Madison MacGregor
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Syria

Tribe / Dec 15, 2016 / 0 Comments

As I scroll through my twitter feed, I find the hashtag #Aleppo.

I cannot begin to fathom how unfair this is. I am completely uneducated with respect to these things, but I can’t help but feel my heart ache for humanity. How is it even fair that I am safe, in the warmth of my home, while at the very same moment, children my age are stripped of safety, education, healthcare. That at this very moment children my age are losing families. They are losing uncles and brothers, and sisters and aunts. Grandparents. Cousins. Mothers and fathers. And they are being killed.

I watched an informative Global TV report of comparing Aleppo to Toronto. I encourage you to watch it. I came across a fund for White Helmets (part of the UN) that are saving lives. 100% of donations go towards helping rescue workers.  Donate in any way you can they need our help. 

I’m trying to find ways to help in any way I can. And while I don’t know all the details of what is happening, I do know that this is wrong and it is not fair. This reminds me of books about the Holocaust – a time before I was born and of unfathomable horror. But the war crimes in Aleppo, this is happening in my life time, at this very moment. We may not have had the same resources of information and connectivity in the 1940’s during the Holocaust, but we have those resources now. And we have to act upon them! Please, please, please help these people in need. And comment and share as much as you can with others about how they can help. If you have any more ways of helping, please let me know and share with others.

Now, more than ever, people need our help. With great privilege and power come great responsibility, and it is our great privilege to live the way we do, and that privilege is our responsibility to help those less fortunate than ourselves – those who are experiencing great injustice.

It is our obligation to do what we can.

Please help our brothers and sisters in Syria. They need us right now.

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.)

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.

Mental Showers….

In the process of bringing some of my visions to life, I have come to learn a lot about the creative process, and about patience…

I recently read this incredible book called Mach II With Your Hair On Fire, the power of visualization and motivation.

I was blown away!

When I danced, I would always visualize the outcome I desired- and incredibly I would always acScreen Shot 2015-05-20 at 1.59.20 PMhieve the result I was after. I can vividly remember one dance competition that I performed at, I had visualized my solo performance weeks before, creating my “mind movie” of how I wanted to perform and feel, I can still see it and feel it in my minds eye to this day. It was the best performance I had ever personally done as a soloist. It really proved to me the power of visualization, and that as soon as I decided that this was the way things were gonna happen, they turned out even better.

Now with my new entrepreneurial venture, I am trying to apply the same determination, and visualization techniques. It is tough. Some days I feel super motivated, like I am making progress, and other days I feel like I am getting nowhere. I am trying to master consistency, resilience and perseverance. To be a real, true visionary that is unmoved by any “failure” or “set back” or “doubt”- to keep pushing forward towards what I want regardless- it is what I did with dance, and now am doing with this.

Entrepreneurialism is a whole other kind of game than dance. With this journey, it is one that I have to create myself. There is no guidebook, no steps, and no rules. Which can have positive and negative benefits. I have to create my path, blaze a new trail, and learn as I go.

I know, like with anything worth pursuing, it will take perseverance, and dedication. What I have learned is that the one thing that will pull me or anyone through is our vision- the certainty that this is going to happen no matter what, and that it already is happening.

Another technique in visualization is experiencing the vision or becoming it before it officially “happens”. Visions are achieved in the mind first before they are achieved in reality. Experiencing it as if it is already happening is how we fill the gap between where we are to where we want to be, or who we are to who we want to be.

An easy example of this would be someone who wants to lose weight. This person sees, feels themselves as they would be at their target weight; how they are feeling, what they are doing. They will say “I weigh ______ pounds/kg, and I look and feel amazing. I love the way I look and feel and everyone agrees. I love my energy, vitality, and exuberance. My life is so full of health and happiness and I love it.”

Telling ourselves our vision as the present tricks our brain into thinking it is already happening, therefore this “vision” becomes an expectation, instead of a goal- or something far away that isn’t there yet.

This is the best way to fill the gap of where we are or who we are to who we want to be.

Visualization is something that has to be experienced daily; I refer to it like take a “mental shower”. We don’t just take a shower once and expect ourselves to be clean for the rest of our lives. We have to shower consistently, on a daily basis, to stay clean. It is exactly the same with visualization. To become or create what we want (like how we shower to get what we want-which is cleanliness) we have to experience and pursue it on a daily basis.

I hope that this provides some new insights on how visualization can be used to create what you may want, and be a new part of your daily care regime-like taking a shower, to help improve your mental, and emotional wellbeing.

Wishing you a great Wednesday,

Madison