The Friday Dose #136

I haven’t done a Friday Dose in a while, but what I teach people has always been in pretty nice alignment with Dr. Gabor Maté. I recall early in his career he was seen as strange or even ridiculous, but I knew that he actually understood addictions and how the mind works far better than most other people.

If you’re a regular reader there is nothing here you wouldn’t have already read in thes Relax and Succeed pages many times before, but it’s a Friday, so sit back and relax for four minutes and have your mind expanded. And then and ask what that expansion means for your life.

You have a natural peaceful self. Don’t waste your life trying to change the part that isn’t the real you.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

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.

The March of Kindness

1106-relax-and-succeed-the-march-of-kindnessIf you read yesterday’s blog you know that a few years ago I started doing the March of Kindness. Thanks to some teachers and schools from around the world this idea was actually practiced. It not not only put a lot of positive action into our world, it also reduced ego by focusing us on the needs of others.

March includes twenty-three weekdays. That’s twenty-three days of action, and the only action you need to undertake today is to right-click on the photo, save it, print and sign it and then post this notice in a location where you are sure to see it during each of those twenty-three days.

The world is a big place, but it changes one individual at a time. By signing and committing to these principles, you are placing yourself among the important change-makers from around the world. This isn’t just for people like the prophets, or Gandhi, or Rumi, or Martin Luther King, it’s for you as well.

Let us join together and help make the world the incredibly creative, loving and supportive place it has always had the potential to be. Don’t forget to enjoy the process. Have a wonderful day everyone.

peace. s

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

Sources of Reality

1070-relax-and-succeed-reality-exists-in-the-human-mindAre the implications of what you learned yesterday truly sinking in? I don’t expect you to fully accept this idea already, but what Dr. Shaw’s research confirms is that you absolutely have a faulty memory. That’s tough to accept. It’s not only filled with inaccurate memories of real events, you also believe things that never actually happened. You won’t accept that idea yet, but the fact is, reality is already iffy.

I know you intellectually get that the scientists aren’t lying, but I also understand that you can’t just suddenly live in the super-flexible reality they’re proving. You’ve lived the other way a long time. You have a lot of beliefs. Reality still feels pretty solid and “out there” to you. It still feels like it’s objective and not subjective. And yet her research proves that idea wrong.

You also found a bunch of examples of where you had made an identity change. You used to be afraid to speak up and now you’re not. Or you used to feel confident but not anymore. You used to feel like a kid and now you feel like an adult. You used to feel young and now you feel old. Etc. etc. Those are also examples of your reality changing.

1070-relax-and-succeed-have-you-ever-just-stopped-and-realizedHow strange is that? You don’t believe in a subjective reality, and yet you’ve already proven through your own actions that you’ve been actively living as though you sometimes believe it. That’s weird. And that feeling is always a good sign. That’s bigger than you think it is.

Today you want to get those changes into two categories. Today we’re going to look at where your changes came from. It was my my uncle who explained to me that my aunts and my uncles were my parents brothers and sisters. That’s an outside change that made me look at the world differently. You want to find examples like that.

Also find examples of internal changes. When I saw my ex-wife’s disappointed reaction at her big surprise birthday party, I had an internal realisation that I’d created the party I would want, not the one she would want. Rather than the world being different, I appeared different to myself. You want to find examples like that too.

Find at least three times when you were told something and changed, and three times where you realised something and changed. That’s a minimum of six things. Make sure you confirm your list with your partner. The value in these exercises is not what you’re learning, it’s what I’m making your imagination do. Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense to you. If it made sense to you, you wouldn’t be here reading me.

1070-relax-and-succeed-if-you-want-to-changeIt feels weird to do at first, but once you get your brain seeing things from the right perspective you realise that these changes are laying all over the place. Compete with your partner. Find as many examples as you can of each, even if you limit yourself to an hour to find them. The point is the search. If you can, I’d keep these lists in the same file or notebook for later reference. It’ll be like a diary of who you’ve been.

That’s it. It’s that easy. Just find a minimum of three changes in reality motivated by new outside knowledge, and a minimum of three changes to your reality motivated by internal realisations. If you find more you’re just deepening the effect so the effort is worthwhile. But even three on each side will do the trick.

Find them, write them down, and then look at yourself in a mirror and congratulate yourself for finally taking some serious steps toward finding a different way to live, even if right now you’re still confused. The point is, if you’ve done what I’ve asked then you’re doing the right things. You can relax, satisfied that you are taking action in your life.

We’ll leave it at that and I’ll see you tomorrow. The longer we go, the more you’ll understand what it is we’re actually doing. In the meantime, 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 organisations locally and around the world.

Who Have You Been?

1066-relax-and-succeed-dear-brain-please-shut-upWhen you started this year you may have wondered; where are you going to get the energy to do all these great things we’re talking about? But don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of energy once you quit wasting it by talking to yourself incessantly about the past and future.

That self-talk eats up a ton of your life. Way more than you can imagine. And it’s an Opportunity Cost as well. Not only are you hurting yourself with all of that thinking about yourself, you’re also doing that instead of enacting your health. That’s how it works; you either move forward or backward, but there is no sitting still in life. It ticks by whether you’re spinning in place or boldly exploring.

To get the life you want we have to get you to expand yourself; and to do that you need to leave your comfort zone to explore new ways of being. Rather than another year of bashing yourself inside your own head just start each week here. Every Monday I’ll create a simple weekly objective. Those little tests and meditations can then act as signposts along your journey to become less of a self-talking ego and more like inspiration in motion.

1066-relax-and-succeed-dont-wait-the-time-will-neverThis process will be way less painful and far more rewarding than what you’re doing now, so you can sleep well tonight knowing that you’re taking action. And you can be comfortable knowing that these assignments won’t be overwhelming. In fact, often they’ll seem surprisingly easy. That’s how we change these things. Not all at once. A little bit at a time. We’ll make you so good at healing yourself you’ll end up healing others too.

The real question now is, do you really want to change? That might seem a strange question to someone suffering, but it’s valid. Lots of people start things like this over and over and yet never get anywhere and when you’re clear headed you too will be able to see why. Those people fall into a pattern of failure because because they want to.

A lot of people’s entire lives are built around sympathy. Everyone has stories about themselves that involve suffering but some people spend most of their time relating these stories, or reading or watching things about their story. They’re experts on their own story and all the damage it’s caused. And they pay for that expertise with suffering, which in turn creates the need for sympathy and you can see how the circular addiction forms.

1066-relax-and-succeed-are-you-happyThis will be an enjoyable process, but take today and be a bit hard on yourself. Call, or even better write (they’ll be more honest), to some close friends and ask them; when I’m negative what does that look like? And then ask them what kinds of things bother you. Ask them what makes you angry, what makes you sad, what scares you. Look for the stuff they mostly agree on. That’s your psychological set point. That’s what we’re going to move.

If you have honest enough friends you should get some answers that surprise you. Learn from them. Look at what you focus on. Understand that they see it as something you would do, meaning it’s not something they would do, meaning it’s a choice. You can make better choices, but before you try it’s a good idea to see what kind of choice-picker you’ve historically been.

The friends you ask to help you are your friends for a reason. The qualities you’re asking about are the ones they’ll easily accept because you’re worth it. If they can accept those things and love you then so can you. And when you can finally love yourself as you are, you’ll open yourself up to more complete love between you and others. So go find those good friends and spend today trying to really profile how it is you get sad or angry or scared, and then we’ll show you how to turn those little defeats into victories, and how to make this year better than last.

Onward and upward. See you tomorrow.

peace. s

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

The Friday Dose #129: Mindfulness

1013-fd-relax-and-succeed-resistance-is-futileStaying vigilant about our thinking can be a challenging thing. My accident gave me a huge advantage in that there was a distinct separation between me and my thinking, but I know when I jam the two together that they feel like one thing, so I suspect that’s what it feels like for everyone else most of the time. As ephemeral as it is, all I really do in my work is create some distance between souls and egos.

One way to create some distance and to slow down that process is to study it closely and break it down into its component parts. It’s like a drummer learning a new beat. You have to do it super slowly, super slowly and then build the wiring and build the wiring until you can go faster and faster and faster until it’s natural.

Since our mental health is tied to us accepting rather than resisting the universe as it is, a good candidate for study is complaining. Complaints are pure resistance. They’re either internal resistance thoughts, or spoken external ones, but they’re resistance either way. A man recently tried going only 21 days without complaining and he found it very difficult. That said, he also did notice a shift in himself in only those 21 days. I would suggest that this would be a beneficial process for everyone to undertake.

Here’s a link to an interview with the author, and here’s Michael J. Fox on how your circumstances can appear worse than average and yet your life is better than average. It’s really only a question of how much resistance you choose to produce.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone because, despite your genuine challenges, in many ways you’re still more fortunate than a lot of the world. Enjoy that.

peace. s

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

The Friday Dose #113 – Addictions

931 FD Relax and Succeed - We may not be responsibleFor many years there was just a few of us offering a different idea of what an addiction was and how they truly worked. Until recently very few other practitioners subscribed to the idea because we made the addicts innocent. Even before that we also made the addicts culpable so the addicts didn’t like it either–at first.

Slowly addicts understood our point and successes piled up. People did believe there was a way to change their behaviours. Supporting science was done and articles were written. Increasingly people switched over to this other way of doing things until now it is fair to say that the model that people like Gabor Mate or myself were using is now considered the most logical and effective and now it’s only a matter of time before more recently trained or re-trained professionals start implementing these approaches in more clinics around the world.

There are a lot of things we can be addicted to. Alcohol, prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, sleep aids, gambling, sex, work or even exercise, but each of these is pursued in lieu of something else and that is why the addicts are comfortable with their culpability because they come to understand it was innocent. They were acting outside of their own best interests but that was only because they hadn’t fully considered all of the definitions of what their best interests might include.

Kicking an addiction can take more time than other things but is no more difficult than changing any other behaviour if pursued the right way. And by going about things that way, once you’re finished with that process you’re not clinging to your health for the rest of your life. You are moving forward with understanding and confidence that you know the route back to addiction but it simply doesn’t interest you because your life is so rewarding to live.

Create a wonderful weekend for yourselves everyone. 

Much love, 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.

Hyperlink Thinking

907 Relax and Succeed - Mom what is normalYour brain is structured to do every activity you do. Whatever you ask it to do is what it will get good at. But when people think of all their capabilities, they only think of the surface stuff their brain does like remembering directions, or calculating numbers or knowing how to read or write. And without further meditation those all seem like they’re just manipulations of the data. So what they believe they know is the directions, the numbers and the communications, but what they also need to have is the remembering, the calculating and the creation.

This is why I use a flip phone. Most of you have already noticed the drop in functionality of your memory due to smartphones. People used to routinely remember all 30 of their friend’s phone numbers, all of their bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. etc. We had to remember a lot and those of us who haven’t surrendered the skill can still do it. But like a muscle, if I don’t do the work the ability will deteriorate.

Mental Disorders are not tangible. You can’t cut someone open and find depression or ADHD, but you can find tumours creating pressure, or damaged structures from drug use or strokes, or actual observable issues with various aspects of the brain’s function. This is because physical damage is not the same as confusion about usage. A car can crash because a part breaks, or it can crash because the person driving it wasn’t properly trained. Mental Disorders are just innocent driver errors due to poor or missing driving instructions.

907 Relax and Succeed - Let me remind youI know a lot of you really have a strong aversion to me saying this because you feel it makes you or someone you love somehow more responsible, but if you think that you’re misunderstanding. That’s like saying people who’s kids were injured in a car crash in 1950 should feel responsible for the seat belt not being invented yet. You can’t even start working on something until you know it needs the work. So no one is guilty here, but some things are happening and I help people precisely because I deal with what’s happening and I do not subscribe to little boxes that do not exist except in the imagination of the person believing in them.

If you ramp up the amount kids watch TV, movies and games at the same time that you perpetually shorten the length of each edit then this is like repeatedly hitting the novelty switch in your brain. Not that long ago you were a lot less safe and a lot more hungry, so your brain was wired up to notice new things because they might be either food or a predator. So you were built to notice new things. Edits, to your brain, are new things.

Ask the brain to get good at switching but not at holding and guess what? It gets good at switching and not at holding and ADHD is born, and the nations with less media report less incidence. Even Europe records less than half the cases of North America where media addictions are worse.

907 Relax and Succeed - Notice is hereby givenThe other brain function impacting this involves the nature of the internet. Hyperlinks are literally opportunities to distract yourself from what you’re doing. Yes, Hyperlinks are related to what we’re doing so we can justify using them, but we are nevertheless creating our own edit now, but in a text document not a video one. Many times these are useful for finding the article or information you were really looking for, but often times you’re being far less directed than that.

Over time this has lead to us all doing Hyperlink Thinking in our daily lives. Now I always liked how Europeans didn’t need conversation to be linear and goal-oriented like North Americans, but that’s not the willingness to go with the flow that I mean. Two humans actually connecting involves that connection, so the flow should serve that. But in the document it often only serves as a distraction and it explains why so few people feel they are getting enough or as much done.

If you can’t read a book for more than 30 minutes without getting up and doing something else, then already your brain has been trained to think it is supposed to flit from here to there, and so your very concentration is seen as an enemy by a brain trained for switching. This is why you so often lose focus, get distracted and are unproductive even on work you care about.

907 Relax and Succeed - Take a walkI only noticed this because I slipped into it too. I limit my screen time intentionally, but even then I could feel myself losing focus far sooner than I was accustomed to. Noticing that, I immediately raised my awareness and quickly I noticed my impulse to follow part of a thought in a new direction and there I had my culprit. My brain had gotten good at chasing down other angles and I was getting increasingly willing to wander off of my original intention. 

I’m currently putting this to a stop and you can too but it requires awareness, targeted non-action and diligence. It takes a while to learn not to wander so much but I got good at wandering by wandering so I’ll get good at focusing by focusing too. Now I regularly check back in with my original intention to ensure I’m still on it.

Don’t let Hyperlink Thinking invade your day and steal both your productivity and your mind’s ability to focus on an issue at a level that makes you more successful. Your capabilities are not a fixed asset, you are a flexible being, capable of altering yourself to suit your needs. But you must do it consciously. I’d maybe help more with a hyperlink to another relevant post right here but… you know… .  😉

peace (of mind) 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.