Internal Interventions

You have done the meditations and you’ve started to learn the act of switching emotions, the patience to decide if the emotion should be changed or experienced, and then you’ve gotten to know how your emotions impact your physical self so that you have clear indications of when you’re happy and when you’re otherwise.

872 Relax and Succeed - Dear uncertaintyWe’ve talked about using your posture, a smile, a tone of voice, a manner of walking–that would all incite activity in the parts of your brain where you’re better wired up for happiness. This is like when they teach little kids to have a happy place. As we’ve discussed, you can have some go-to thoughts that you like, but don’t go adding to your negative narrative if you miss the opportunity to take those reigns.

You have to learn several things: a general awareness of yourself, an emerging understanding of how your psychological self emerges within your physical being, and the possibility and wisdom of making those changes. Changes that may have been otherwise seen as needing external intervention rather than internal intervention.

It is still perfectly useful to you to become aware of an emotion in this way and not do anything about it. If you’re initially upset you didn’t escape your unnecessary bad feelings then that means you have fully accepted that you can change them–you just haven’t refined your switching or your acceptance. Just your awareness is a bigger part of this than you realize.

Yes, the change feels really nice pretty much immediately, but even when you make it you’ll be on tilted ground. If anyone did anything that you felt exacerbated your issue, your recovery might well slide backwards immediately. That’s fine too. I want you to come to know this landscape. To slow it all down so you can see it more naturally. This is where you really live.

872 Relax and Succeed - Those who don'tAs you study yourself your knowledge grows and you will find yourself intervening–sometimes in surprising ways. These weren’t things you calculated with brain knowledge, but more the things you know through a more immediate wisdom. It knows what to do in a profound way, but it does need access to the steering wheel. If your ego is busy trying to steer around pain then it can hog the wheel all the way until you fall asleep. And in the end it won’t avoid any pain, but all that useless weaving will create a lot of suffering.

See the “emotional you” as someone who is very simply addicted to the chemistry for their Dominant Negative Emotion. It’s why people with an abusive parent will date abusive people, or even why people will frighten themselves intentionally etc. Everyone’s hunger for each chemical varies, but our Dominant Negative Emotion is one worth doing an intervention with.

By changing or even muting that emotion some percentage of the time you will instill in yourself this capability. Over time it will become so ordinary and everyday that instead someone will describe your ability as your personality. You’ll be referred to as extremely patient, or extraordinarily compassionate or forgiving, and that will feel good. But again, this isn’t about you looking good to others, it’s about you being authentic.

872 Relax and Succeed - If you want to liveIf you’re truly free then you won’t be as willing to bow to counter-productive social norms. Others might see you as difficult or arrogant, but really what’s happening inside is that you’re focusing on the things that matter. Yes, the wrapping paper says something. But that’s messaging. The contents are what ultimately count. It’s fine to wrap something up beautifully. But only if it isn’t to disguise the fact that it’s not really what it purports to be. People’s wisdom will eventually figure that out.

See your ego as more separate today. See it as a literal other person. Enhance that distance. It will help you see that your ego is your shadow. You can’t do things by changing the shape of your shadow–that’s all just spinning in place. You must alter what is happening within yourself. Therefore you will behave in a different way and thereby cast a different shadow. (The only question will be, what will you do when a healthy state for you gives you a shadow you’ve historically avoided..?) 😉

Spend today and tomorrow focused on body awareness and listening to your ego as a separate entity. Catch yourself a few times doing each and you’ll have done well. I know some of you have post-it notes to remind you at your desks, so if you’re serious about doing these meditations you will already have advanced your awareness considerably. You deserve to feel very good about that. Now go create a great day.

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.

Separate Realities

It wasn’t until my massive insight while living in Budapest that I realized the rest of you were taking your thoughts seriously. That answered a lot of questions about why people did what they did. But it also presented some new questions like; is there a way to bridge those realities?

743 Relax and Succeed - Life is a single tatamiThe simple answer is: yes. you can bridge them with any genuine connection. The Greeks had a lot of words for love because it could arrive as romance or it could arrive as a friend’s wisdom (which is separate from people’s advice). Or love could come in the form of brotherly support, motherly care, a stranger’s compassion, a partner’s tolerance, a sexual connection with a lover, or the meaning in a work of art—these are all forms of love.

Whether it’s sexual and we’re literally inside each other, or whether it’s over space and time and we are connected to an artist via a work of art, we are connected. At that point we do not see difference. We perceive that they are experiencing the same thing as us. We are sharing an experience.

The universe has fractured into definitions. Our subject and object view of the world keeps creating greater and greater sub-definitions. We find more out in space and more in the sub-atomic world. We find new diseases and species. We discover past discoveries have been wrong and we split them into new categories. We file and sort and define and order and value. So when we look at people it’s easy to sort them, file them and then react to that instead of to the person we actually see in front of us.

Don’t make your spirituality something separate from your day. Don’t make the management of your psychology something you only do when you’re suffering. Become conscious instead. It feels wonderful and it allows you to steer past so many obstacles that you would otherwise collide with. But to do that you have to surrender labelling the world for being present within it.743 Relax and Succeed - Pain is psychological

We know love as a feeling. We can quiet our thoughts when we’re enthralled in love. Well we can do the same thing with peace or with silence or with the present moment. They are also things that can so fully occupy our being that we don’t have room to construct a personal identity to have personal thoughts. We are simply having an experience. There’s no one having it. It’s just an experience experienced.

As you move through your day try to genuinely connect with the people you engage with. Don’t talk to them as a role or an identity or from a role or identity. See them in that moment as though you were told they were going to surprise you somehow today. Watch for the surprise. Be awake. It will change you.

It’s hopefully for 70-100 years. Accept that this play we’re all performing in requires us all to have separate roles—separate ways of seeing the world. Life is the interaction of those views. Things aren’t going wrong when we tangle with others for better or worse. The tangling is what it is to be alive. And when you accept that and make friends with where you are and the moment you’re in, you’re life changes dramatically.

Endeavour to be conscious. It’s not hard and it’s easily worth it. You’ll have more energy, clarity, emotional control and you’ll end up happier in the end. And you are easily worth that and more.

Have an awesome day.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #60

646 OP Relax and Succeed - Dear self

Dear Self, this me talking to myself. So why is I asking me to accept me? That question eats itself. Does an eye see itself? Does a tooth bite itself? Now loving yourself you can do. But that isn’t a discussion I has with me where one officially approves of the other and gives it compliments. Self Love is when you feel that the enjoyment of your own life is actually a priority. That you are worth leaving bad relationships for, that you are worth doing nice things for, or having good people love you just because you’re you. As for making the right choices, there are no right choices. There are only choices you make and their consequences. But those get much easier when your head’s not full of conversations between I and me. What is good for you is what feels right at the time—not in a pleasure or escape way, but in a way where you feel strong and capable and confident and authentic. And as for being alone, none of us are truly alone. That’s just you not loving yourself. Because none of us are actually really here in the sense that we’re truly separate. We are literally made of atoms that used to be stars and comets and the Earth itself and all of the beings on it. And all of the connection that goes with that reality is powerful. You are literally an aspect of the universe itself. How could you be more connected than that? How could you be more desired than the universe itself literally took the time to assemble literally trillions of others atoms—as many as there are stars in the known universe (yes, seriously)—into little old you. You’re that intentional. You were wanted that badly that all of that work was done just so that you could exist. So don’t waste that existence having those atoms talk to each other about whether or not they’re acceptable or worthwhile. Your existence guarantees your value. So stop spinning in place trying to be worthy and get out there. The universe needs you. If you need more help on this, check out the third video on Friday Dose #58. That’s the truth. And from one aspect of the universe to another, let’s start off Monday like this: I love you. Unequivocally. Without changes, improvements or betterment, I can see the light of the universe inside you. So don’t let other people convince you otherwise and don’t let yourself do that either. It’s an insult after how hard the universe worked to make sure single individual you even existed. So use that existence wholeheartedly. Don’t spend all your time trying to get love when you are filled with love. Be the verb of giving all of that away. It feels wonderful and you can do it. Start today. Forget the self-flagellating. Smile and be. It’s that easy. It truly is. Love you. 😉

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 and—while I intend no offense 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.

The Friday Dose #55

620 Relax and Succeed - Use what talentsI’m pretty excited about today’s Dose. This should leave you feeling a lot more passionate about living in a way that truly suits your nature. So how about if we take about 20-30 minutes for some very enjoyable activity and literally come up with a plan to change the world? Okay, let’s start with—where are we now? Even though the crime rate has gone down steadily for about 40 years, all we see on the news is people treating each other terribly. Fraud’s, thefts, violence, murder and even rape. We all see enough of that. Instead, let’s use the best version of ourselves as a starting point. The problem with modern culture is that everyone is forced by their work to be disingenuous. Accountants will proudly state, “I can take a two million dollar profit and make it a four million dollar loss and still meet all the generally accepted rules of accounting.” Fancy words for lie. $4.99 is a lie. It’s five bucks. At a dealership it’s always so hard to get the price of the car! No one’s cooperating. Everything’s faking like these are genuine relationships, with first names and handshakes or even hugs, but this is no tribe that’s grown up together and would die for each other. In our system it’s literally structured based on the fact that each person is motivated fairly strictly by their own needs. So like a telephone, we lie through the numbers or words and other people pretend to listen to us for an entirely artificial conversation. So has anyone fixed that problem yet? This guy’s off to a pretty good start. 🙂

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Okay that was pretty cool. Do you see how already that felt so much better than the duplicitous version where the person or business pretends to be helpful? But that’s all a magician’s trick where it’s just to get you looking the other way so they can pad a charge somewhere. I know people try to stay in that healthy, respectful zone, but our social structures sort of force us into those roles as though we’re in a play and our role is the bad guy. Okay, so how do we become our own director? How do we take a healthy form of control so that we can use that energy in a focused way. Well this guy here has an absolutely beautiful encapsulation of what I do. I will still engage with certain things, but because I want to, not because I can’t control myself. This is brilliant. I really think this is going to add up to something, so think about sharing this page of videos. I really do want to change the world. Okay, so let’s here this young genius:

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Nice! Okay, so now we’re under control so we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves. Now what? Well, if we’re not engaging in much negativity then we’ll have a whack of energy to apply to other things, so how about we think about shaking that cage that makes us act in ways that we don’t feel good about? We have to remember that it’s not really a cage. It’s in our minds. All of these controls are only in our minds. Here’s a pretty inspirational video on breaking out. And I love that this is how farmers and artists and craftsmen live:

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Now that we’ve decided to dismantle what we had in order to build something better, what do we want to build? What are our aims? Well, we all would like to find a way to be in a physical and psychological place where it’s possible for us to really and truly love ourselves and our life. So let’s stop all the problems in the world. Gandhi is a pretty impressive role model, and we all know he said be the change you want to see in the world. Well some people are already modelling that behaviour.

I have some soul-close friends I’ve travelled the world with who attend Burning Man semi-regularly. We’re all planning a big trip with a large group of friends soon, but we need a lot of lead time because we really want to do something smart and spectacular. Because Burning Man isn’t like anything else. Burning Man is the future. And best of all, we can truly be our own uninhibited selves. Imagine if you actually felt so awesome acting in public the same way you only do when you’re dancing in front of your own mirror to your favourite song! True freedom. And you feel great about it because everyone around you is doing it too. And that combination of collective spiritual freedom of the soul is actually the culture of Burning Man.

Your joy and creativity in realizing your true self is what that culture is all about. So let’s change the energy for a minute and I’ll provide a list of videos that collectively will give you a good sense of why the festival is so unique and famous for how it feels. Here’s an overview so that all the super cool stuff will make sense. In many ways it really is the most important part. It’s the framework for the plan to save the world:

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Here’s a video that gives you and idea of what the festival actually looks like. And remember, this 60,000 person city rises up out of nowhere for one week and when everyone leaves you’d never know they were there. The art projects, the fantastic vehicles and the amazing costumes all flow into the culture and spirit and the whole place sort of feels like a church during a wedding—it’s just got such great energy. Consider joining us. We want the city to expand until it includes the entire world.

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And finally here’s a TED talk delivered by a seven year old about her experience at Burning Man. It’s from a seven year old, but at that age she does a fantastic job of capturing the key reasons why people love Burning Man. They also got a lot of great shots of some of the amazing things her and her dad saw. Here’s her talk and pictures:

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So are you with me? Let’s all start by not taking those bombs from people. It’ll take a while to remember to do it, but if you practice you’ll have it down in no time. And it leaves you with way more energy and enthusiasm. So think about how you would revolutionize your life. Even if you never go, actually plan a trip. Maybe even come up with some creative project. The whole point of Burning Man is that you start to actually wholeheartedly participate in your own life.

There’s so many great photographers at Burning Man, and I know I’ve mentioned him a few times before, but a favourite of mine is Trey Ratcliff. No one can sell anything from Burning Man, but Trey has a lot of other amazing work you’re very likely to find spectacular. Enjoy the site. They’re all as good as this but they vary widely so check it out:

TREY RATCLIFF

620 Relax and Succeed - Trey Ratcliff - The Dock in the Desert-X3

I’ll leave you with a link to a great collection of TED Talks about the various aspects of Burning Man. There’s also a great collection of documentaries on YouTube featuring various perspectives on the festival. As you look at them, do not think of those as ideas isolated out in the desert like a sanctuary. Instead take them into your world and breathe life into them with your own being. That would be very Burning Man. 😉

peace. s

PS 😉

Matthew Schoening

THE BURNING MAN GALLERY

peace. s

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. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help Enjoy. And please let me know if you bump into any broken links. Thanks!

The Law of Attraction

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year #10

There’s a lot of people wandering around out there with a confused idea about the Law of Attraction. Because it isn’t some tool to get what you want. Wanting is something egos do. This isn’t about you being conditionally happy. It’s not about a nicer house and a good stall for your luxury car. This is about deep and abiding peace. And you don’t need anything specific going on outside of you for that state of mind to exist within you. Remember, your life experience isn’t out there, your life experience is created when you process out there, in here. The reality you experience every day emerges from within.

614 Relax and Succeed - You do not attractSo this isn’t you imagining a nice house and then getting a nice house. That’s wish fulfillment and that’s deep in the heart of ego. No, this is about how you are in the world. This isn’t about you asking for stuff you want when you want it, this is about the verb of your life and what does it communicate?

So for instance my father is constantly helping other people and so he’s simultaneously the sort of person people enjoy helping. But that can’t be my dad’s goal. He can’t be manipulating what he gets. He has to almost be surprised by it, because he is so enveloped in genuinely being who he is. And that Isness—that way of being—is a vibration that exists in the universe and it helps us to find harmonizing frequencies. It’s why at parties all the sufferers and sick people tend to hang out together, and all the adventurers and entertainers tend to hang together, the jokesters and light-hearted tend to hang together, and all the judgmental gossipy people tend to hang together. They choose to think the same types of thoughts and like attracts like.

614 Relax and Succeed - There is a story they tellSo if you don’t have enough friends then it may simply be that you’re not being friendly enough. Or if you’re not meeting potential dates, then maybe you’re also not introducing yourself to them. Or if you don’t think people like you then maybe you should start with liking yourself. Stop being so judgmental and comparative and just be yourself fully and completely and without apology. That would have you in such a rare collection of people–and they share the most beautiful kind of beauty.

Complaining about the world doesn’t attract solutions it attracts other complainers. Being angry at another driver doesn’t make them drive better, it makes you drive worse. And you cannot yell at your kids and then ask them to speak respectfully back to you. We get what we give out. That’s how the Law of Attraction works.

Now go attract yourself an awesome day by being the awesome person you naturally are. 🙂

peace. s

Scott McPherson writes, speaks, and facilitates mindfulness training and relationship development with individuals, couples, families, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

The Authentic Life

I spent most of my adult life working in film and television, so using acting as a metaphor for life is very natural. In this case I’ll be using different types of actors as examples of how to live in a state of ego versus a state of being. I realize both “ego” and “being” might seem like nebulous terms, but hopefully this metaphor will resolve that in a way that is helpful to you.

The ego actor is a performer. He needs the audience’s approval. For him rehearsal is waiting, the ego actor is alive only in front of others. Acceptance, support and 597 Relax and Succeed - Truly healthy peopleapplause are very important to the process. This actor may be very, very talented through careful and dedicated study, but there will still be an important difference between them and the true artist.

I’ve known a lot of actors and like in most jobs, a small percentage were truly stellar. And not surprisingly, those actors were all very similar. They weren’t just super-talented, extremely authentic performers, but they also treat crews extremely well, and they’re generous with other cast members (whereas the ego actor wants to steal scenes). They’re in my experience generally loving, smart, supportive parents and I would rank them among some of the most compassionate and aware people I’ve met.

When I teach film I’ll often point my students to my friend Shaun as an excellent example of a true artist. I’ve used him before when talking about authenticity because his life demonstrates to students the most artful, skilled and sensitive approach to acting they could hope to have. Every time I’ve worked with him he is all about the work. He has so much personal character he would recommend his character come across worse if he felt it helped the production. He’s a team-player that comes up with excellent ideas and he makes everyone around him better.

597 Relax and Succeed - Be yourselfSo how does he actually do that? It’s because he’s completely about the performance itself. There is no Shaun in there. Shaun’s needs and agendas are gone and the production and the character’s needs prevail completely. This singular and powerful focus strips away all of his busy personal thinking in favour of him using every useful input to contribute to his being of the character. He’s not striving to be impressive, or seen as talented, or even just to be accepted, but all of that and more happens anyway because his performances are so wonderfully authentic.

So while the ego actor is trying to win over an audience the true actor is trying to most authentically realize a character and story and then whatever happens happens. Except one to his brother, Van Gogh didn’t sell a painting in his life. So why didn’t he change styles? Because he wasn’t painting for us. He wasn’t painting to sell. He was painting to explore. To delve. To know. And as Shaun’s strong career demonstrates, audiences can sense that focus on the work itself. They find the generosity of the performance to be magnetic. Meanwhile the clown has changed clothes and faces so many times no one can figure out who he is to see if they might possible like that person without all of his makeup and costuming on.

No matter what your job is, don’t perform through your life. It’s what egos do and we’ll all do it sometimes, but if you’re vigilant you can easily ensure you don’t do it often or for long. Then eventually it’ll just be your nature to be more natural.

597 Relax and Succeed -  There are people in your lifeSo don’t put on clown makeup and try to make people laugh. Don’t trip and fall for applause and don’t repaint yourself to be who the audience wants you to be. Don’t try to fit into what people want. Be more like the creative archaeologist. Uncover a brilliant example of what you’re doing and take your pleasure from the experience itself rather than from people’s approval. We’ll all love that.

Real artists don’t just make art. Some are lawyers and doctors and concrete workers and teachers. You can do anything authentically. And that’s always better. When the agenda is to achieve good ends for others we’re all okay. We get into trouble when we’re not focused on good ends but rather on struggling to ensure we’re acceptable to others. One is exhausting and the other is enriching.

Be an authentic actor in your life. Be true to yourself, trust that you’re always ending up in the perfect place and then don’t ruminate on the alternatives. You don’t need sequels or re-takes. You just need to leave your ego behind so that you can be fully and completely present for your all-too-brief time here on the stage of life.

Have yourself a wonderful, artful day.

peace s

Being Yourself

You need to really take a good hard look at how badly you want to be liked. Because that desire is what traps you in an egotistical state of mind. And it makes you ridiculously weak when that is not your nature. But you don’t act like yourself when you’re worried that you might make some social mistake that will threaten your very inclusion in the loving human family.

543 Relax and Succeed - Too many peopleI’m not saying that you can’t do things so heinous that the vast majority of people won’t turn against you, but those things almost never happen. In the end, what you perceive as some giant mistake on your part is generally just a blip in a day for most other people. But we don’t need to look at big things. We can demonstrate how scared you are using tiny things.

If you’re walking down a street and you’re going to pass another person going the other way, you’ll feel awkward about where to look and most of you will be too nervous to offer any kind of greeting. Did you get that? You’re an adult and you’re scared to say “hi” to people you walk past you on the street. Do you realize how frightened that is?

You won’t vacation where the cultures or languages are too far from your own, if you’re at an event and they request questions, you won’t ask one even if you truly do want to ask. You’ll be instantly nervous entering a room of strangers. You’ll do all of those things based on fears and yet there is no need for any of them. There is no need to tailor your personality (or likes and dislikes) to other people’s tastes. It’s childish. You are you. You have many aspects. But anyone else you try to be will have the tension of trying attached to it. If you simply enact yourself—if you simply be—you will find yourself right where you are and that’s exactly where you belong.

Start defending your life by standing up for yourself. This isn’t to say that it’s other people’s jobs to help you enact the life you want, but at the same time their judgments should not be standing in the way of you becoming the most developed version of yourself. People you care about will absolutely not approve of some of the things you’ll want to do naturally. That’s just part of life. They have their ideas and you have yours. But if they’re upset that’s their issue, not yours. It’s not your job to morph into whatever people need you to be in order for them to be happy. That’s extortion. You simply be yourself, and the people that love the real you will naturally show up. Authenticity is magnetic that way.

543 Relax and Succeed - Don't say maybeYou belong on this planet. Your very existence is all the proof we need that the universe wanted you here. So if you’re going to exist, you might as well maximize that opportunity. Be bold. Go after your dreams. And defend your life. You have a limited number of hours on this Earth to interact with the world. Do so with yourself fully invested in that knowledge—that your very existence is a fluky wonder—and use this magnificent opportunity to become everything that you naturally are, if you’d only take away the fears.

Stop with the fearful thoughts. Stop calculating downsides. Stop worrying. Feel strong. Advance your position. Be bold. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Seriously. It’s a choice. You make it moment by moment. Start living those moments with the firm knowledge that you are an amazing, worthwhile, intentionally created being with capabilities and talents that are valuable and some are even enjoyable. That’s truly you. So start living like that’s true because it absolutely is.

peace. s

Comforting Friends

We all love our friends. We care about how they feel. But when dealing with strong swings in their emotions we often will over-react in either one direction or another. If it’s someone we admire and respect we’ll find their struggles to be unnerving so we’ll want them to simply end. In those cases we’ll say that everything is going to be fine and we’ll offer a bunch of pat solutions—and some may even be true—but what we’ll really be doing is avoiding the fact that a mentor or parent needs us to meet them where they are and we don’t want to go to that weak place with someone we lean on.

264 Relax and Succeed - Talking about our problemsIf it’s someone we care about in a protective way—or if we feel beholden to the person—then we will be inclined to commiserate with them. We’ll let them tell us endless sad stories and we’ll share common-themed sad stories of our own. In a strange way we will encourage their painful feelings. Whether we don’t let them talk or do let them talk, neither of these approaches will lead to the best possible outcome for very logical reasons.

In the first case we have not met the person. Right when they are feeling weak and vulnerable we have made a demand: get over this. Accept a quick easy solution and tell me we can go back to you being the rock I hold on to when I’m scared. That person may be your rock 99% of the time. But it isn’t friendship if it can’t go both ways. So sometimes you might just have to accept that even life’s heroes will need tending. Even they will feel beaten and tired and even they will be driven to uncharacteristic behaviour. They’re not lacking in humanity. They have great respect for it, so they’ll be the ones that will apologize for their behaviour. And they will also forgive you for your judgment of them when they were merely being human.

In the second case the person’s situation is whatever it is. Talking about it or thinking about it won’t change that. What the person does will matter. So yes, unlike the first example commiseration at least meets people at the energy level they are capable of. But instead of leading the person out it actually helps to keep the person trapped. Healthy people think about something only long enough to plan their action or inaction. After that they drop it. That’s what being healthy is. Emotionally unskilled egos will replay events and chain them into past events or imagine them connected to future events. In short, the ego will sit and 264 Relax and Succeed - When someone is going through a stormruminate on what it wish had happened whereas a healthy spirit will take the action that makes the most sense and otherwise stay present and focused on the current moment.

There’s a reason that commiseration reaches a point where it doesn’t feel good. At that point you are no longer truly joined with the person nor are you usefully sharing their feelings. At that point you have disengaged and you are beginning to think about yourself. Your natural defence mechanism rises up and it wants you away from the negativity—hence the fact that you don’t like the feeling you’re feeling. This is when it’s time to turn your friend’s chemistry. This is when you begin to offer other frequencies of thought.

Their thoughts about the situation will be generating a lot of painful chemistry. Maybe they feel betrayal or frustration or anger or guilt. It doesn’t matter which chemicals—just focus on the fact that they don’t feel magnetic. They don’t feel encouraging. They’re not feelings you want to see continue. That’s your motivation. That’s your signal. That’s how your body communicates to you about your thinking. You feel what you think. So steer life away from unpleasant thinking and towards enjoyable thinking until eventually you can get to almost no thinking, just being.

So when you’re talking to your friend don’t tell them everything will be okay because from their perspective that’s like saying they’re crazy when they’re not. But also: don’t start ping-ponging sad or angry stories back and forth because that will really build up a tempest of unpleasant chemistry that can end up leading to some very poor decisions that may 264 Relax and Succeed - You can not save peoplepermanently affect your future.

Be with your friend. Just Be. There’s no right words at a time like that. There’s only love. So just sit there and focus on your love for them. Let them talk. And when it feels right remind them of the good things in their life. Remind them of great past events that grew out of crappy past events. Get their mind on thoughts that will provide more pleasant chemistry—thoughts that will heal them instantaneously because their thoughts are where their emotions are born. And by leading them to better chemistry you’ll lead them to higher perspectives that feel less foreboding.

Being sad or angry or hurt feels good for a time. But that time passes fairly quickly. Learn to help your friends shift to better quality thinking. The more you help them the more you’ll wire that concept into your own brain. You’ll just take it for granted that you can change moods quickly and easily. And because you know you can, you will. And just like people die deaths of a thousand tiny cuts, you will save yourself with a thousand tiny thought-shifts a day. That is why they call it a practice.

Don’t over-think painful experiences. That only continues their effect. Free yourself from unnecessary suffering and learn to help guide those you love to more enriching thinking. Don’t rush them. Don’t push with your thoughts. Just be patient. Trust me—when you’re in the right head-space, what-to-say will seem to come to you from out of nowhere. And when you hear it you will be just as amazed as the person you say it to. Because it will be that special kind of brilliant wisdom that can only come from the pure, infinite genius that is The Universe.

peace. s

The Settling Spirit

Andre Gide noted that, “The most decisive actions of our life—I mean those that are most likely to decide the whole course of our future—are, more often than not, unconsidered. Like a train into which one jumps without thinking, and without asking oneself where it is going.For instance, a dear friend of mine didn’t think she was doing anything important when she put her name on a list to help out at a charity event years ago. But it turned out her future husband was on the same list, and that’s how they met. Another man I met saved his own wife’s life using First Aid skills he learned through a course at work that he originally resented having to take.

106 Relax and Succeed - The tragedy of lifeKids in grade school want to be teachers, or firemen, or police, or an actor. There are no kids saying, “I want to be an accountant for the government,” or “I want to do math for an insurance company,” or “I want to repair office equipment,” and yet most of the jobs in the world are those kinds of jobs. Most people don’t choose a career path—rather a career path chooses them. Before you know it, you’re some high-level administrator or something, and you’re wondering, “how did I get here?” Even many marriages come to be in this oddly incidental way.

It’s like we’re busy juggling our lives, and someone walks by with another ball that sort-of matches the ones we already have, and so they throw it toward us. And without even really considering it, we just catch it and add it to our routine—but not because we want it. We add it only because it’s similar to the balls we were already juggling. It’s familiar. Before we know it our whole life is like that. We look up in our 40’s or 50’s and we see a bunch of things that match each other, but they don’t seem to match us, and we wonder why we’re even doing what we’re doing.

Whether it’s a divorce, losing a job, or even a health crisis, life will often present us with major and mandatory direction shifts. These can be seen as painful losses, or they can be viewed as remarkable opportunities. Either we can lament losing the incidental, accidental, inadvertent life we half-chose, or we can seize the opportunity to realise who we’ve become, and then use that wisdom to better match up our Being with our daily existence.

106 Relax and Succeed - When nothing is sureAs we age we get to know ourselves better. We slowly shed who we’ve accidentally become and we are left with who we really are. Then, when life suddenly wipes the slate clean with a death, divorce, or a job or health change, we can actually take that opportunity to write down a life that is more suitable to who we really are. This is why successful second marriages often test as happier than successful first marriages. This is also why many people feel their life didn’t start until after they got laid off from a long term job. Yes the transition can be painful, but to quote Gide again, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

Your life is mostly an accident. Very little of your life is choices, most of it is agreements. Someone offered you a job and you either took it or didn’t. Someone invited you out and you either said yes or you didn’t. So it’s actually odd that we worry so much when our lives get thrown off track, simply because they never really were on track. Yes, we have momentum in certain directions, but that doesn’t make those directions ours.

For all of these reasons it is best not to worry when major changes are forced upon us. Without these shocks we would fail to notice the ongoing options that exist in our lives. We would continue to march with blinders on. While it often takes some time for us to realise it, times of upheaval are also the times when we take the biggest steps toward becoming who we really are. Which is another way of saying that the turbulence in our life is often also the settling of our spirit. So don’t lament big, unexpected changes. Because far from taking you away from what you love, they’re far more inclined to take you toward it.

Enjoy your day. Enjoy your choices.

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.

How Not To Be Liked

Winner: Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2013 #2

Because society has used group-thinking to build walls around ideas like beauty or intelligence or value, there are many ways for you to imagine you are failing or wrong. But these are just ideas. This is what it is to liberate yourself—you have to understand that other people’s opinions are just narratives they think that lead to chemical responses in their brain. Quite literally none of that happens in any world you live in. It’s an internal experience they have.

5 Relax and Succeed - There is no way to live where everyone likes youEven if they say something out loud, you still have to confirm it within your own thoughts before you’ll get any change to your chemistry. That’s why Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you’re not choosing to think that they either are or may be right, then their words mean nothing. They have no echo in your consciousness. And since there is no such way for their judgment to be “right” anyway, you’re free the moment you switch your insecure thought stream away from that internal conversation and on to something more productive.

You see, your job was never to be liked. Magnets aren’t trying to get metal to like them. Magnets just are and metal just is and the result is that they naturally go together. Magnets don’t attract glass. That doesn’t make either the glass or the magnet “wrong.” They just don’t naturally go together. They can easily and comfortably co-exist in the world but they simply aren’t parts of the universe that fit directly together. We should accept that these differences exist at home at work and within society at large. You don’t date someone because they’re hot because that’s like a tight, cultural lasso binding you together. It’s better that you naturally and constructively fit together, like a magnet and metal, because then your attraction will last and it will have no tension.

If you’re busy trying to be liked you’ll be performing for everyone you meet. You’ll stress yourself trying to sound knowledgeable about sports when you could care less. You’ll put on a dating profile that you love camping when you hate it. You’ll dress in uncomfortable clothing just to create envy in other people. That’s not freedom. That’s the exact opposite. That’s oppression. Why are you running around following all of these lines on the ground? Who painted the lines?

5 Relax and Succeed - How not to be likedBeing Authentically You allows the metals and magnets in your life to find each other. If you’re wearing a mask trying to be everything to everyone then you’ll be blocking your naturally attractive qualities. Your camouflage will hide you from your natural friends and allies. Letting those thoughts go and opening yourself up represents a huge plus, because you can take all of that energy you spend trying to look cool or smart or attractive and you can put it into enjoying life!

Apparently Isaac Newton hated people, didn’t bathe, and he worked in the nude. But he loved to discover. That was where his joy was—not in pleasing others. Their ideas about him didn’t bother him because he wasn’t thinking about those ideas—he was thinking about his life’s work. Other people’s ideas about you are meaningless. Do not let them dampen your spirit. Be thoroughly and unapologetically you. There are friends you haven’t met yet who need your light to shine brightly so they can find you.

So remember: what other people think of you is largely irrelevant. Some religious or political fundamentalists may hate the Dalai Lama, but that doesn’t mean the Dalai Lama has to hate them. There is nothing to be gained by carrying that in his heart. They can have that view and he can continue to exist. He can even thrive. After all, Tibet is now much bigger than its borders. It’s a worldwide nation of sorts. Not bad for a guy who was kicked out of his own home and who has lived his entire life under attack. Maybe the peace you seek isn’t so far away after all, huh?

peace. s

Here’s a link to a great radio/podcast documentary that shows you how you’ve been taught to see yourself critically: Under the Influence: Shame