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.

Flights of Passion

Winner: 2016’s Blog of the Year #9

929 Relax and Succeed - We aren't here to be perfectMany adult relationships won’t crash and burn with something like cheating or collapse under the weight of losing a child. Most will die a slow dull death and for that reason they are the ones that feel the most salvageable. Despite that possibility there is usually some external catalyst required for that to happen because otherwise the issue is difficult to overcome.

Imagine people are airplanes and the people inside are the potential experiences that everyone is born with. Flying is living. There is nowhere specific to go, so the closest thing you can do to “winning” is to land with all of your passengers / potentialities having already disembarked because they were fully realised. In short: you lived.

Okay, so everyone’s an airplane and when we’re flying high we have tons of perspective and we can appreciate tons of choice in terms of our direction. When we’re low-consciousness, we’re weaving through mountains of thought that half block-out the sky. It feels perilous and scary and we get angry and absent-minded in our efforts and yet the “mountains” are ultimately ephemeral; made only of our own thought and existing only within our own consciousness.

929 Relax and Succeed - Make your life worth lovingA relationship is when two planes choose to fly together. You happen to be on a similar course, you like how they fly and how their plane’s design works, and your passengers love waving to each other so you radio over and ask them if they’d like to join you on a permanent flight. Maybe you even make it official in front of all of the other pilots at some ceremony where you sign each other’s Flight Logs or something.

Obviously your planes fly differently so they’ll be impacted differently by weather, but in general the flying is good and you both enjoy the flow of your travels. This goes on for years until something happens. Maybe it’s an addiction, maybe you work too much, or you’re always angry or depressed, but somehow one or both of you goes into a downward spin. You’re no longer going anywhere, you’re only thinking about how much you hate the spinning.

The most their partner can do is radio instructions to them because the healthy partner does not actually have their hands on the unhealthy partner’s controls. Instead they naturally begin circling from as close as they can get without doing the same tight dangerous spin. They radio the tower for wisdom but it’s reconfirmed that there is nothing that can be done other than the pilot changing course. Any direction will do, but the plane needs to straighten itself out and only the pilot can do it.

929 Relax and Succeed - Don't let your struggle become your identityIn the best case scenarios the person realises that they are just spinning on thoughts about past regrets, or thoughts about future anxieties. They realise that there is no “correct direction.” They just need a direction. What was hurting wasn’t the danger in the future or the pain of mistakes made in the past, it was the spinning itself; it was the asking of the unanswerable question. At a certain point there are no more answers sought because in the end it is accepted that all that can be done is to fly and so the person does.

But in some cases the person spins too long. And while their partner has done a lazy circle for literally years in the hopes that their companion will pull out of it, eventually their passengers get restless. How much fuel do they have? There’s a lot of life to experience and they can’t live any of it flying in circles for literally years. Because one plane’s going down does that mean both should? The pilot feels that pressure and the passengers note that there’s been little to no sign that anything will change. Eventually the only question is: when will the pilot listen to the passengers, not if. And therein lies the problem.

Once that plane finally does depart (as incredibly reluctant as it will be to go), there will be an immediate sense of relief on the part of the passengers and crew. After all, they’ve just been doing a wider version of that same spin. They do not want to go down in the middle of a deep ocean having not seen much of anything in literally years. Ironically, their departure can sometimes be what triggers a genuine recovery in the partner. By focusing on that change the unhealthy pilot’s mind gets out of its loop and focuses as suddenly the partner gives chase.

929 Relax and Succeed - We travel not to escape lifeThe problem is that they’re usually a long way behind. It makes sense that they would radio their beloved other pilot and ask them to circle for a while until they catch up, but at the same time they can appreciate the difficulty in that. Now that they are finally in motion the notion of travelling backwards or circling more is particularly unappealing. Often even an intense love for their partner cannot overcome it. Too much recent time has been spent on down and backwards. Their souls are literally starved for forwards and upwards.

These are crushing circumstances. No one wants what comes to pass. These are the worst and most poetic days we will face in life. There are no winners in a scenario like that spin. People can pull out of those dives and they can draw a strong and passionate direction from the emptiness of their previous life so those experiences are never losses. They are however extremely painful. The most we can come to is an understanding that the passengers in all the other planes have the same will to live that ours do.

How long a partner should circle is the big debate. Some say marriage vows say you circle until your plane goes down. Some people say you leave right away. Others dedicate years, decades and lifetimes. There is no right answer. Others may judge but, they’re not in your plane, they don’t know your fuel situation and they don’t have your passengers. So all anyone can do is use all of their plane-flying skills and instincts and do what they genuinely feel is best. There just isn’t a better flight plan than that.

Enjoy your day.

big hug, 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.

Bad Rap

823 Relax and Succeed - One of the best things you can doYou hear it all the time. People dissing humanity. We’ve screwed it all up! some angry person shouts. We polluted the Earth and got selfish and everyone’s on their phones and no one cares and there’s huge problems in the world–AHHHH! Yeah, I understand those concerns but still, you know what? I think humanity is just getting a bad rap.

I met a guy at a job I worked at a few years back. Other than the fact that we both primarily played the same musical instrument I didn’t see that we had a ton in common. But that never seems to matter. There’s just these times when we feel compelled to notice some people. It’s like we half-recognize them or something.

Since living this way I’m very patient with that feeling. I know it can take years to play out. Decades even. But those people you have that weird sense about–that your life and theirs have something to do with each other–those do unfold. Who knows, physicists can’t really explain why you can remember your past but not your future so maybe you really are recognizing them for another time rather than from another time. But we’ve all had the feeling. Our favourite version of it is when we meet a new friend.

823 Relax and Succeed - Be who you neededRecently that person posted on facebook that they were in the midst of one of life’s toughest challenges. It was a humble admission of both a problem and the current struggle to overcome it. I honestly don’t know all of the details involving the problem and I don’t really care. Those details are irrelevant. What matters is that he’s struggling. I have no interest in judging him, I just want to respond to his need with compassion. That’s what feels natural for anyone when you’re not seeing the world from an egocentric view.

Why do I say people don’t deserve the bad rap they get? Here’s some evidence: When this guy exposed his vulnerability and weakness the immediate response by friends and strangers alike was to offer him support and assistance. Far from judging him everyone noted feeling inspired by what he had done through his admission.

Everyone has their battles. Big and small. We all share that. We all know what it feels like to try something difficult. Something we’ve not done before. Something other versions of us tried to do but couldn’t. But we all know there’s a version of us that’s ready. And that version is sometimes very hard to find. So when you see another human being exhibiting it, compassion just naturally flows.

823 Relax and Succeed - If grass can growIt’s like I’ve written about in the past in relation to the strange thing that used to happen on the show Fear Factor when a competitor got in real trouble. If they needed the prize money for an important reason–like an operation for their sick mom or something–then you’d never see people able to maintain their goading. They couldn’t undermine those people and if it looked like they might fail their competitors would switch to cheering them on. Yes, their former trash-talking competitors. Because that’s our nature. Because unless we have been abused, that’s what humans do.

People can criticize the idea all they want but when we are most in alignment with things is when we are experiencing love and connection. When our connection is so pure that we don’t even sense the border between an us and them, then> we know we are visiting our natural home. And it is not a failed life to wobble in and out of it. It is what a lifetime is. And we wouldn’t want it it any other way. Because when people are wobbling is precisely when they can inspire the people who aren’t.

Thanks to my friend for his inspiration. I sense very good things in his future. And I’m confident there’s many good things in store for yours as well. Now go create yourself an awesome day.

Much love. Big hugs. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #84

776 OP Relax and Succeed - The past cannot be changedThe past is the past. It’s happened. There’s no do-overs. But the past does not entirely dictate your future and it can obviously be forgotten. And as we now know about memory–every time you recall something you’ll imbue it with the feelings you’re having at the time of the recollection. So your memories not only can be edited, they will be. Despite that quibble, it is true that you can only accept the steps that lead to where you are. The ship can’t alter its wake. But nor can it be directed by it. No matter what unfortunate things have happened to you, once you’ve lived long enough you realize that most of the things you value in life are also somehow also tied to your big supposed missteps. This leads us to question our ideas of good or bad. Because if an addiction or affliction of ours acts as training on how to get someone else through the same tough experience, then in a way our so-called failure was in fact a very special kind of training on how to live a successful life. Know you are complete because you have enough to give. And you are you because of your past. You have much to offer. You are worthy of your own acceptance. Have a wonderful day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

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The Friday Dose #74

730 Relax and Succeed - Healing is not about staying away

Today’s Dose is all about addiction. Or might it be better described as repetitive action? I’ve said for decades: it is more like an animal pacing frenetically in a claustrophobic zoo than it is a disease. I’ve written about it and the intersection with neuroplasticity for years. And while there still isn’t enough focus on thought, increasingly the general view is in fact shifting toward this more logical, organic and historically successful approach. Attached below is a link to Laura Miller’s Salon article on a neuroscientist who shares some of my views:

Laura Miller: Addiction is not a Disease

(Below please find three links to Relax and Succeed addictions postings.)

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And I’ll leave you with the wise words of Dr. Gabor Mate:

AA or your Way

The Nature of Addiction

Addictive Behaviour

peace. s

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Other Perspectives #72

706 OP Relax and Succeed - You can't change someone

This is a tricky one in that it’s almost an exact split between helpful and misleading. The general thrust of it is valuable but it’s aim is off in that it presumes a person can change someone else and that simply isn’t true. But to the quote’s point, even we will only change ourselves when we see more value in going a new direction than in the old one. So remember: you don’t succeed in life by getting people to change their actions through coercion, manipulation or force because as soon as those forces lift things start to go back to their nature. This applies to parenting, dating and employing people. Real and ongoing change only happens because the person themselves sees and values the world around them differently. Because of that shift in perspective they will initiate change themselves—not as a way of stopping one activity, but as a way of starting a new one. And sometimes they need to suffer a lot more than you before they’ll choose a new path and even then they might not pick the one you were hoping for. So don’t blame people for living their lives. Just live yours and then align yourself with those in your natural tribe of behaviour. That is your real family and for as long as you are a part of it you won’t be asked to change. But remember: everyone and everything inevitably changes, so it’ll only be your family for about seven to nine years and then you’ll have to find a new one or your life will get static. And when you do that you won’t do it because you perceived something wrong about your current life, it’ll be because you see something promising off in a new direction. So to stay healthy throughout your life it’s really as easy as staying vigilant for promising things.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose #50

595 Relax and Succeed - You're mad

Welcome everyone! It’s the first Friday Dose of the year, and we’re starting off with a Washington Post piece on parenting in the age of the internet and cell phones. Parents will often come to me with very sensible and realistic concerns about their kids and their developing brain’s ability to wisely negotiate cyberspace. I don’t blame them. Kids haven’t fully built the part of their brain that fully comprehends consequences until they’re out of their teens and yet the kids will believe they know all they need to know. And yet there’s no way to turn the internet off, and the constant access of a phone is largely understandable in the modern context where so much of what kids are given to do by schools and clubs etc. will be made easier through the use of both social networking and by phone apps. Who knows how long these things last, but for now it’s a tricky issue and there’s no clear solution. Fortunately the best answer is always the best answer: give the child what they need to calculate well reasoned answers to questions so they can take in their facts and context and then prudently and logically develop appropriate responses. You also want them to have a foundation of self esteem and the knowledge that they are loved and have value no matter what their circumstances might be at any point in life. And last but definitely not least, you want them to believe in the unbelievable. In magic. In things outside the bounds of current thought. Because that is where the discoveries are made. Where we push on our assumptions. But as good as it is, absolutely none of that fine parenting will have much of an impact on the weirdness that is kids hanging out in a place called cyberspace:

The Washington Post: Parenting as a Gen Xer

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Next we’ll go to an interview with disgraced journalist Johann Hari. For a man who had spread so many mistruths in his efforts to elevate his status and ego, his fall has created a humbler, wiser man who has surrendered any concerns about what we think of him. He agrees that you shouldn’t think much of what he did. But he makes an observation about addiction that I’ve mentioned in my blog many times. It involves the idea of not stopping an addiction, but rather starting to have such meaningful contact with people and the world that there would be no interest in an addiction. I place this here in the hopes that if I made the concept too abstract, perhaps you’ll grasp it when you hear how Mr. Hari states it. However the wisdom comes to you, I hope you too come to know the value of genuinely and enthusiastically investing in the enjoyment of your own life:

The Guardian interviews Johann Hari

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Next I’m gonna surprise you. I often refer to advertising as the most damaging and insidious force in our world today. But to be a fair-minded person you must be prepared to disagree with your friends and agree with so-called enemies. And so it must be the truth we seek more than to be right or to win. And so I must admit I recently saw an ad that I thought struck an impressive tone, where it honoured a living truth of the world and it approached the viewers with positivity instead of negativity. That it would come from a diet company is something we should all take heart in. Because we all know most advertising is fairly ridiculous lying. But if the world is shifting to greater positivity and it’s leading companies in this direction then advertising will significantly lessen its negative impact in the world. Enjoy:

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And finally we’ll finish off with another beautiful way to convey an extremely important point to every man on Earth. The video’s so well done I will simply let it speak for itself, but the agency that came up with this should be proud. I won’t be surprised to see it in Cannes this year. It’s as beautiful as it is clever. Enjoy:

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Have yourselves a spectacular weekend everyone!

peace. s

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The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Focus on these and change your mind. Enjoy.