#YEG Secular Sundays Announced

1322 Relax and Succeed - In every walk with nature

I had previously noted that my schedule in caring for my parents leaves me with too little time to engage in nature with like-minded souls. In order to resolve this and simultaneously do something worthwhile in the world, I am experimenting with Secular Sundays, a way for the non-religious to still have a gathering for spiritual purposes, in the greatest temple ever created: nature.

Barring emergencies, the #YEG Secular Sunday Walks will commence in Edmonton, AB at 11am on Sunday July 7th. If you would like to know which path we’re walking any given week, please just drop me a note at scottis@relaxandsucceed.com.

Depending on how many of us there are, I may begin the walk with a brief talk. After that, people are welcome to walk with me to ask questions, and there may in fact be former students who’ve lived this way for some time who also can likely answer some questions. At the very least, everyone will be people who love the subject matter.

If you’re looking to grow spiritually, and if you want to get out, get some exercise but not be strained, and if you would like the company of others that have similar values regarding cooperation, compassion, empathy, respect and love, then this might be just the walking group for you.

peace, s

Secular Sundays: Souls in Nature

1312 Relax and Succeed - Nature is generous to the soul

Time together in nature. It’s good for us if we’re able to achieve it. Our souls know the sky. And it’s a very nice temple to walk in.

Whether it’s what we eat, or how and when and with whom we eat it, or if it’s walks outside or time with a book, we must ensure that we are not expecting our minds to compensate for a life that is drastically out of a balance in terms of expenditures of energy versus opportunities for rejuvenation.

I too am expending a lot of life energy in balancing many serious responsibilities so I can relate to the need to find opportunities to actively cultivate peace. As hard as it can be at times, we all must make room to rest or else everything will become even more stressful.

Rest is not a selfish luxury of ego; that’s called sloth. That’s what we do when we deny the world our love and capability. Contrary to that, rest is what a healthy mind needs to sustain its hold on equanimity and enthusiasm for life.

To that end, for those readers who are located in Edmonton, I am looking at doing Sunday walks that would be around various trails in the city, with the walks built around the idea of shared experience with our natural world. These might be 90 minutes in length, with maybe 20-30 minutes spent lingering here or there before or after for some discussion. It will be very informal.

Depending on whether there’s just a few of us or more, maybe a short talk might start the process, but it would be more to walk and Be together, and maybe I can answer some questions along the way.

I suspect they would start some time in June. If you’re in Edmonton and would like to be part of these proposed Sunday spiritual walks, send me an email to the address below and on the first Sunday that I start the walks I will let you know where we can meet to begin.


Whether there are many or I pick the wrong week and end up walking alone, even if only for a short time, I am very much looking forward to getting back into Edmonton’s forest system to reconnect with all that is around us. Maybe I’ll see you there. Happy trails.

peace, s

Thank you!

1281 Relax and Succeed - Are you curious as to what people lined up onI would like to begin by thanking you all for the very warm welcome back. You caught me a bit off guard; I had been so focused on what I had to do that failed to consider external reactions along the way.

I’d also like to thank you for your impressions, ideas, needs and hopes. In one way or another I will attempt to give each person who commented some form of answer in the blogs in whatever form they ultimately take. What I really appreciated was that you all described your perspectives quite well and your requests were very interesting.
Are you curious as to what people lined up on?

I was floating the idea of the assignments because those had been extremely popular in the past, but I was also aware of one thing: the world has changed a huge amount in a short period of time. Everyone today feels overloaded.

Work is filled with constant upgrade courses, getting customer service on anything takes forever, everyone’s stressed polarized and more inclined to be rude, and the gig economy has people working all hours for too little insecure income, and life in general is seen as simply far too busy.

Phones are now largely seen as quite unpleasant things by anyone with a serious and responsible full time job. It’s more like a leash, or a cattle prod. Or a procrastination drug. So who wants some assignments on top of all of that? A few people, but most would like something more open. And more positive.

Negativity and argument were big themes. People are exhausted through simple exposure to such rampant negativity. The reading of the blog itself can act as relief to a small degree, but people were looking for non-assignment-based ideas about how they can practically impact their lives to generate a more positive –and dare I say– fun environment. I can relate to that desire, so that definitely helps the writing.

So it appears that rather than a plotted plan like an assignment structure, we will end up with something more free-flowing and open to evolution, but it’s thrust will be positivity and practicality. That works perfectly, because this is not only my blog, it’s also me working out parts of an upcoming book and those are the themes. The reason we likely lined up on what we feel pulled toward is that many of us are all experiencing the same sensations.

No matter what ‘sides’ they are on, people are tired of watching society render itself into individual pieces. Rather than just wallowing in negativity most of us want something more active and positive to rally ourselves and others around. We all want direction on how to make an effective, long term positive difference in our lives lives and the lives around us. That’s it in a nutshell.

1281 Relax and Succeed - People want direction on how to makeSo now that we know what it’s about, I want to discuss its frequency. I really have no idea how easy it could ultimately be on each weekday as before, but even under current conditions that might be doable if the pieces are a bit shorter. It depends on a lot of unrelated things. At the same time, I may find I only have time for one piece a week on a general theme and one on caregiving and what can be learned about ourselves from that. Even non-caregivers can learn about life from the latter.

We’ll have to wait and see what we end up with, but I enjoy bringing value to your lives so I’ll do the best I can.

Finally, if you’re a man reading this, I think it’s worthwhile noting that a very large percentage of the communication I had on the issue of how to focus the blog, surrounded the problem of very negative husbands who made home-life a constant angry discourse on what is wrong with the world.

We all feel that way sometimes so I’m sure the spouses can relate. But when almost every woman writes with the same issue, regardless of what part of the world they live in, then we as guys simply have to accept that it’s possible that the ways our brains are naturally wired is not leading us to meet today’s world in a healthy manner and we need to get conscious and change course or we’ll start having more concrete reasons to feel like things are going wrong.

This applies to virtually any of us who’ve been overly negative –which is likely all of us. I know I’ve had my own little flurries on days where I’ve had to figure out the sort of stuff no one wants to ever have to figure out, especially for people you love. So the world also needs tolerance for when people are in pain and lash out, but at the same time we all want 2019 to be a more positive year.

How about we end this blog with a simple reminder that by watching for positive things we tend to find them, and that if we truly love the people we’re around, we shouldn’t be trying to get what we want, we should be trying to build a positive environment for ourselves and others. Because it feels really good to make a difference.

Thanks again everyone. It feels good to be back.

peace. s

What Do You Want From Me?

1280 Relax and Succeed - Life is what happens

That title is less clickbait and more just me choosing something that made me laugh –and laughing is good, particularly when life is heavy. It’s nice to be back.

You might recall that I thought I might be taking a break over Christmas in 2017, and I left with exciting plans for the blog in 2018. Then a bunch of life happened, as John Lennon once quoted in a song. Additionally, the idea for the blog turned out so well that it’s being fleshed out as a book. Which brings me to today and the plan for 2019, which is to say there isn’t one. And I want you to help form whatever angle or shape the writing takes this year.

Here’s the two things I do know:

1) While I may touch upon it at other times, I want to dedicate one day a week on caring for someone with dementia because in caring for my parents I’ve realized that it’s a wonderful teaching tool. By understanding how we deteriorate we can better understand how we’re assembled when we’re healthy.

I also think it could potentially provide some guidance or comfort for people doing what I’m doing in caring for parents when dementia is involved. And for medical professionals who’ve never lived with someone with dementia, they too could likely also learn more about how to look for clues on how to connect that would be helpful to patients.

The fact that I’m sensitive to patterns has made watching the dementia process a very educational experience to have. It’s been a challenge for sure, but how we approach things can make a huge difference, and that principle still applies even in situations that are not this extreme.


2) In past years you’ve requested that I answer questions, that I write about various subjects, or that I speak to particular quotes, but there was nothing you seemed to like better than getting assignments. The biggest and most active period was when you were all getting a daily assignment to help train your awareness to stay awake. Admittedly, it was one of the things most likely to achieve lasting benefits for participants, and quite quickly too, so it is a good candidate to form my return around but, as I said, I do want your thoughts.

Now I know that above I said those two things were the only things I knew, but I do know other things; like how sewers were invented in their current form in London, in the 1800’s by a genius Frenchman. But, as you can see, those are not helpful things to know here, or anywhere really. But when life is very serious, as I noted, it is often helpful to make light, so this is my lame attempt at toilet humour. Back to business.

I have one idea to offer but I’m open to you emailing me, messaging me or commenting with your ideas. Here’s mine:

Each day I could present a challenge or assignment based on something I caught myself doing. These always exist both as superficial examples, and as principles. So being rude to one person is in principle the same as being rude to anyone. The source of a fear doesn’t matter as much as the principles we employ in facing it.

The idea would be that I would look for common daily events where I was urged to enter my thinking and get lost in some form of emotion (I can consciously rotate through all of them), and then I would include the part about how I mitigated it, or why I forgave myself if I couldn’t.

This would be followed by my urging people to find the same sort of events in their own day, and to review how they historically would react. As before, it would really help if people worked in pairs so they can discuss their results. Once we meditate on the reasons why some things bother us we are then free to see avenues as to how it might be done differently. Maybe people could even get comfortable enough to start sharing blog or social media comments describing their own examples, as well as a note on how their self-intervention went…? That would be both an assignment and not overload me while looking after Mom and Dad, and it might help me find ways to earn my living while doing so.

But how would you feel about that assignment idea versus some other plan? Would you like to find a partner and do daily exercises in awareness? Maybe you want 100% relationships instead? Or all about anger? Or sex? Or a discussion of contemporary issues and how we can learn to relate to those in a meaningfully healthy way? (Maybe you’re now fascinated by sewers and I’ve accidentally trapped myself in a figurative version of one.)

You tell me. You can do it in the comments, or on facebook or twitter, (he says, knowing most of you will email). But in the meantime I’ll just do some pieces that occur to me, at least until we set a course in a few days. I appreciate you joining me and I look forward to connecting.

peace. s

The Calling

You’ll likely want some volume.


peace. s

Give Peace a Chance

1278 Relax and Succeed - Give peace a chanceA lot of my readers are from many different religions. The fact that I grew up in a predominantly Christian place means that my family has always defaulted to Christian holidays, although we happily added most of those others over time too. This means that, thanks to the approaching season and some important personal matters, I will not be writing for the blog again until January 1st of 2018, at which time I am contemplating a shift in its direction.

You’ve all been very kind with your notes of thanks, and your sharp eyes for typos and people attempting to plagiarize my work. You all respond well to positivity and while you experience negativity, you don’t dwell on it. Despite being scattered all over the world, you are all a part of a community of like-minded people who care; people who prioritize peace and love over status and power. I am happy to count myself among you.

It has been a pleasure sharing these lessons with you for another year, and I thank you for taking the time to read them. Without any expectation but lots of anticipation, I eagerly await 2018 and all of the many surprises it’s sure to bring.

All the best for whatever seasons you celebrate.

Warm regards, s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Happiness by Social Media

I know many of you access the blog daily to help you maintain your equanimity. I don’t want to leave you stranded, so please remember that you can continue to follow me on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr where I will be posting plenty of happiness and peace-generating posts.

See you for a new blog on Wednesday.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Your Greatest Self

Hey Readers, it’s a holiday today here in Canada, but here’s an old post you may not have ever read. It’s about how self esteem and love for the universe are the same thing. Feel good about yourself. Give it a read and I’ll see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Other Perspectives #52 The Sequel

1099-relax-and-succeed-parenthood-is-about-raising-and-celebratingIt’s the Family Day long weekend here in Canada, so here’s a blog about never underestimating the members of your family:

2016’s Blog of the Year

1064-16boy-relax-and-succeed-the-best-is-yet-to-comeYou have wonderful taste. This is the perfect choice for after what a lot of people feel was a tough year. When a friend did a survey of young kids in a school recently, their view of the future was startlingly bleak and negative. And then we thought about it and we realised; we did that. The adults. They learned that from us and they can learn something better.

This year’s Blog of the Year describes how we can each easily and individually ensure that we help create a better year next year than the world enjoyed this year. We are what makes the difference. Onward and upward. Happy New Year everyone!

2016’s Blog of the Year