Making Changes

Hello! It’s a holiday here a student had a very big breakthrough yesterday and it was so inspiring that I felt like writing to you even on a day off. Besides,we’re right in the middle of our discussion about slowing down our moments enough to allow us to escape from unnecessary egotistical suffering. Today we’ll draw meaningful distinction between suffering and pain. The former you can do something about, the latter you simply accept and feel.

869 Relax and Succeed - Be kind to unkind people

Okay let’s say you’re dealing with someone you love and care about a lot, but someone who often makes you angry. Maybe it’s your kid, maybe it’s your parent, maybe it’s a sibling or an important friend. These are the sorts of relationships where no matter when someone asked you, you would always know that in the end you would forgive the person. Maybe not the behaviours, but the person is ultimately accepted without conditions. Despite that they can still be exasperating for any number of valid or invalid reasons.

So you’re in the process of yelling–notice I don’t care about what. No matter why I’m doing it the route out is the same; you must alter the direction of your thoughts. You can’t go somewhere and ask for adrenaline and then take it and complain that you’re all worked up. You asked for it!

Same with the anger you’re feeling. Anger is always masquerading fear, so your anger is really worry that you won’t be able to keep paying these prices. You’re concerned your loved one will go beyond the limit of your life. It makes sense you’re afraid and that you’d have angry thoughts about how the person isn’t cooperating with something so obviously good for everyone involved. And that frustration would impact your voice. Fine. That still doesn’t mean you want to stay there. It’s generally not useful and it’s unpleasant for you. That’s suffering not pain.

869 Relax and Succeed - Be gentle with yourselfIf you’re going to think the sort of thoughts that are resistant to what is, what was or what may be, then you will suffer. To bump harshly into the walls of ego can be helpful though. For instance: you catch yourself yelling at the loved one. Your impulse is that you should make yourself stop, but instead I would suggest that you simply watch yourself getting upset.

Understanding will change your behaviour not effort. Your ego is yelling. With this meditation you’re focused on keeping some consciousness with the watcher–the real you, the creator of your ego. Once you recognize that the story you’re telling yourself is colouring your feelings about it, go back to recalling the connection you have and the person you’re angry with.

Look at them while you yell at them. Know in non-word terms that it’s true that you will always love that person. From there you will naturall realize that the current ugliness between you can only be a portion of your journey together, so why not make it as brief as possible for no other reason than selfishness? For no other reason than it feels better? Why not just take the pain but leave the suffering?

That is personal freedom. Taking responsibility for your thoughts to the point where your selfishness creates increased happiness, which increases gratitude, which in turn makes us generous and then our problems end up being solved in surprising ways by things like love.

869 Relax and Succeed - Yelling silences your message

Once you’re watching yourself semi-regularly you will be able to stay more aware by choice. You’ll have experience over time, so you’ll know with quick confidence that if you’re yelling you must be lost. I know it sounds strange but you can interrupt any emotion just by knowing you don’t want to feel it. Just that desire is like sticking something in the spokes of a moving bike.

If you’re thinking that desire into existence then you can’t be simultaneously using your thoughts to create the undesirable issue. That single step away from your ego allows you to redirect the course of your consciousness onto more productive things, no different than you tune a TV to get different types of shows. You never have problems. Your mind is just sometimes tuned to a painful channel.

As you get better, once you’ve stopped yelling and are in touch with some loving feelings you’ll be more able to take some action like call a friend, cuddle your pet, or dive into a hobby etc. Slowly your wisdom will creep in where the anger was taking up space and you will be able to move toward more thoroughly loving feelings. You’ll also find many more constructive ways to face your challenges.

Yes this benefits the person you’re yelling at, but do this because you love and care about yourself. I’m an action guy. You don’t get better thinking about how to be better, you get better by taking different actions than you have been. These are the actions to take within your consciousness. Fumble through them and learn them until they are entirely natural. That knowledge and practice is the never-ending path to peace and wisdom.

peace. s

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

Other Perspectives #86

786 OP Relax and Succeed - There is no true loveWrong. With no offense intended toward the creator of it, I believe this is the first one I’ve ran into that’s 100% backwards. The truth is that there is no true love with jealousy. Anyone who thinks that true love includes jealousy–or worse demands it–is at least in the fortunate position where in their future they will get their first taste of genuine true love. This quote is nothing more than some person’s excuse to think insecure, worried and untrustworthy thoughts about someone else. Either trust someone or leave. Don’t justify your poor treatment of them as being rooted in love. Real Love isn’t possessive in any way shape or form.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Humans Racing

Everyone’s looking for relief. People used to want to find themselves or get enlightened. Today those things are merely byproducts of just finding some much-needed relief. We just need a break. For the pressure to be off. To get a moment of peace. Sheesh.

754 Relax and Succeed - Life moves pretty fastBut the world just keeps coming. The older you get the more you can relate to street people. Giving up can often look pretty appealing to an overworked Mom or Dad caring for both children and aging parents. Highly paid executives look at barista’s and think they have a great job because it doesn’t go home with them. But the barista can’t pay the executive sized prices in today’s world so he has peace of mind at work, but when he goes home he’s stressed about money plus he has no social life.

So we desperately seek. We look for solace. For comfort. For quiet. For peace. For acceptance–despite the fact that we’ve ducked out of the pressure and are sitting still. It’s not uncommon for my student/clients to come to me guiltily, as though taking time away from their overload of responsibilities to look after themselves is somehow treasonous to the human race. But they come anyway because they just can’t stand a life that just seems like a stream of obligations with almost no room for the person at the heart of it all.

You’re not wrong. Hyper consumerism has turned every moment of the day into a sales opportunity. Your phone used to be for your friends to call but even before cell phones we had all stopped because answering them because we were screening for telemarketers. Ads are on every surface asking us to do this or noting how we’re deficient in that. Your phone essentially removes your privacy because yes you can choose to not answer it, but there’ll be a price for that.

754 Relax and Succeed - The cells in your bodyAnd we just keep thinking and thinking and thinking–what is the way out of this? But in a weird way, we’re only adding to the problem with all of that. Think of thoughts as cells. They can divide and multiply to create amazing new ideas and experiences. But they can also be used to attack ourselves, others, or the state of the world in some way. But if we do that we are letting the cells multiply without control because if it was in control, why would we choose such overwhelmingly negative subjects to think about? So if we’re on long negative periods then we are allowing our thoughts to eventually lower themselves to low ground. There they mix with other negative thoughts and they start bouncing off each other and before you know it the negativity has grown.

That much thinking is like cells that are out of control. This is that spinning, frenzied, anxious thinking that you have to be anywhere but where you are. That much thinking is like cancer. It takes perfectly good space in your body and refills it with something damaging. In one case it’s out-of-control cells and in the other it’s out-of-control thoughts, but either way the effect is eventually the same–the repetitive action starts to have a debilitating effect on the person doing the thinking.

754 Relax and Succeed - The mind is its own placeI remember about 15 years or so ago there was the beginning of a bunch of studies that surprised many in the medical community when it showed that it wasn’t sick people that got depressed, but rather depressed people that got sick. It opened up a whole new area of research that has lead to the increasing popularity of positive intervention therapies, which have in turn proven to be much more effective than those used previously.

You don’t make the problems of the world go away by thinking about them. You don’t make your personal problems go away by thinking about them. Think when it’s fun and useful. But you really should maintain a general idea during the day of what you’re using your thoughts for. Because if it’s for reasoning something where reason applies, great. But if it’s just churning negativity on issues where you have no control then at least control what you do control–the direction of your thoughts.

Stay conscious. Life isn’t that hard once we learn to keep a closer eye on the choices we make all day long. Make this a day of even just slightly more conscious, slightly better choices. Do that each day and you’ll be amazed where you end up.

peace. s

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

Basic Choices

749 Relax and Succeed - We were all humans

So I look out my back window and I see a guy I’ve never seen before and he’s hurling my neighbour’s blue bag contents all over the alley. Edmonton was the first major city in the world to not need a garbage dump because we recycle literally everything. The blue bag is where you put things that are designed to be recycled because they can very easily be re-purposed.

I walked out and said a friendly hello but the guy was immediately concerned. Many homeowners will immediately assume the person has no morals because they have no home. I don’t think that, plus—even if he is a total jerk—I’m smart enough to make friends with any potential troublemakers in my neighbourhood.

Many people are on the street because of a mental illness or a lack of self control manifested as hostility. They get cared for up until eighteen and then—boom—now they live on your street. This guy isn’t mentally ill but I do know he has a bad temper problem so I’m not surprised that he blows up when I nicely ask him to just put the stuff back in the bag when he’s done.

“What are you going to do, make me do it?

“Make you do it? What? You think I would fight you over recycling? Dude. You do bad math. It would be infinitely easier for me to just re-load the bag myself than it would be to fight you, even if I beat you the first punch…. then police and jail and losing work. And that’s if I win the fight. That blows me away. You don’t look like you’re jonesing and I know you well enough from the diner that I know you aren’t mentally ill. Is that anger the only reason you’re out here?”

“Fuck you.”749 Relax and Succeed - For every minute you are angry“Yeah, that anger. What’s that for?” I’m still really calm. I start putting the stuff back in the bag. I’m acting almost offended because that will be unexpected and it’ll force him to think differently. “You whip that out at strange times buddy. I get that anger can be useful, but I’m a pretty nice and helpful guy and your anger is so strong it warped who you thought I was. Are you sure you’re not just angry by habit?” I point to the bag as a reference. “Anyone who loses track of their choices is going to lose track of their life. That’s just logic.”

“I’m not angry, people are fucking dumb.”

“That is what most angry people assume, yes. And, well, you’ve kind of got me on that one because I myself am an excellent representative of being fucking dumb.” I can tell he’s got a lot of us-and-them going on. He sees me as above him so I take the opportunity to lower myself so he can feel more secure. I mimic his language and concede some weakness. “I am fucking dumb so much more regularly than I’d like. But hey, we all have our thing right? That’s my thing. That’s my version of your anger. That’s my dumb choice.”

He starts to help with the bag. “I don’t choose being angry.” He says it angrily, but there we go. Now at least we’re rolling.749 Relax and Succeed - Remember thisSo I look at him like he’s crazy. “Uhh, if it’s not you choosing it who is?” I can see he doesn’t have a good answer. “I know—it’s always so easy to see other people’s and so hard to see our own, right? But everyone’s got a personality and a personality is just how you choose things. Tortured people try to make those choices just go away. People like me just let them be and work with it.”

“And you think mine’s anger…?” It took me a second to realize he meant it as a question.

“I just don’t get why you would chemically torture your own mind by thinking such angry thoughts when there’s a zillion other things you could have thought of instead. I mean it’s not like the angry thoughts or words ever changed anything right? Or if they do they changed me from nice to threatened which doesn’t do you any good. Angry thoughts just get the angry brain chemistry flowing. So you can’t blame people for thinking it’s a little strange that you would pick that so often. Sure, occasionally choose anger. But not all the time.”

“I don’t choose’em. People are fucking assholes.”749 Relax and Succeed - Today was the absolute worst day“Duh. Do you think? I just told you I’m one pretty routinely. You are too.” I motion to the alley around us where the stuff was scattered. “But what? You figure you’re the only person who has to deal with that? No offense buddy but it’s time to put on your big-boy pants. You’re not talking about avoiding assholes, you’re talking about avoiding life. I’m on the road every day with assholes who think every red light is their office. Sometimes I even have to pick up recycling that some asshole has hurled around my alley for no good reason.” He’s quiet until we’re done. He just stands there as I re-tie the bag and put it back.

He very obviously has a question but isn’t sure how to ask it so I kill a ton of time tying. Finally he speaks. “I can’t help it if I’m angry.”

I look at him like he’s said something crazy because in a way he has. “Look buddy I’m seriously sympathetic. I am. But again: if you didn’t pick it who else could? Do you get how you work? Do you understand how you pick how you feel?” I say this like it’s some key everyone got that he somehow missed out on. And this works because I know he genuinely feels that the rest of us have some special thing inside us that he doesn’t. The thing that keeps us off the street. The thing that he’s missing. The thing that keeps him down. So he’s listening.

“Pick how I feel..?”

“You know–using your emotions. That’s what they’re for.” I’m casual as hell because I’m lying. What I’m telling him is actual what enlightened people do, which is currently a tiny percentage of the population. But hey, why make him just functional when we can make him healthy? So I tell him this is what “people” do.

749 Relax and Succeed - If you listen to your body“Getting angry feels crappy, right? The crappy part is what’s telling you to stop thinking the crappy thoughts. That’s why I’m confused. It’s a pretty simple system and you almost function as though someone never explained that part to you before. I mean, I don’t want to insult you—I know you know that [I did not think he knew that], that’s why I’m mystified as to why you make the choices you make because otherwise you seem like the kind of guy who could have any kind of life you wanted.”

By this point I’ve made my point and he needs to keep his pride, so I can’t leave him to exit the conversation or he’ll have to rise back up again somehow to prove he’s stronger and that’s what I’m trying to avoid, so I end it. “Hey, I’d like to keep talking but I’ve got a friend who’s gonna show up right away. Thanks for the help with the bag. Have a good one buddy.” I shake his hand which really s surprises him. As I head back to the house he waves and says a nice goodbye.

Every time I’ve seen him since he’s looked a bit less angry and at the very least he’s always nice to me. And I’m sympathetic because we’re all variations of him. We all have some simple choice we could make that would massively change our lives. The question is, what is it? Figure that out and then just make that choice instead of what you were choosing and do that until that becomes your habit. Voila. And yes, it really is that easy. It’s staying conscious of the choosing that’s the trick.

Now go have an awesome day and don’t hurl your emotions around on people for no good reason. Lead by example. And appreciate the roof over your head.

peace. s

Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #3

722 BY3-14 Relax and Succeed - I'm sorry for passing

Because I had started the year answering direct questions, that left me only six months to choose from and still it was difficult picking just three favourites. I had to leave out The Master and the Priest, Directing Your Life and Because We Love The Children. But that also means I really love the three I do get to bring you. And we’ll start off with this little piece of practicality: How about if we all just gave each other a little more room to be human? Enjoy.

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Winner: Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #2

peace. s

Scott’s Favourite Questions of 2014 #3

717 SFQ14 Relax and Succeed - You have no idea

The top posts of each year are selected by my readers and they’re posted in December. My selections for my favourites were traditionally posted then but I’ve realized it makes more sense to use my summer break to expose what I feel are some of the most useful pieces I’ve written. Because I took half of 2014 to answer direct questions from readers, I’ll do a week of Top 3 Questions and then next week I’ll do the Top 3 Posts. Today for question number three we deal with anger, tempers and how our family can influence us in extreme states of mind:

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Scott’s Top
Questions of 2014 #3

peace. s

Which Stress is Yours?

There are two types of stress. One is brought on by a set of conditions and the other is brought on by a set of thoughts. One is obligatory, one is voluntary. The first is quite natural but the second is a construct. In fact the second version didn’t even exist until language had progressed far enough to develop abstract terms like and time and achieve and complete. As much as it might seem like it, those are not things they are ideas. And when the Buddha refers to the illusion it’s those ideas he was referring to.

688 Relax and Succeed - The world is so constructedThanks to some lottery-win kind of incredible luck (coupled with a lot of really hard work) my entire life will drastically change this week. For a large chunk of time I have been under a great deal of time stress. The demands of my life mean I simply haven’t been able to afford more than four hours sleep each day, virtually every meal has been rushed, and if those two things were happening you can easily guess that I also haven’t been getting regenerative time with friends or family either. Laughing and relaxing are worth a lot. These things all constitute what we’ll call external physical stresses and they can carry quite an accumulative impact.

What I wasn’t doing was adding psychological stress on to my physical stress. That is to say, I accepted my workload and schedule as a fait accompli. It was simply going to happen. so I didn’t carry out my long day having any kind of argument with myself about the fairness, reasonableness or danger of it. I could have, but I just took the step in front of me. Sometimes that step was to plan for 50 steps ahead, but after the plan was created I was back to the step I was on.

688 Relax and Succeed - Stop focusing on how stressed you areOf course I would stray off that path relatively regularly, especially when I was particularly tired or hungry. But my emotions—the bad ones, the ones I don’t like—would occur and I would immediately check in as to their source. Of course the chemistry I feel is the chemistry I’ve asked for with my thinking. If I’m sitting thinking worried or anxious or angry or sad thoughts about my situation then I am dumping the chemistry out for different flavours of stress. So if I’ve asked for them I shouldn’t be surprised that I got them.

The sensation—the emotions I didn’t like—was what signalled me to go quiet and accept my physical stress. Psychological Stress is always self-created and voluntary. That’s not to say it isn’t useful to experience at times, but overall it’s quiet debilitating to people and it’s generally best to avoid it.

Believe in yourself. Don’t argue with your hills. Look forward to how your greatness will conquer them. Sense your own victory as though it has already happened and then just carry out the motions. Any suffering is only thinking.

Now go have yourself a wonderful day.

peace. s

Joining the Mob

I’m not sure how much the awful event made the news around the world, but here in Canada there was a nationally discussed news story that went viral on social media. It involved a new and meaningless trend that started with young men at sports events and has, like a virus, even infected some women and children now. At these events the young men would interrupt female reporters on-air with a meaningless, unnecessarily cruel sexual comment/threat. Sometimes the remark is even chanted by groups.

684 Relax and Succeed - We survive by pulling togetherThere’s no way getting around that it’s sexual harassment and that it represents the underbelly of human behaviour. I’m not judgmental in the sense that I deem things as good or bad. But if we’re seeking value from our own life experience then the worst thing you can do is be meaningless. For someone to suffer for nothing to be gained is the worst deal in the universe. The fact that these guys made a deal that bad is an indication that they have not been taught to grow through self-examination and healthy critical thinking.

In this particular case a young female reporter is doing her story on the season opener for her local professional soccer (football) team. Several men in fan team jerseys stop to make the vulgar, meaningless comment/threat but this time she turns the tables (and the camera) on the men and she pressures them to explain themselves. Their explanations are pathetic to say the least and they only serve to get themselves into even deeper trouble.

How in this day in age they don’t make the connection that they are being filmed seems remarkable but they hand-feed the reporter a story that was absolutely certain to go viral. Indeed the men look like complete fools and it is difficult to muster any sympathy for them at all. But as is my natural habit, I took a moment to be those men. At that point sympathy still didn’t come, but some empathy did.

684 Relax and Succeed - Don't judge someone just becauseMost of us have heard the story of the woman who sent the quick admittedly racist tweet about not getting AIDS in Africa because she’s white. She says she was actually mocking white privilege and there’s a lot of reasons to believe her, but even if her racism was intended as satirical, you will be inclined to agree with her that it was one of the worst choices she’ll likely ever make. She lost her job. She was vilified on mainstream and social media. She lost most of her friends and she had to hide for her safety. And of course she’ll always be her.

Another woman who has a history of attracting attention to herself by finding things to be offended by, tweeted a photo of two men she’d overheard telling dirty jokes. You can not like dirty jokes but offenses we feel inside our heads are our problem not other people’s. If the two men wanted to talk to each other like that and she chose to listen in to a private conversation then any issues she has are now her responsibility. But that’s not the politically correct belief today. You’re supposed to not like anyone who lives to a standard you deem beneath yours. So since that’s the current cultural standard, she instead she took their photo and tweeted about them. The tweet wasn’t even very serious. A light reprimand. But one of the two men—a father of three—lost his very hard to replace job because of it. When that came out on social media a group just as ugly as the one that attacked the man was suddenly attacking the woman. She ended up losing her job as well and she was so concerned by threats she’d received that she felt compelled to get security for her house.

684 Relax and Succeed - Repeating a rumorAnd just recently a man was in a mall. He had never taken a selfie and when he saw a Darth Vader cut-out he thought that it was the perfect time. A lady’s kids watched him while he took it. He explained he was going to send the picture to his teenage daughter because she’d always wanted him to take one. The kid’s mother—watching from a distance—entirely misread the situation and posted a photo of the man, identifying him as a creep that was talking to her kids. He had to go to the police for protection.

And you don’t need social media for this. I know tons of women who’ve been gossiped about by insecure men as though they have had kinky sex with someone when in fact they’ve never had sex at all. This violates the woman in a terrible way. You cannot unscramble a scrambled egg. Her life will be changed and it’s reprehensible. I also know lots of men who’ve been accused by an angry ex of violence they did not commit, and that’s dangerous because it muddies the water for the very serious cases of actual abuse that require attention. In the end the source of the information doesn’t matter. It’s our reaction to it that does the damage.

If it’s someone you actually know and the accusation is serious you obviously should look into it. Get the other person’s version of events and then proceed with an open mind. But when it’s strangers we’d better be careful about casting stones because you have to ask yourself: is there even one of us who couldn’t have this happen at least once or twice in our lives? Catch us on the wrong day, or after too much to drink or you’re too tired or grumpy? Everyone has said things they didn’t think were smart after-the-fact. But if we’re going to start punishing people with death threats and income losses then we would be wise to consider where we want that line to be.

684 Relax and Succeed - In the end we will rememberWhy did I feel empathy for the guy? Because if someone was recording me enough I’m sure they could find some moments where I wasn’t at my best. But also because some particularly cruel gossip lead me to be wrongfully attacked very seriously, I am somewhat aware of how that man’s life will change. Before I could even write this he’d lost his $106,000+ a year job. Worse is he’ll lose friends, and even more friends will insist that others not be his friends either. He’ll face vandalism, violence, he’ll get spit on, called names and it will be very hard to get a job. If he has a wife or girlfriend they’re likely to see serious problems develop in the relationship and situations like this can see people estranged from their kids and some even lead to suicide. In the case of the reporter-taunting troglodytes, that guy will have his life, his schedule will all change. His list of normal things to do will all have to change and that is just as traumatic for someone who’s done something stupid as it is for a refugee. You are in a new world that you have no familiarity with and as-yet no relevant coping skills. It can be quite terrifying.

I really despised what he said. I really thought it was terrible. But along with the reporter I found that price too high. A sincere public apology would have sufficed and been sincere. Because if that’s the price, then I would suggest we all look more closely at our own lives. Because you can be a regular church-going grandmother and I guarantee there will still be moments in your life that you would not want the world to see.

684 Relax and Succeed - It would seem strangeBut now the world can see almost everything. So as Rabbi Julius Gordon suggests, we should employ love. Because “Love is not blind—it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.” The world doesn’t need more perfect behaviour because everyone has a different idea of what that is and we could argue about where that line should be forever. That’s what government is. Does that look wise or efficient to you? So since that’s effectively impossible I would suggest that we all just relax a bit. Because the flip side of acceptable behaviour is greater tolerance. And since that’s spiritually, emotionally and mentally good for you as well, it seems a much better response than revenge or vigilantism. If you really want to help in cases like this one, don’t attack the perpetrator with more unpleasant behaviour. But if you see a friend participating in meaningless, damaging action toward anyone or anything, then offer your influence. Steer them toward a more rewarding life. That’s just being a good friend.

In the social media debates that followed this event a good friend whose judgment I trust disagreed on the man losing his job. In considering his points I have reconsidered my opinion on this matter. While I don’t think we can start doing this en masse, in a case like this it does seem reasonable that the public would need some very strong and public examples to demonstrate that the public standard has changed and that if people want to work well with others then these are adjustments that should be made. I still feel sorry for the guy who’s going to be an example for millions, but life has its tragedies and we all get our share. At least by getting through it we grow.

The next time you hit share don’t just immediately want to, but pause to ask yourself if you should based on who you truly are. And do the same with gossip. If you’re going to share anything, tell good stories about people. Because there are way more of those anyway and that will paint a much more accurate picture of the world around us.

Now go have yourself an awesome nonjudgmental day.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #63

661 OP Relax and Succeed - It is never too late

I don’t think many people will actually read this as meaning that they can become a brain surgeon at 94 years old. But at the same time they may not really ask themselves in a profound way what the statement actually means. Too many times I will ask people about quotes they use and when pressed they will realize that they’ve never really thought about what the quote would mean in their life. It’s easy to use some superficial meaning like a slogan or a cheerleader for your new life direction but it’s a different thing to ask yourself, why was the quote even uttered? What this quote indicates is that there is never a time during an event or a time in your life where you cannot become any version of yourself that you choose. A person who has never stood up for themselves in their life can suddenly do it any day of their life—any day they choose. An angry person can choose a calmer, kinder path. Sad people can abandon debilitating thought patterns and choose to shift to seeing themselves as healthy rather than in-need of repair. You can become more compassionate. You can become more patient. You can become more affectionate. You can become more trusting. You can change yourself in any way you choose because you have always been and you always will be simply a collection of beliefs. So if you change the beliefs you have about yourself then you will change your life. And it’s never too late to start. Why not now?

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous to tricky to ambiguous, and while I intend no offence to their creators, I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Recoupling

A lot of my student/clients are struggling marriages. If I’m given enough time and they are both genuine and earnest enough to allow me to take them through a process, then only one of two outcomes takes place. Either they fall back in love, or things end shortly thereafter.

??????????????????????????????????????????I consider myself successful either way because I don’t save marriages, I show people the way to have enjoyable, rewarding lives. If the relationship actually makes it unnecessarily difficult for the participants—including kids—to enjoy life, then the raised awareness of either one or both partners leads them to take action. They will be less interested in preserving their legal status and more invested in circumstances that are more conducive to healthier, happier living for both partners, be that together, alone or with different partners.

Even if you’re going to stay together and have a fun, successful relationship, you still need to know how to get through rough times. Those are inevitable. You need to know what they feel like, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to recognize the fact that you’re usually happy. Fun times are easy, but when you’re experiencing them actually take some time to pay real attention to how your mind is processing events.

You’ll see that your optimistic view has you noting many opportunities for you to be happy. By contrast a person creating negative feelings will be able to sit in the same context and notice nothing but what’s lacking or wrong. So the most important starting place for any couple is for it to be made up of two people who are genuinely dedicated to their own happiness. Not structureless, self-indulgent pleasures, but a rather a 627 Relax and Succeed - We're all entitledgenuine appreciation for the value of rest, recouperation and the space for creativity to take place in—be that time, space or both.

Sure, if someone’s got cancer or whatever then they get to be a bit needy and surivival is good enough, we don’t need to add to their struggles by holding them to some super-high standard for happiness. We all have tough times like that. That’s when love kicks in and carries the most weight. But other than those times where you simply need love and support, a central relationship responsibility is to your own happiness. If you can’t do that then there’s no point in complaining to a partner. People don’t make other people happy. People can ultimately only make themselves happy.

If you know how to be happy then you will have many go-to thoughts to jump toward that can be far more pleasant than the ones that go with a bad marriage. To escape to higher-frequency busy thoughts you need to be able to recognize that you are lost. Fortunately our emotions do a great job of signalling us because the angier we get the louder we get. And once we’re angry we’re not fighting the point anymore because making a point doesn’t require hurling insults. Wanting to win against someone—that can quickly degrade into name-calling and cheap shots. 

So if you hear your voice raised, then it’s a virtual guarantee that you are locked in ego and doing things that are likely to run contrary to your larger objectives. You are far better to take your chemical-filled blood and yell back, “I can tell by the fact that I’m ?????????????????????????????????????????????????yelling that I’m saying things I may not mean and so I’m going to take this anger, go outside for a walk to calm down so that I can talk to you about this more constructively because we both deserve that…!” That’s actually helpful; to just announce that you’re lost and then try to create a delay until your consciousness can settle a bit. As angry as they may be, the other person will recognize you’re attempting to be genuinely helpful to the situation. If both parties are on board then that’s the best possible scenario.

Once people have calmed down they generally don’t need any help. They fell in love without help. They just need assistance seeing each other. So know that angry temporary blindness or fears will cause us to miss important details and react in counterproductive ways. So as much as possible just delay your relations with others until both parties are more able to be genuinely constructive. Do that and you will reduce the amount of resentment moving forward, and that is what will keep your relationship healthy: leaving the past in the past and searching for the best possible present. It’s always there to do.

Enjoy your day.

peace. s