Stormy Days

1334 Relax and Succeed - How high is less important

People want to have no bad days, but without those we couldn’t have the happy ones. Things only exist in relation to other things — but that’s a big subject that needs it’s own post.  This one is about how –when we’re experiencing a challenging day– we can still manage our minds well.

Even if we were worse on a hard day than on a much easier day, it’s not how high we climb, it’s how far. On days where we start in a hole, getting up to ‘even’ is an achievement. If we don’t allow that flexibility into our reality, then we have an unhealthy expectation that will lead to feelings of disappointment.

If we forego setting an expectation and just stay in the moment, where we do our best to try to ensure that each moment is as good as we can make it, that can add up to a spiritually successful day.

Those are the days where we don’t get caught up in our own thought-battles, we break free of them despite their emotional gravity. It does not improve the externals of the day, but within that framework, we can still maintain a form of peace. The entire film Life is Beautiful is based on this idea.

Yesterday was a day of frail parents, critical deadlines, upset people, too many places to be at too many times, it included weakness, defeat, some fear and some intense frustration, and it was all done on too little sleep and too much coffee. It was a day where 100 marbles rolled towards me but my hands could only fit 50. It was overwhelming.

Much of the day was spent on frustrating, complex, incorrect and extremely slow automated phone systems. Sometimes we, (a friend helped and got caught up in my frustration), were quite irritable after finally reaching someone, so the best we could do was be good models for quick and earnest apologies over our curt tones. In fact, bad days are generally good chances to practice apologizing.

1334 Relax and Succeed - It isn't our job to shine

It’s fine to have days like that if we didn’t hadn’t previously told ourselves that there is a way to manage life were these days don’t happen. If we accept that they do, then we just kick into managing them.

At the end of the day, if we look up and we can say to ourselves, I did all I could with the energy and awareness I had available, then we don’t need to really do any judgment after that.

Eventually the storm water is under the bridge, the weather passes, and what we have left is that we did what we did with the best of intentions and the day ended up as it did. If it was unpleasant, then the day ending is like getting off a ride we’re not enjoying at a fair.

Even if a day ends up horrible, some are like that in the roughly 28,000 days most of us will average on Earth. Is even 1,000 horrible days really that bad on a 28:1 ratio? If we want more than that, aren’t we getting a bit greedy?

We need those painful experiences that help us feel painful love songs. We lose a lot of empathy for our loved ones if we’ve never had our hearts broken. Empathy relies on us having experienced many kinds of pain. Besides, just the desire for things to always be better will itself add many bad days to our lives.

It does none of us any good if we walk around with idealized ideas about ourselves in our heads. Our lives can experience any weather, any day. We’re not supposed to be able to stop the storms, we’re just supposed to remember that, despite storms, we will live to shine another day.

peace. s

The Friday Dose #51

600 Relax and Succeed - Life is a song

Wow, neat stuff in the Dose today. Let’s start off talking about teens. While the brain is always changeable, it’s important to remember that the brain hasn’t even finished building its physical structures until you’re in your mid to late 20’s. And those structures get built by the very experimentation that works fine in a jungle with a tribe, but it can create havoc in a modern teen as they try to accomplish those social experiments within rigid, quasi-Victorian social structures like schools and clocks etc. The very next day another scientist purported to disagree with this, but then he actually spent his entire interview presenting the very same ideas, just in his own way. I’ll admit I’m phrasing this introduction this way because I want to tease any teens that might read it, but hey parents; when you’re talking to a teenager or judging their behaviour, you really do have to remember that you’re literally speaking with someone who’s only got half a brain. 😉 :

The Current on The Teenage Brain

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I’ve spent my life studying how people store information and ideas in the brain because it’s combinations of those patterns that determine our behaviour and personality. One of the key concerns I’ve had about things like dating sites etc. is that they create a new idea within the framework of dating. There’s always been the saying there’s always more fish in the sea, but that was said if a relationship went bad and the person was single. Now people jump on Match.com or Plenty of Fish like it’s a Kijiji for dating. Don’t like this one, trade it in for that one. And because everyone’s watched edited shows all their life there is this belief that a perfect life is possible. And so people waffle around trying to find the perfect life and in doing so they throw away what are otherwise perfectly good lives. This combines nicely with the posting entitled, Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice, which features an enlightening TED Talk. But before you look at that give this a read and think about sharing it to anyone you know under 30.

This Is How We Date Now

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I’m not sure how I stumbled onto it, but a while back Lifehack put up a great list of eight things happy people do. If you read my blog nothing on the list will surprise you, but I’m not super big on lists so if you like things presented as concise encapsulations of larger concepts this is a good example. And I’m actually all for it because the shorter something is the more it has to focus on the essence of the subject and that’s the most important part. It’s why poetry is considered writings highest art. Everything is winnowed away but essence. So without further ado, I give you the essence of happiness:

8 Things Happy People Do

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And let’s close off with some big fun. If you live anywhere north you know the days are short and the weather’s normally cold so let’s brighten winter up with a little fun. I love it when someone comes up with an idea to meld one thing with another in such a way that both things end up better. This is a fantastic idea for a video and I’m glad so many people got to have such a ridiculously good time making it. If you want to cheer yourself up just focus closely on these people’s faces when they figure out what’s going on. It’s just plain fun. Enjoy:

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09R8_2nJtjg]

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You have yourself an awesome weekend. And be kind to you.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help. Enjoy.

The Friday Dose #30

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.

455 Relax and Succeed - Creativity is a means of connecting.

Today we’re going for a trio of videos. We’ll start off with a super-cool bit of scientific creativity that is so amazing it’s remarkable that high school physics teachers can manage to make it seem boring. This rendering of the famous double-slit experiment proves that the world is not as it appears to us. Many people saw it in the film What the Bleep, but most people don’t stop to think about what that experiment really means. It literally changes how we think reality works. It’s stunning. And yet people look at it and go cool, and then they’re done. Crazy. This is some very seriously amazing stuff:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfPeprQ7oGc]

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Second we’re going to inspire you. If you read The Friday Dose you know I’m a Shane Koyczan fan, and this piece sounds like it could be a blog here on Relax and Succeed. Sit back and enjoy:

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7OGY1Jxp3o]

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And finally we’ll end on something to get your heart pumping, your face smiling and your feet tapping. This is The Company performing at the Vibe Dance Competition. Their tight synchronization and great use of costuming really brings a vibrancy to their performance. As with the poem by Shane above, crank up your speakers and sit back and enjoy:

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[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY2D0j454PI#t=108]

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Smile, say hello to people, hold doors, give compliments, offer assistance. Make it a great day by really connecting with your fellow man. The enjoyment of your day is much more in your control than you realize.

peace. s