The Friday Dose #117

953 FD Relax and Succeed - This is why the dog is happierYou’ve got big problems. You need big solutions. It can feel like that, but there are no problems and there are no answers. There’s just stuff you can’t work on or there’s solutions you are working on, the rest all happens in your consciousness.

A while back I put up a video somewhat similar to this one. It ended up having one of the highest share rates of any video on my blog. There are now very few opportunities for your mind to do truly mindless things. I know it can feel like that’s all you do at work sometimes but there is actually a lot of mind in all that mattering. What you need is something meaningless.

Watching and listening closely to something that has no purpose and no point can at first seem strange. We’re not used to focusing on things that don’t immediately have meaning to us, but what if that’s the equivalent of staring into a fire after a long day? What if that’s the meditation all of us sacrificed as we prayed at the altar of efficiency? What if mindlessness is actually the answer to creating the opportunities for mindfulness?

Empty your mind. Watch it. And listen to it. All of it. It’s a measly 1:23 of your life. Keep watching it until you can relax watching it. Keep watching it until you lose your sense of your Self and all of your troubles and instead just be here, now, and observe and listen. You have no dog in this race. Your only job is to be:

Have a great weekend 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.

Healing Animals

932 Relax and Succeed - When I look into the eyes of an animalWe all want to feel better. We all seek solutions to problems or to better ourselves in some way. We want to see life advance and grow and expand and we want to deal with people and situations that will permit or even encourage that growth. We see the challenges associated with money, status and power but we recognize almost none regarding peace.

Peace of Mind is an actual state. You have no resistance, no struggle, no distance, no desire. You are completely fine with the world as it is. You accept it and there isn’t even any classification of things let alone full narratives about them. You are clear and present in the moment–the most peaceful and beautiful place to be.

When we’re locked in ego we’ll tend to try to use ego to get back to peace, which you can’t really do. You can’t try your way into peace you have to relax your way in. It’s an act of letting go. A good example is a young lady who has been walking her dog in front of my house for several years now. She used to be very happy but now she has many problems.

932 Relax and Succeed - Learn a lesson from your dogBack when she’d first got her dog the dog was the center of her life. It got played with in the park, he was always looked at and talked to. Dogs are great because they’re a pack animal that is brilliant at forgiving and it’s like they’re just always waiting for something great to happen. She used to love watching him spot a squirrel or another dog he was excited to see. Now she’s mostly upset.

She’s a teenager now so her parents got her a phone. Presumably this is about connectivity with her family and friends and that’s all understandable and yet, being a tool, she’s learned to think of her tool as her answer instead of herself. So before she had the phone she got half an hour off each evening for a nice peaceful dog walk. Now the dog walks ignored alongside her while she mostly argues with people via her phone via earbuds that block the world out.

Sometimes she walks by talking to someone about some offense she’s experienced, sometimes she’s texting with a worried or angry look on her face. She used to smile and say hello to many neighbours previously, but these little doses of happiness have been forgone in favour of the phone. Those dog walks used to create great happiness within her but now her what’s next? brain is waiting for happiness to be delivered to her via the external world.

932 Relax and Succeed - The vital function that pets fulfillMeanwhile the dog is still there, ignored but very present. He notices the neighbours every time he passes. She can walk past some amazing things and not even notice she’s done it. So the purpose of her wanting the dog was wanting companionship and the dog did that really well. The phone was also a request for increased companionship in a way, but if you were to look at the results the way a scientist would, it seems crazy that the phone would go on the walks because it almost always leads to frustration or worry or sadness whereas the dog never did.

Now she’s locked into an external world where she’s fighting an external battle for status or money or power or love. These are all gains of the ego. Her spirit could easily be happy with just the dog. There’s a lot of evidence that the dog would do the same thing as before if she only paid it some attention. He still has the same demeanour, he still watches her hoping she’ll interact. He still believes in her. It’s her that doesn’t believe in her.

If you have a pet then consider spending more time with it as a spiritual exercise. Watch how the animal reacts to the world relative to you. Watch how you feel when you’re with it. Just like any good guru a dog will always be willing to join you in the moment you are in if you are willing to abandon your thoughts about other places and other times.

Look into your fellow creature’s face. See your old friend there. They’re waiting for you to come to them so they can heal with you. Join them.

pees. 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 Friday Dose #82

If you need cuteness today; I have baby animals. I’ll amaze you with details about the fact that Baby Boomers were raised during a period of time where it was actually considered a bad thing to show love to your children! And because I haven’t put on much music lately I’ll offer you a fine distraction below. It’s likely to get your feet tapping, so if you need a pick-me-up then turn up your volume and dance. Let’s start off with the link to those cute baby animals. And here’s a link to the site of the photographer above. I recommend taking a look. She’s really good. (Tanya Stollznow)

Baby Animals!

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Next we’ll hit an absolutely incredible documentary on parenting by the gang at This American Life. Both parts are about love, but one takes place in the life of an adopted family and the other is about a boy with severe autism. These families will inspire you with their incredible strength and capacity for love, but even more than that you will be amazed by the world that so many of the people you know grew up in. A world where love for children was seen as dangerous:

This American Life: Unconditional Love

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Cute, incredible, fun. That’s our order. So after cute animals, after amazing tales about how different parenting was only a short time ago–we get music. Music by Amy Helm called, Didn’t it Rain:

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Remember: love is newer than you think it is. Give people a break if they’re still just starting to figure it all out. And have yourself a stellar weekend.

peace. s

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

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The Friday Dose #27

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. Enjoy.

Today’s Dose is all about the sort of conceptual art that bends your brain and really gets you to see the world in a new and different way. This is my favourite part about art—I love the way it can use its perspectives to allow us to see things we normally miss, but that the artist themselves do not. It’s almost as though they have magically slowed the world down so that we can see the everyday magic that they do.

437 Relax and Succeed - Slinkachu - Wet n Wild

This first piece is called the “Little People Project,” and these little dioramas are tiny pieces of street art intended to encourage city dwellers to be more aware of their surroundings, and of themselves. I like how they also make some social commentary, like the family who is so focused on living a life of luxury and enjoyment that they fail to notice that their financial future is heading right down the drain, or the smoker who must face how much he actually consumes in a lifetime. Good art makes you think and every Slinkachu piece challenges your beliefs about something you take for granted. And even if you aren’t one of the people represented, just imagine how you’d act if you knew this artist was working in your city. Wouldn’t you be walking around less in your own head and thoughts and more on an awareness of the outside of you? And even if this artist wasn’t working in your city, what kind of treasures might you find if your mind was less engaged with talking to itself about itself, and more engaged with noticing what’s going on around it:

Slinkachu – Little People

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437 Relax and Succeed - Giraffes by Jan Pelcman

This… this just makes you want to hug and cuddle:

Cute Animal Parenting

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This is, quite simply, an extremely clever use of light, shadow, music, dance and performance:

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The world is a fantastic, varied, wonderful and amazing place. If you’re spending too much time inside your own personal thinking, then maybe it’s time to get healthier by spending less time on trying to be healthy and more time on just engaging with your own interests and natural passions. Life is not for working hard, life is not about getting ahead. There is no getting ahead. I’ll tell you how this ends for sure: you die. So go live in the meantime. There’s too much life out there for you to spend your entire existence trapped inside your head bouncing around in between your own fearful or limiting thoughts. Live your life by exercising your freedom to choose the experiences which bring value to your life. This is the ultimate expression of your individuality. Enjoy.

peace. s

Being Human

More comment than question: I find it interesting that even if the question has no relationship to my life I still always learn something important in every one of your answers. It always seems like there’s at least one or two sentences where I think, ‘wow I never thought of seeing it that way.’ I just wanted to say thanks.

signed,
Grateful Reader

Dear Reader,

Thank you so much! What writer wouldn’t like a compliment like that? And if you don’t mind, I would like to use your comment-not-question as a jumping off point for a discussion about something important. Something you referred to when you noted that every blog—regardless of the relevance of the question—seems to be helpful to you. I hear that all the time. And it speaks to how much the same we all are.

422 Relax and Succeed - Your emotions shouldn't be dictatingPsychological understanding is based on the fact that each psyche will be logical. What’s different are its available routes of thought, which are dictated by experience, and included in that will be how bold or timid someone might be, how informed about relevant information, how well they might reason, and what they might value. But they will all process their information in the same way everyone else will. They will feel whatever they think and they will mistake their beliefs for universal truths just like the rest of us do when we’re in a state of ego. Despite our differences, we are all the same in how we create our egos.

The range of human feeling that we refer to as emotions are fabricated from language. Fear is primal—it keeps us alive. It is a feeling. Anger is fear turned aggressive and this is used to attack for defensive purposes and possibly for acquiring food. Love is what breeds compassion and care which leads to survival which leads to continuing this adventure which is, deep down, the point. But we share all of our feelings with most of the rest of the world, animals included. Emotions are distinctly human and they emerge from the complexities of language.

The very thing that we proudly display as what separates us from animals, is the same thing that makes the animals healthier than us. Because worrying that there might be a bear near where you’re hunting is one thing. But being afraid that your boss will yell at you because you were late because your daughter threw up on you just before you left for work—well that’s something entirely different. One is about literally not existing and the other is about clashing in imaginary psychological space. And yet language causes us to use the same neuro-chemicals for 422 Relax and Succeed - I am in charge of how I feelboth. One can kill us, the other is just something we imagine, and yet we walk around treating them equally simply because our biology hasn’t caught up to our ability to invent things like words, abstract concepts and languages.

We have to stop seeing ourselves and others as the individual thought patterns we were trained to be by experience. Yes, this sets your initial course. But as soon as you are actively conscious you can choose your direction. You can shape your personality. To surrender that idea as though it is impossible is to be like the guy who throws his frozen computer out the window, as though the hardware is the problem rather than the software. We can always introduce patches to the software. But we should look at other people as processors of information with filters made of belief systems, and because we ourselves are looking through a similar distorting lens, we find are left completely unable to find a fixed place to judge from, and so once we have that realization we can relax into simply being. There’s nothing wrong anymore. There is no way to judge. Things just are. It’s stunningly healthy.

I appreciate you sending in the generous compliment. But I also appreciate that it fed nicely into something I’ve been looking for a question on, because I think it’s an important principle worthy of everyone’s consideration: emotions confuse and misguide life, being guided by feeling leads to an authentic life. It’s worth being able to tell the difference.

Thanks again for the kind words.  Have yourself a wonderful day, week, month and year.

peace and love, s

The Friday Dose #9 – Brave New Worlds

It’s a cool week. I get to put a lot of really interesting stuff in the Dose each week. But I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited about a week. Because there’s a lot of people bitching and a lot of people lost and a lot of people hurting, but overall the world is moving in a wonderful, beautiful, marvellous direction. And today we’re looking at two signs of that progression. Isn’t it exciting to be living through a renaissance!

329 Relax and Succeed - In zen the important thingI’ll start off with an absolutely wonderful article from Psychology Tomorrow Magazine. In it the writer writes about a man whose life was very different from, and yet in many ways almost exactly the same as, my own. His route was extremely similar from an internal perspective, but I find it fascinating how he had virtually identical internal experiences and yet they were created by external circumstances that were remarkably different. Certainly every quote from him in the article is something I either have said or would feel entirely comfortable saying (although I actually can fill in some of the remaining blanks noted). I sometimes work with my friend Christina, and I can’t help but think that she has/will laugh when she reads it because his points sound so much like me. It’s a great article and it points to a brighter future for our world. Enjoy:

The Neuroscience of Suffering – And Its End

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You may have seen a recent Scientific American article talking about how we’re learning that elephants are much smarter than we realized. I can’t help but wonder if the elephants are learning we’re not as smart as they thought. 😉

329 Relax and Succeed - All animals deserve protectionWe have to change our ideas of Human Beings being masters of this Earth. There’s no reason for us to believe that except hubris. Because we can talk and manage energy to the point where we can overrun the planet does not mean that we own it. Who were we to put up fences? Who were we to invent the idea of property? Pretty bold. But we’re hitting a wall in numerous ways. And people can feel it. They’re looking for something real. Something intense and beautiful and unrecreatable. They want life to be more of a Mandala, where they can intricately build aspects of themselves and then destroy them in order to engage in the act of creating another. We’re getting less interested in things and status and more interested in experiences. This is a good thing.

As regards the video: I remember seeing this guy many years ago, before he’d learned as much as he knows now. By using his own experience rather than other people’s teaching, he found new ways to approach old ideas. In the end his discoveries seem inevitable. It would be counter-intuitive to even consider that he might be wrong. It just makes sense. And it makes you wonder what this world will look like if we all start raising all the world’s children to have this level of connection capability. It’s one of the best videos on the internet. Enjoy:

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Have yourself a wonderful weekend.

peace. s

The Friday Dose #5: The Seal of Approval

305 Relax and Succeed - Do more of what makesOkay, so today we’ll have some fun. We’ll look at uplifting, heartwarming and just plain enjoyable ideas.

We’ll start with a breakdown of some very good relationship habits. Anyone can pick at or quibble with any argument in life, but there’s a beautifully simple logic at the heart of these suggestions. We have to stop asking our partners to fix our relationships and we have to figure out how to be more actively positive participants in our own lives. Our love is a verb and we need to exercise it within our relationships. So here for your perusal is a listing:

10 Habits of Happy Couples


305 Relax and Succeed - Every momentHere’s an example of how we forget that animals kill for food, or to protect food, or protect something from becoming food. But it’s in an animal’s nature to be connected. I’ve actually had an experience myself while vacationing on Salt Spring Island where a group of small deer emerged from the woods and literally pressed their bodies against me. One even gently took a slice of apple I was holding between my teeth. The experience was so moving it brought both me and the woman watching to tears. I’m not sure either one of us will see something more purely beautiful than that ever again. I still don’t know why all those deer wanted to lean their necks and heads and bodies against me—I’m just extremely grateful it happened because it is literally a highlight in an already remarkable life. I found this video very touching because it brought such vivid memories of that day back to me:


And finally here’s an absolutely wonderful approach to what can be presented as a sad and challenging problem. Yes, there are always pets that can challenge us beyond reasonable capacity, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do all we can for those that can be
reached. Animals bring a certain truth to people’s lives. There is no real guile or complication to an animal. They are straightforward in their needs and somehow that clarity often helps them bring the best out in us. So we can look at these things as problems in life, or we can see them as opportunities to spread more love around the world:


There are a lot of beautiful things going on in this world. It’s easy to be angry or frustrated or outraged. But it’s also easy to be happy, engaged and enthusiastic, so look for those opportunities actively. They don’t land on the laps of lucky people. Lucky people are just the people who are most conscious about choosing to focus their consciousness on the things they like about life. And any of us can do that. I hope you’ll join us.

Have a wonderful weekend.

peace. s

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