She Said Lenny

She Said Lenny, by Jim Donovan (film below)

There’s a of people who believe the idea of genderless love is silly and yet others who believe it is exalted. None of this is written to change your mind, but it is provided as a potential insight into the other side’s views.

The world itself might seem like a thing but it is in fact a concept you have. The trick is, your brain’s identity is comprised of how you’re taught to see things, and we were all taught when we were younger. So no matter how old you are, the older you get the more different the world gets from the one you were raised to initially understand. My parents have trouble understanding ideas that are based on ideas that were developed long after they were young.

Today, at least in the Western world, we have this weird thing: we currently have two generations cohabitating and yet one grew up with “gay people” and the other group didn’t. Of course gay people either accepted or stressed over their own knowledge of this fact, but the point is, it wasn’t a common concept shared in the culture. Straight people rarely if ever heard about gayness. We quite literally didn’t know it existed. Liberace was creative and flamboyant, not gay. Rock Hudson and Richard Chamberlain were dashing leading men that women fawned over. No one said anything about them loving men.

Can you be blamed if a secret is kept from you? Because you surely and simply cannot be blamed if you learn a life-altering secret and it takes a while for your brain to install that new idea. Like in this case, maybe the idea of genuine homosexuality. Remember, in some countries there’s still a lot of disbelief about the reality of being gay. Even where I’m from in Canada, being gay was only “made legal” in 1967, and gay people couldn’t be married until 2005, and yet Canada was the fourth nation in the world to make it legal.

History is short, and the people that don’t understand homosexuality or bisexuality or transexuality are all being very honest. Those things have never really been planted as ideas in their minds and, once they were, they were treated in very hostile ways by people’s existing beliefs  because that’s what brains do. So for many the new idea didn’t survive. But we’ve all done that, just about things other than being gay. We all do that with ideas we’re not accustomed to. Even having crutches can be stressful because it asks us to alter our view of our own place in the world.

Meanwhile the new generation are more like the Greeks, who had many words for love. That’s better than one word, but it’s still carving an incredible whole into pretty incomplete pieces. So more mature people are somewhat correct; the world generally isn’t improved by creating more definitions because a definition is just another word for a separation or a difference. That creates the potential for duality and conflict and boom, we all have a mess to deal with. Better that we forget the words and divisions and just respect love as love.

Understand: the big new concept-acceptance process is brain-difficult for any person who tries to learn, whether it’s learning something else, or learning that homosexuals can experience the same genuine love the person feels in their own relationships. It’s equally hard for some person who’s accepted those ideas to understand that there could be people who are very genuine in their sense that homosexuality is wrong. Both things just feel wrong to opposing view. We can make it legally right, but that still won’t help some people to change their minds.

This short film, She Said Lenny, by Jim Donovan, is a great example of someone experiencing the moment where their ideas about the world are challenged. Much as the lead character learns in the film The Crying Game, this doesn’t mean straight people need to convert, or that gay people need to be angry that others don’t share their views. It is possible for us to agree to disagree, so long as we’re willing to let others be as free as we ourselves are.

Society is a work in progress. The good news is, history has always added more and more types of people to the accepted family, and that is becoming increasingly easier as people like NASA seriously begin to plan to meet potential cultures from other planets. It’s good we’re practicing this skill with other types of humans in a way. Maybe it’ll make it easier for us when the Darius Kasparaitis lands on Earth and we actually meet Hakan Loob, the leader from from the planet Jyrki Lumme. Won’t that suddenly make us all feel like one family.

peace. s

PS With thanks to my buddy Craig for pointing the film out to me.

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 #102

877 FD Relax and Succeed - It's beautiful whenIf you’re not on facebook you won’t get the Thursday replacement post for the week’s meditation. This week’s was The Creation of You and it proved very popular so I thought I would provide a link to it here.

You are doing very important things by conducting these daily meditations. All of the definitions that you see as yourself are not you, those are labels that are there for us to organize ourselves. If you take those seriously they’ll bind you up and prevent you from growing.

People think a lot of young people are lost when in reality they’re found. A lot of people are seen as crazy for jumping off the treadmill and returning to life. That isn’t going crazy. That’s going sane. The world is actually changing. But if we are so busy living the narratives of our identities then we will have very little time available to engage with the aspects of life that are profound. Our nows are spend doing and not being.

Here’s a guy called Infinite Waters discussing the act of letting go of your beliefs to discover who you really are. That is what each of these exercises are designed to do. As we make your ego transparent you will once again be able to see and to guide yourself toward a life that is especially yours.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Stay aware.

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.

Producing Peace

Okay, so you’ve had a week of starting your day off with what you feel grateful for. If you do that earnestly for a while it will really start to pay off. And how did you do watching for judgments? It’s amazing how many of them you make in your mind. I like this song, that hairstyle looks terrible on her, what’s he doing telling me how it should be done? Blah blah blah all day long.

850 Relax and Succeed - Tim is on the internetFor the rest of this week I want you to notice how seldom people make each other feel good and how often they reduce each other. Feel your own reductions so that you can appreciate how it feels for others when you insert an unrequired, unsolicited opinion on anything from their car to their childrearing. If the world needs our help it’ll ask. In the meantime, we could be giving compliments instead.

Most of the time when you say do it the right way you mean do it your way. That’s a judgment call. To each their own. You don’t want other people telling you how to do every other little thing, so just stay quiet in the driver’s seat and let your co-parent actually parent. Get out of the habit of thinking that your view is the right one. Stop thinking anyone has the right one. Realize that we don’t need better behaving people, we need a more tolerant society that can allow people to a) do things differently and b) learn while doing.

For the rest of this week stop at the top of every hour and check in on how many judgments you made of yourself and others, out loud and internal. Study them and realize how ridiculous they are–how they’re primarily just requests to act like you. See them for what they are: pointless commentary on the game of life. It’s time you and everyone else gave up all the judging and got back to the serious business of playing instead.

850 Relax and Succeed - Kindness is the new blackWhat kind of words show up when you judge? Watch for them. Better, right, proper, etc etc. Avoid those words. See how few judgments you can pass in a day. And do it very seriously for the rest of your work-week. If you want a more peaceful life you have to get out of the habit of judging every single step you and others take. The world doesn’t need referees or teachers watching our every move. We all need to get quieter minds. So when someone corrects you remember it means nothing to you, and remember the opposite is also true: your opinion lives only in your head. Unless asked for it we should just leave it dormant within us.

By the end of today you should have categories of judgments you’re aware of. Physical ones, philosophical ones, factual ones etc. etc. etc. Know them. Be familiar with what incites your judgments. Be wary in those situations. Each day work to reduce the amount of comments you make about others driving, work, attitudes and level of respect. Just Be you. If you’re doing it right that will keep you plenty busy.

Now go create an awesome day by quieting your mind by studying and stalling your judgments. Put it in your calendar so you’re reminded each morning: no judgments today. Practice will never make perfect but it will create a ton of peace for you to enjoy. Have a great day everyone!

peace. s

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

Parental Limitations

Our mind could have any habits or choose to recall any part of its past, but our very sense of identity means that we get up every morning and load the same software-us into the hardware-us. That brain could be bold instead of shy. It would just have to do one instead of the other. But we generally don’t. We generally surrender that freedom and instead we play out the role we’ve unconsciously written for ourselves. That’s what our ego’s for—it recites who we are to us. If we’re not constantly reminded about our limitations who knows what we might try?

677 Relax and Succeed - A teacher is never a giver of truthI was fortunate enough to have two parents that didn’t really set limits for me. They were stricter than most of my friends parents in most ways, but much more relaxed and open in the most important way. I was expected to live up to commitments and carry my own share of the family chores and pass in school etc. etc., and rather than an allowance I had to pay room and board, but I was not pushed toward any sports or any grades or any post-secondary or employment choices. My parents spent more time asking me who I was as opposed to telling me who to become. That’s huge. That, in my experience, was the biggest fundamental difference in how I was raised. Now, when I asked Mom about this tremendous wisdom, she simply said,“Oh we learned from your [much older] brothers that you can’t really tell a kid what to do.” So they focused on principles and let me find my own way and that has lead to a fantastic life that I’m very happy to have lived.

As with many parents mine each took on different roles. Mom was the one who taught me to follow rules and Dad taught me to question who made the rules and their value. Mom taught me to be polite, Dad taught me to respect others. Mom taught me to vote, my Dad taught me to care for others just as much as for myself or those I loved. Mom made sure I lived up to my commitments regardless of my personal resistance and Dad made sure that I understood that apologies helped people feel better. Mom wanted me to be responsible. Dad wanted me to have fun. Mom wanted me to be a good citizen and Dad wanted me to be a good friend.

677 Relax and Succeed - The rules for being amazingI routinely get all aspects of this wrong but I nevertheless know that I’m always genuinely pointed in a loving, caring direction and so I live without regrets or a sense of judgment. I respect others so much that they are welcome to not like me. If I’m going to be a specific way it only makes sense that I won’t mesh with some people. Meccano can’t be Lego. My parents acceptance of whatever I did as long as it was respectful means that I feel good as long as I am respecting other’s perspectives as much as my own. I may not always agree, but I’m free to have my views and I have no conflict with them having theirs. People are welcome to have their conflicts with me but I do not have any with them. It’s very peaceful.

People could easily look at my life and see that I could have used the skills from my accident in a different way. They can see that I could have done more of this or that, made more money, been more famous or had more status or whatever. But in this weird subtle way, the way I was raised didn’t lead to any of those desires. But it did create a real value around the idea of freedom, respect and openness. I like that I never hold grudges, never hate people, and that I find it easy to forgive. I can’t imagine what money or fame could get me that would equal the value of just thinking enough of others and of myself that I essentially have no real quarrel with anyone. It’s a nice, simple, clean way to live.

We can teach kids how to manage money and understand how loans work and we can teach them to change the flapper in their own toilet or the oil in their car. But if we don’t teach them to value their own life enough to enjoy it then we have spent all of our time paving perfect roads that ultimately lead nowhere. Life is not a destination. There is no particular perch from where it can be lived in total happiness. But at least if happiness is a priority then the child builds a life around what brings them joy rather than what brings them externals. A nice car is only there to bring joy anyway, so why not skip the expensive middle man and go straight to the joy? But that’s not even on the menu unless someone has separated the idea of the car and the joy. One is to get the other, it is not the other itself.

677 Relax and Succeed - My philosophy isIf you want the best way to teach a person to value joy, value it yourself. Laugh more, do more things that are frivolous but joy-filled. Stop teaching kids how to protect themselves from bad things without telling them how to go and get good things. You need both for a successful life. What you don’t need is a cookie-cutter pre-conceived idea of who your children are. Let them be known to you and support the life they choose for themselves just as you wish the people around you would have been fully supportive in whatever you chose. I had that in life. It feels fantastic to have that support. It breeds a lot of confidence and that’s also where a lot of happiness resides.

Don’t worry so much about loading your kid up with every possible skill. They’ll get hurt terribly just like you did. Everyone does. But that’s okay as long as they know what to do between disasters. As long as they wring some joy out of those in-between times they’ll be fine. That’s a lot of life. Most people die without ever having even started to live. So just love and respect your kids and teach them to value their own enjoyment of life and a lot of the rest will just sort itself out. The best thing you can possibly do is be the best version of yourself that you can. Enjoy your own life. The rest is osmosis.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #64

666 OP Relax and Succeed - Don't fear the enemy

I get why someone would write this quote. It always hurts worse when our expectations are higher. The more certain we are that someone cares for us the more painful it is if we end up hurt when actions they take don’t meet our expectations. But the problem wasn’t actually ever with them—it was with our expectations. People are all the same. The ones we call our friends are the ones that think like us, and so we live within the assumption that they will always think like us, which is impossible. They are them and we are us. They can’t think our thoughts any more than we can think theirs. That’s what an individual is: a person who thinks for themselves. So will you meet duplicitous people? Yes. Will you meet some that agree with you for years and then not? Yes. Will you be able to tell those two people apart? No. Will you change in your lifetime? Yes. Will some other people see those changes as negative when you think they’re positive? Yes. So were you wrong to make those choices? No, of course not. You were being you just like your friends are themselves. People are just being and the ones we call friends are the ones that are being kind of like us during the time we call them friend. But if they start making decisions that we don’t agree with—decisions that don’t meet our expectations—then the ego’s inclination is to make that the fault of the friend when really it’s the natural result of living too seriously in the world of expectation. A stranger can’t really let you down because you have very few expectations of them. So remember, you don’t get friends or lose friends. That’s just a word for convenience. Your friends are the people who see the world the way you do and the way you see it changes and so therefore your friends will naturally evolve along with you too. So you don’t even have friends so you really don’t have to worry about fake ones. Just live. Sometimes it hurts. Meh. So it is for all of us. It’s still easily worth it. Don’t turn people being people into narratives of betrayal. The only person that will suffer is you. Now go have a nice day with the people you enjoy hanging out with. You know, your friends. 😉

peace. s

Different Worlds

One of the most difficult things to surrender for my students is their belief in an objective reality. They’ll give me examples like, just because I didn’t know about it doesn’t mean my partner wasn’t cheating on me! To which I would answer, that would depend on whose reality this cheating was happening in. But that statement can appear to be nonsense until it’s properly explained.

574 Relax and Succeed - I'm only responsibleYou need to understand that our realities are made up of our thinking. Not figuratively. Literally. It’s just you’re very casual about how you define reality. If you’re at a party and an attractive, well built man is telling a story about climbing a mountain, then the three men listening to him can have vastly different experiences. A fellow climber might be impressed, whereas an insecure boyfriend might feel it’s one-upmanship, and a timid person might think the story teller is crazy. When they go home they will describe three different people to their spouses. Such is the nature of separate realities. And you’ll accept that in a case like this. But your idea of reality will change when the stakes are raised.

Let us say that Stella and Ed have been married for 32 years. They’ve successfully raised 3 healthy, happy, successful kids, they never struggled financially and they enjoyed hanging around the same people and doing the same sorts of things. But let us say that after about 20 years of marriage, when he first goes grey and starts to get crows feet, Ed has thoughts that he is getting old and he wonders if his wife will still find him attractive. He thinks that because she recently started going to the gym with the new neighbour and she’s never looked better. While he’s happy for her and the renewed vigor it’s brought to her, still, juxtaposed to his thoughts, the combination leaves him feeling insecure.

So now imagine that this insecure guy meets the new lawyer in their office and she’s very sweet. And being a bit sensitive she picks up on the fact that he’s a bit down and she spends her lunches talking to him in an effort to cheer him up about his future. She’s pretty and very engaged in their lunches and so he starts to feel appreciated, which is something Stella doesn’t do much of. Not because she doesn’t appreciate him on some level—but that level has become subconscious, so she doesn’t compliment him much anymore, nor does she even pay much attention to his mood anymore except for how it affects her day. It’s all very innocent, but it leaves the new girl looking pretty appealing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEventually the entirely innocent new girl has something unfortunate happen and it’s her turn to be low and small and weak. And Ed’s a nice guy—of course he reciprocates the compassionate response she gave him. Soon all of that honest care and support tumbles into embraces, then kissing, and eventually sex. And the second it’s over Ed feels absolutely horrible. He tells the new girl right there and then that he shouldn’t have done it—that it was disrespectful to her and especially to his wife. He feels badly that he placed her in that situation and he leaves and he never cheats again. To the contrary, for the rest of her life Stella gets treated better as Ed works to absolve himself of his guilty feelings.

Now let’s say we’re back up on year 32, and Stella has a stroke while cooking some bacon and she hits the floor and is gone. She’s never learned about the new girl. Then if we interview her after death (just go with me), she’s going to say she had a happy life with a good marriage to a doting husband. Because in all honesty that will have been her reality. Meanwhile Ed was right alongside her, living in a completely separate reality. He knew what had happened. And his guilt made him aware. It made his consciousness alert to opportunities to improve his spouse’s life. And because he was looking for them he saw them and acted on them, which was what improved Stella’s life. So in the end she was better off than she would have been had it never happened.

574 Relax and Succeed - We believe what we tell ourselvesNow I know most of you are still yelling at the page YES BUT HE STILL CHEATED!!! Yeah. That belief right there points directly at your misunderstanding of reality. So instead of arguing with me, if you really want to experience this miracle, then stop telling me what you already believe and at least consider another idea that you could later choose to adopt as a replacement belief.

You are mistaking actions in the physical world as “truth.” I get your point, but modern physicists will tell you that even the physical universe appears to be closer to a thought or density of information than anything else. So even that’s up for grabs. But that’s too abstract for us today—for now just realize that physical events are not what your life is made of. It’s made of experiences, and those are constructed by your thoughts about physical events and other thoughts—yours and other people’s.

Truly. You have to accept this one idea: The only giant Isness that could be known could only be known by the infinite Being that could comprehend the vastness of the entire universe. You’re talking about something resembling a God. But you? You’re like a tentacle of God, or a tentacle of the universe. You’re a filament of consciousness lighting up a unique portion of the universe’s possibilities. And what you see is what you think. And if think you had a great marriage with someone who treated you really well, then in the only reality you can hope to know—you did have that marriage.

Any arguments to the contrary are meaningless and can simply be met with, so how does that affect Stella? Again, Stella can’t be hurt by ideas that aren’t in her head. Pain is a collection of neurochemicals. That chemistry comes from your own body, not from events outside of you (you being your consciousness). That’s the same reason they 574 Relax and Succeed - Reality leaves a lotanesthetize your brain when they do an operation on your leg. Your leg needs to be there for the operation. But as long as your mind isn’t present for it, you’re fine.

This isn’t about cheating. This is about reality. If you really really really disagree with me then you know that this is your place for spiritual growth. Because I’m not saying you shouldn’t or can’t suffer because you got cheated on. I’m saying as far as true reality goes, you haven’t been cheated on until you know or believe you have been cheated on. Because I can also show you a lot of people who live in the false reality that their partner has cheated when they haven’t. It goes both ways.

Think about this. Meditate on it. Start trying to appreciate the differences between your reality and others. Respect those differences. These are the many slices of reality that make up the whole that is the universe and yours is just as valid as anyone else’s. But you also want to maintain an awareness of your ability to control the shape of your reality by being a conscious thinker.

In my reality I feel great and I love a lot of wonderful people. I hope your reality feels something like that too. And if not, don’t worry. That’s what all of this writing is for—to make and keep people aware that they have control over what they experience in life. You can start today. Take some control and focus on how fortunate you are and you are guaranteed to have a great day. Because whatever you entertain in your consciousness will soon become your reality. With a grateful mind will come a grateful heart. Enjoy.

peace. s

Time Travelling

I was moving between two writing projects and I needed some sorbet for my brain. For some reason I had a curious craving for mathematics. I was combing my library for a couple of books when I stumbled upon one I remembered buying when I first lived in Australia. My girlfriend and I had a formidable library there, but we left it all behind and only took a few meaningful 501 Relax and Succeed - Life is a sequence of momentsbooks when we moved back to Canada, and Gary Zukav’s The Dancing Wu Li Masters was one of the ones I took. Seeing it again triggered a distinct memory of something a previous me once thought.

I clearly recalled using a eucalyptus leaf for a bookmark at the beach one day. And I remember finding it still in the book when I was packing to move back to Canada. And I remembered putting it back in there and thinking to myself, maybe some day I’ll open that book and see that leaf and I’ll remember putting it in there. Bam.

That’s wild, eh? I was a kid. Not a single cell of the current me—or the me before that—was even around for that previous me. I ate a bunch of apples and potatoes and carrots and salmon and I lost some hair and shed a few layers of skin, and I flushed away various aspects of me etc. etc. to the point where the guy that put that leaf in the book was literally a different person from the guy that found the leaf in the book. And I mean that totally seriously.

This is where you’re missing how reality works and that’s why you suffer. So don’t just dismiss this as something complicated or silly or confusing. Yeah, if it was easy everyone would be enlightened. But it’s not hard either. It’s just that almost no one seriously tries. So just think about it. I am literally not the same person as the man who put the leaf into the book in the first place. I have much different beliefs, we have completely different cells in our bodies, and I have had experiences that he has not had. And yet we can interact through time with a connection as delicate as a thin, dry leaf.

501 Relax and Succeed - When you make a choiceI know what I believed back then. My experiences were much more limited so I could still believe untenable things. As I moved through life and had more and more experiences and as I heard about other people’s experiences, I came to realize that many of my views were effectively impossible. My mind opened as I understood more about different situations. And as my cells died and new ones were born, so too did ideas die and new ones arose. There is no place to measure from or to, but ultimately I became, over time, a completely new person who knows and understands the former me without actually being him.

You are constantly changing in a variety of ways. Never feel like your life cannot be reinvented. New ideas can create new opportunities which can invigorate any lifetime. So keep in mind that you will be several versions of yourself in your lifetime. But unless you choose to make those people consciously, that choice will always be by chance. Rather than creating it, you’ll simply recognize it after it happens. So the real question is, how soon will you start making that choice consciously? Because the sooner you do that the sooner you will own your life. And only then will it begin to vibrate with a deep and profound resonance that goes with having found your own path. Enjoy.

peace. s