Madison MacGregor
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Life By Design

Thursday Thoughts

“Run your own race.”

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Madison aged 10 with her 5th Grade 1st Place Cross-Country Ribbon

 

This past (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend my sisters and I decided to go for a run (something we never do). I tied up my shoes, walked out the door, and found myself exhausted at the first thirty seconds (of what would be 10 minutes) of running. Elle, my younger sister, was ahead of Ava, my other sister. (Ava and Elle are twins). I was running and felt tired. “Why am I so tired?” I asked myself privately…. aside from the fact that I was running, something else was weighing me down. “Alright Mads, pace yourself, take your time,” I said, as Elle got further and further ahead of me.

I was comparing this run to my cross-country running experiences from grade five to grade eight. I had trained multiple times a week and was winning 1st, 2nd and even 13th place at school events. “Why am I so slow?” I thought again. Then, as I turned a corner on our street, the phrase “Run your own race” popped into my mind.

I stopped focusing on Elle and instead on the finish line ahead. This time, when Elle passed me, I stayed my course. I focused on the stop sign ahead. I ran harder than ever and almost caught up to Elle.

Beating Elle wasn’t my goal anymore, it was to now run my own race.

Happy #ThursdayThoughts,

Madison x

 

SCARY

After a great response on my last blog (link here)I feared the next one. “Will it be good enough? How could I beat that?”

I wanted to hide and make sure nothing else got out that wasn’t at that caliber…..

I was scared and I wanted to play it safe.

Just so you know: playing it safe is what feels natural. It comes from that part of our brain that wants safety and certainty (that part of our brain is called the amygdala – you can learn more about how it works here in Seth Godin’s blog).

Ironically, what I actually need to be doing is work that is unsafe and uncertain, with no guarantee for success. Playing it unsafe is about leaving all possible places to hide and exploring the unfamiliar place of unsafe, uncertain and completely unprotected.

That place feels scary….but we need to be there in order to discover the thrill of doing the stuff we need (and deep down actually want) to be doing. Because there, and only there, will we really know what we are capable of.

Are you feeling the fear and choosing to do it anyway?

I hope you had a great Thursday,

Lots of Love,

Madison

 

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.)

Hooked On A Feeling

I have all of these thoughts and ideas in my head and I just need to get them out. When I start writing, I realize how much there needs to be shared. So many ideas and things swirling around in my brain.

As a young person, I am in a phase in my life where I am learning constantly and everyday feels like a new breakthrough – and a new epiphany.

Every day for me feels like “Eureka!”Okay, maybe not everyday but most days – even the most frustrating days have potential for (and usually become) my biggest Eurekas.

Every moment can become a Eureka moment.

Looking at our challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles helps with this.

I believe that in order to have more Eureka moments we need to expose our minds to more Eureka “possibilities.”

Here’s what I mean: reading, watching, interacting with stuff that makes us grow, that disrupts our point of view, stretches our mind, our creativity, that fills our minds with questions, that gives us something to create or channel our energy into or inspires us, and helps us think better.

This could be anything from music, to a place downtown, to walking in nature, to YouTube videos, books, magazines, movies, places (for me it’s Indigo book store at the mall) to expressing ourselves through song, poetry, dance, music, art, sculpting, building things, fashion, sports, writing, leading a group, helping others, giving back to a community/group of people, creating something with others, etc, etc, etc, etc….

Our minds are like empty containers. Do we want to fill them with rotting garbage or do we want to fill them with incredible things? We have the choice.

We all have access to information. Luckily, we also have the freedom to pick what information we want to access.

I’m totally guilty of instagram binges, and going deep down the twitter hole – a meaningless abyss of tweets. I’m just as guilty of listening to an amazing song and feeling totally energized. It just happened to me last night.
In my house, we call it the “witching hour. For some reason, a lot of times, I start to feel kind of “down” past 11:00 pm. I get all down and sad about things, all midnight bluesy. img_8427
Ironically its also a time where I come up with a lot of really great ideas…but that’s beside the point. Anyway, I was talking to my dad about something that had been on my mind and I felt badly about it. After our talk, I didn’t really feel much better – but then I told him about the new Guardians of The Galaxy trailer and how I was so excited to see it and that’s when the trailer song popped into my mind. I asked my dad the song (since it was from a time before I was born #retro ) and he said he didn’t know. Next thing I know, I’m brushing my teeth and “IIIIII’m hooked on a feeling” starts blasting from my dad’s computer and my mood instantly shifts. All of a sudden I could see all the highlights of my life fly by…all the beliefs in my dreams restored. It was very dramatic in the best way possible! I was ready to go. I continued to play that song another 20 times that night, and went to sleep happier than I’d been in a long time.

I filled my mind with a great song. And in turn had great thoughts. Which led to a great night.

Bottom line, listen to what you love – whether it be a song, video, book…whatever.

I love filling my container with great stuff, it makes me feel pretty darn good.

Fill up on good stuff. Its good for you 🙂

I hope this post served you,

Wishing you a great day!

Madison x

Heres the song “Hooked on a Feeling”

Being Brave is…well…Brave

It’s been a while since I have shared anything with you guys. I thought that this is something worth sharing.

Last night I watched a TED Talk about how society conditions boys and girls differently. They pointed out that boys are rewarded for bravery more than girls, where girls are rewarded for perfection more than boys. As a perfectionist myself, I have felt the pressure to be perfect. In school, in my career, in life in general. I think social media plays a big part for my generation. With Instagram, we look at an edited/highlighted reel of each person’s life. We never see the bad days, or the tough times. We don’t see the challenges people are going through, their failures, their near-wins. Geez often we don’t even see the “real” unedited person. With this absent, it’s easy to assume that just about anyone – other than ourselves is perfect – making us feel that something is wrong with us.

Pictured below are two photos of me-my “highlight-reel” and my “real-reel.” The one on the left was on set of a photoshoot. The one to the right is me at home today (post-photoshoot). 

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The TED Talk went on to discuss a specific example about how young girls and boys learn to code. One of the teachers pointed out that when a student was having difficulty with coding, there were two common responses:

  1. I’m having a tough time with this – something must be wrong with this program/computer (usually the “boys” response).
  2. I’m having a tough time with this – something must be wrong with me (usually the “girls” response).

I think this example relates to my own life at times.  When things aren’t going how I’d like them to and I’m having a tough time – I often think something is wrong with me! Other times, I blame it on the other thing – this must not work! I had a dilemma like this recently. I was caught between figuring out if “I” was the problem or “it” was the problem. It kept me up at night and caused me weeks of stress and anxiety.

At the end of the day – it was a bit of both. I had to change my attitude. I also had to recognize that this thing was new to me, and I needed to adapt in order to find a way of doing it that worked for me. Have you ever had that feeling that you have to be PERFECT at something – even when it is NEW and unfamiliar to you?

Once I came to peace with this and embraced the uncertainty of the situation – I had a break through! I had a great attitude, made progress and…. I actually had fun, enjoyed myself and had a good time. I turned a stressful-anxiety-ridden situation, into an amazing experience that felt empowering because I was celebrating my “progress” instead of beating myself up for not being “perfect.”

I just did it! I chose bravery over perfection! And it was exhilarating!

Once I let go of frustration and worry, and stepped into accepting that I didn’t have to be perfect – I actually achieved what I wanted…which was progress, not perfection.

 (and by the way, perfection is UNATTAINABLE.  If something is unattainable, it isn’t worth your time or energy. However, aiming for progress, is VERY ATTAINABLE – which means it’s totally worth your time and energy and it’s good for you!

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I would like to hear your thoughts on times you chose bravery over perfection and what happened?

I hope that this post served you.

Warm regards,

Madison XO??

Also wanted to share a great song for believing in yourself,

Hooked on A Feeling:

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(its from the soundtrack of one of my favorite MARVEL movies – Guardians of The Galaxy – who’s excited for the second movie coming out this spring?! I know I am 🙂

 

 

 

Enjoy the Journey

This is the time when things really change, where I begin to grow up, thus the teen-age.

Us teen agers….

 

We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders, amongst our growing pains – feeling heavy in many ways.

Although I do tread with a heavy heart and cluttered mind at times, I see a huge opportunity before me.

I see it can become better this journey we are on – the people and the planet working together.

It’s not a mountain I must move, but small steps I must take, up the mountain and beyond – together this journey can be really great. United in our belief in a better world – we take this in our stride. And in this process we begin to see each other change. We grow and give more and more each and every day. Now we realize this destination, the top of the mountain we were going for, is much less grand than the journey we’ve had and all we have yet to explore.

Join the journey here.

Find Your Voice

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9 year old me speaking at an art gallery fundraiser called “Faces of Hope” – click here to hear the Power of the Spoken Word

Find your voice…

I have always heard it, but never truly understood it until now.

My voice is one of complexity- it is one that communicates many emotions and ideas and values and beliefs. The many voices I hear, the unspoken messages I’ve received and the feelings I have felt and feel all combust into one single sound.

I have come to understand the metaphysical range and complexity of my voice. I have my visual art voice (communicating via colour, texture, imagery) which is very different than my dance voice (where I communicate through my body and movement), I even have my mentor voice and my student voice. I have my friend voice and I have my dramatic performance voice. I even have a Twitter voice and a blogging voice. All these different messages communicating and expressing themselves in different ways through me.

This is powerful.

I have come to realize that my voice cannot be cookie cut and filtered but instead must be custom tailored to each situation and audience I am speaking to. My voice is my vessel of connection, the way in which I can synchronize my soul with another. If not synchronize, then deeply touch and if not that, at least share.

My voice is one amongst the millions of voices of my generation.

Together we are clearer and our voice will take form when our belief in a better world and life is realized and united.

We have this gift, this unique gift and so many ways of giving it to the world.

Share that gift of yours, it just might change the world.

Share your voice, join the movement