Madison MacGregor
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Education

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

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

 

 

Thankful Thoughts

Taking time to be grateful today.

Thank you for reading my content and for subscribing to this blog! I believe that I can use this platform to show how wonderful life can be when we take time to look and reflect on the moments that make up our lives. Thanksgiving… this weekend…this day, is a big moment. You are alive!

Reflecting today on what I have been given, one thing jumps out. My mom has worked so hard to provide the lifestyle she wanted to live for her children, her family and her own soul.  My mom’s story is below:

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“One of my dear friends sent me a copy of this picture with the quote below, to inspire me while I was still working at my full time job, hustling my side-gig evenings and weekends to gain back TIME FREEDOM in my life!!! “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

I printed a small version of this, with the quote, that I hung in my office beside my computer. I looked at his face and read that quote EVERY SINGLE DAY. I stayed hungry and motivated by the LIFE I was determined to create for myself, my family and as many awesome people as I could support as possible-who were looking to create change too…to “stop wasting their time living someone else’s life!” No coincidence that THE DAY I randomly see this giant sized picture hanging in a hotel on my way to visit a friend – I happen to be wearing the classic Steve Jobs attire – black turtleneck. An inspiration, even after he is gone!!! I meet so many people who want MORE for themselves but they’re so STUCK in their own FEAR! Letting the ‘noise of others’ opinions drown out their own inner voice.’ It actually breaks my heart – because time IS limited and we need more people who have the courage to follow their heart and intuition. So grateful I followed mine-even when it arrived in a very different package than I thought-it has lead me to the life I dreamed of. I am committed to supporting as many people as I possibly can in this lifetime to help live their version of life by design! Because every minute of the hustle and pushing through the fear to live a life of PROGRESS on your terms is BEYOND worth it!!!” – Kim MacGregor

I am grateful for my mother’s example. Thankful for what she has given me and our entire family.

Happy Thanks-Giving!

Thankful for you!

Madison

 

Vulnerability

Every time I try to hide flaws, I fail.

And by fail, I mean learn. Failure is not the end, it is only the beginning of something new…so I’ve learned in 18 years of living my life.

I stopped writing this blog because I was embarrassed. I would read over my comments, from two or so years ago and didn’t want to revisit those posts again.

I have taken up new endeavours since then, started a new project (stay tuned…), finished a second season on Backstage (that is out on US Netflix BTW and Family Channel in Canada this November!!!!), graduated high school (YAY!) and am realizing that running away from vulnerability has brought me right back to where I started. Here. Writing this blog.

In this past year, I have learned that the most important thing is to BE vulnerable. Whatever makes you feel embarrassed, or you feel a resistance towards (which is very different than a gut feeling about what is right or wrong for you) are the very things that make you human and in a way, special. That vulnerability makes others look up and notice you and see you for what you really are.

We connect through vulnerability, it is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves. 

I had always been embarrassed about being myself… I’d tense up in social situations or feel the need to change because I feared what people thought. At the same time, I have always been a very confident person with a strong sense of who I am (and who I am NOT). In moments of vulnerability, I had resisted the urge to step up and be myself…

The very thing that makes you feel embarrassed is the very thing you need to do and face every day.

There’s a saying that goes, “What we resist, persists...” And it is true for being our selves.

Being yourself is brave. 

It is easy to be like everyone else. It is hard to be yourself.

Think about those contestants we see, up on that stage, in talent shows on TV or even in your own school. They are being completely vulnerable up there. Sometimes they succeed (or win), sometimes they fail (or lose). But the most important thing was that they were up there. Being themselves for everyone to see…

being yourself does not guarantee success in the outside world all the time, but you can guarantee it gives you inner success, happiness, with yourself.

Be more of YOU. Who ever and whatever that is. It is not easy, but it is worth it!

I am choosing to be true to myself, even though the outer world doesn’t always reciprocate back to me in a positive way when I make that choice. I am open to learning, but I am not willing to give up who I am for short term outer rewards, that in the long term mean nothing to my self worth.

No matter what….we are ALL faced with challenges. We all fail, and have the potential to learn, grow and be happy with ourselves. But that doesn’t happen before we step into our “embarrassment zone.”

Before I performed my dance routine I would tell myself “There’s no hiding on stage.” Going on stage was just what I needed to step into my “embarrassment zone” and it was where I felt the most alive (the thought of it was much scarier than actually doing it!) We can not only think of an actual stage as the place to be our most vulnerable selves, but can think of life as a stage as well. Providing us the opportunity to step into our own, every moment of everyday.

Push yourself, put in the effort and know that being yourself is the best choice you could ever make!

Step into that vulnerability, use your “voice”, and allow learning, sometimes thought of as failure, to guide the way; it is all a part of living!

Have an awesome Thursday,

Madison

 

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