what I watch to what I read, etc) influences me, but it doesn’t have power over me. I do not aspire to be other people, but I am certainly inspired by other people. I’ve reached a point where I am recognizing the dis-empowering narratives that have played in my head and how they no longer serve me. I am deconstructing them…and re-writing them in a way that is in tune with the truth which is empowering. This is allowing me to move towards my long term vision for the change I want to make in this world.

Letting go of these stories is like flying through the air without landing yet. It’s new, at times it’s scary, but it’s incredibly empowering to be in this learning stage… I know that my destination is worth it.

There is an interesting talk from Jill Bolte Taylor about the Teenage brain, neuroplasticity, and why now, more than ever, at this time in our lives is the time to develop our brains, and ways of thinking, to create a better world, to do work that matters, and to live happily as a result.

Are you choosing how you want to think or are you simply accepting what to think?

Happy Wednesday,

Best,

Madison

(PS My favourite reads and watches right now are from Seth Godin, you can check out his blog here, and one of his many books here.)

My Big Secret

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My big secret was Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It is a genetic disorder, causing mucus build up in my lungs and pancreas, and a slew of other implications. I was born with it, it was not something I wanted, chose, or accepted. I would deny it at all costs.

CF was something I was ashamed of. I would either hide it or lie about it to keep me from feeling like I was different or not as capable. It was especially difficult for me to come to terms with my health condition when I was a teen, dancing competitively.

I wanted to be able to achieve the level of skill my classmates had, and I didn’t want anyone to deprive me or doubt me when given opportunities. I didn’t want to deal with CF, so I skipped it. I denied it. When I had to do my physiotherapy, I either didn’t do it, or I didn’t do it effectively. I developed a cough, that became an infection in my lungs, that if not treated, over time, would have meant I would not be able to breath.

 

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It’s surprising I was able to go as long as I did without doing my physiotherapy properly. I wound up in the hospital for two weeks at two points in my life. Once when I was 12 (pictured above) and another when I was 15 (pictured below).

When I was in hospital at 15 years of age, I was taking three different medications, hooked up to an I.V. two weeks before my nationals dance competition that took place in NYC. I had prepared for it all year. I would only be released from the hospital, and able to continue my treatment from home so I could return to dance rehearsals, if my lung function was up over 80%. I had a 69%, and four days to prove I was healthy enough to go home. I got my lung function up to 90%, with the help of a physiotherapist, my mom, my doctors and doing physiotherapy on my lungs three times a day (yay!).

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I had a PICC line inserted in my arm which allowed me to detach from my IV and practice my dancing. At that point in my life, dance was the only thing I could feel normal doing. No one saw me as the kid with CF, they just saw a dancer.

Now my two worlds were colliding. I couldn’t keep it a secret anymore when I showed up at dance with a PICC line in my arm. I had to face the truth: I was in desperate need of care, all because I hadn’t taken proper care of myself, and it was because I had Cystic Fibrosis, something I didn’t really want to face.

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I had to face the truth. It took me a long time to come to terms with it, but I realize now, looking back, that had I faced it sooner, I would have been much kinder to myself, healthier and I would have enjoyed a better quality of life and relationships. The truth pissed me off, but it also, ultimately, set me free.
Today I am healthy, I am managing my CF, and I see CF as an opportunity to show what is possible. I can contribute to the lives of Cystic Fibrosis patients, raise money and awareness to fund a cure – that we must find in my lifetime. I can play a meaningful role in helping to create change, raise awareness and funds, rather than be a victim to the truth. I’ve learned to break through, instead of break down, when faced with truth. That acceptance is only the first step towards change.
I know that from time to time, you are faced with challenges too. We all are, even though it feels like we are alone and the challenges we face aren’t always obvious on the outside.
I’ve learned to have empathy for challenges and the kindness that is possible when we open ourselves up and commit to breaking through them. I’m not above or below my health challenges, I am right in the middle of them. I am looking at them, eye-to-eye, finding peace for myself, my condition, and moving into grace and respect for all that it has contributed to making me who I am today, and for all that I have yet to impact and accomplish, despite it. There is too much life in you to allow ANY single challenge to stop you from living life to the full!
Cheering us all on!!
With love,
Madison xo

Feelings

Uncategorized / Jan 25, 2018 / 0 Comments

Teenagers have amplified emotion when we are together. If I’m at a dinner table and I feel passionate, sooner or later that passion will be amplified by the passion of the person I am with. It is a gift to have the feelings we do. It is a beautiful thing to feel, we can start to take responsibility for the passion inside of us. To see it as ours, and to share it and express it and own it. Because passion unexpressed dies. That emotion is what it is to be alive, not just to be here.

Being moved by the emotion inside of us, by what we feel in our heart and in our soul, we sometimes take for granted. We get so familiar with our passion that we forget to feed it, appreciate it, and let it rise to the surface from deep within our core all the time, every day.

Every thought, word and action we take is creating our reality, do we want to live with passion or not even know what it feels like to truly be alive all the time?

Happy Thursday Feelings,

Madison

Us

EducationTribe / Jan 21, 2018 / 0 Comments

I want to live in a world where we no longer fear one another. Where love is something we have, not just within ourselves but in society: our homes, classrooms, communities. Where we treat each other with the trust, love and support we need to thrive.

I have learned that when I own my flaws, that I am not perfect and that I messed up, I am still able to feel good about myself. That allowing me to be me at my best, allows others to be themselves at their best. That if I change my thinking, to not only think about you and me but also about us, I can make better decisions. That us encompasses the human race, and that if what I do or say is good for us, it is good for me too.

It’s important to remember what is worth protecting, and I’m starting with us.

#Thoughts,

Madison x

Procrastinate

EducationUncategorized / Jan 12, 2018 / 1 Comments

Procrastination is inevitable. Here are my top 3 ways to procrastinate that leave me feeling better, not worse, when I get back to my work:

  1. Listen, watch, or read something that inspires you.
  2. Talk to someone who loves you – a friend, family member, who ever is your #1 cheerleader.
  3. Listen, watch or read something you are curious about – feed your curiosity.

Next time you feel the urge to procrastinate, don’t stop yourself. Set a timer for how long you want to procrastinate (for me it is 30 minutes max) and get going!

How about procrastination become more playful, instead of painful?

Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison x

First Thought of 2018

92F949A7-C3F3-4A7F-A1ED-9F156D3ECD78.jpegIt impresses me that two things can exist at one time. Being totally different and totally similar. Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who explores freedom and security in relationships as well as love and desire, has inspired me. Not only has she introduced the philosophy of our quality of life being the quality of our relationships, but also she has created a new space for thinking differently.

Happy Thursday Thoughts and Happy New Year,

Madison x

 

 

Growing Up

Browsing through the archives, found this poem I wrote from 5 years ago about graduating middle school! :

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Art project from 2012

What I Wonder (poem):
We don’t know what the future will hold,
Will we be the same, or be more brave, or bold?
Will we be the same as we were before,
Or very different from ten years ago,
Some of us think we have it all figured out,
Planned to a tee, knowing it inside and out,
But these plans will eventually change,
Not one person will ever stay the same,
The memories and moments we carry with us through our lives,
Are the ones that change us forever through time,
We all are moving on, and forward and beyond,
We may not see each other ever again, now strangers but once good friends,
Names to faces, dates to ages,
We may be forgotten, but our memories won’t change,
Things we will carry with us for the rest of our days,
Where will we be, we don’t know
Good bye Bristol, we will miss you the most.
Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison

Joy

I have taken time to reflect on the immense support, family and friendship I have been given this year. So many new and old friends continue to inspire me everyday. Cheers to a month (or maybe more) of celebration and giving thanks. It is so exciting to be able to learn and grow from every person that has come into my life. In the words of Michelle Ventor,

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” 

Tis the season for celebration!

Happy Thursday Thoughts,

Madison