MoK: Tender Mercies

Dear Readers,

May this find you well. I have a strange entry for today’s March of Kindness assignment. Today we will unexpectedly focus on kindness toward ourselves. Valuing ourselves is a form of self-respect and it is distinct from the unhealthy selfishness that causes us to feel guilty, or that requires us to distract ourselves from facing our relevant responsibilities.

For the first time in the many years that I’ve have blogged here and elsewhere, I simply cannot create the time or the very specific meditative headspace I require to write the sort of blog post I feel you all deserve. The needs of my family and friends have been tremendous over the last many weeks and there comes a time when we must face that if we have almost no time to even sleep or eat, then those things must take priority lest we risk the health of the body our consciousness resides in.

This being the case, let’s alter today’s planned March of Kindness post into this: find the area of your life where you personally are overwhelmed and surrender. If the only overwhelming thing you truly have in your life is your own anxious thoughts, then slow those down and open your awareness and then reach out to someone who is truly overwhelmed. Either way, the world is made better.

Kindness toward yourself or kindness toward another, it’s all kindness and it’s worthwhile. I’d like to thank you for your kindness in understanding my situation, and I wish you every good-fortune with your own self-kindness today.

Regards, 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.

The Friday Dose #136: A Season of Compassion

1053-fd-relax-and-succeed-compassion-is-the-radicalismMy family’s not religious in any way but, since we all grew up in a countries that were predominantly Christian at the time, we celebrate Christmas where others may celebrate Diwali, Ramadan or Hanukkah etc etc etc. When these events are and what they are called and what rituals we do are simply cultural. But the spiritual part underlying every meaningful celebration is really about love.

There’s a lot of frustrated people today trying to keep up with change. The next generation wants to live like Star Trek. No more races or wars, just a Federation cooperating on managing Earth and travelling out to new worlds. It’s all very hopeful. So the route from here to there is pretty simple and Ellen does a good job of drawing our attention to what is important to do as we make that journey to a brighter future.

I’ll start the Best of Series next week everyone. I hope you all have a wonderful break if you get one, and if not you have to work–I’ll be right alongside you too, so there’s no reason we can’t make even a busy working period into something festive and worthwhile. I wish you all the very best.

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.

Taking Care of You

I am not a teacher. You are a learner. I am simply here. You are passing through me. I’ll offer you everything and you can take what makes sense to you in any given moment. That’s all that can ever happen. All I can offer is what I have, and all you can take is what you have room for. The rest is up to the universe.

759 Relax and Succeed - Don't just be good to othersThe reason we’ll meet is because sometimes you’re done dropping and you’re ready to bounce. Maybe it’s a small bounce, like working through a new job or some dating challenges. Or maybe it’s a huge bounce like overcoming an addiction, ending a relationship or overcoming powerful grief. I am always just a nice straight wall for you to bounce your possible futures off of. From my perspective all situations are all the same.

Whether someone cuts off their finger or their arm, it really hurts and it’s the pain I naturally respond to. That’s what connects me to the other person. Not a detailed understanding of how they came to be that way. That should ultimately be irrelevant to both of us. What was written yesterday does not impact what gets written today other than that the writer is more experienced at choosing their words.

Once we are connected, I simply listen to what you’re saying in a very deep way. The intense way you would listen to your new baby’s breathing, or your mother’s dying words. All-in. No me. I’m not reacting as me, I’m responding to something in you that’s behind the words. We all often know when someone’s hiding something because they will unintentionally tell us so. This is like that, just a bit deeper. It’s listening to intent more than content.

759 Relax and Succeed - The future dependsIt’s true that I can be profoundly helpful, but again I am like the mathematician who proves to you that your rocketship can fly. You will build your own ship and you must fly it. I’ll just help you remember that you already know how to do both those things really well. Your life is much more about your imagination than you realize, so think big.

If you’re ready you know. You either love how things are and you’re wise enough to want to learn how to maintain that while you were happy and a good learner, or you’re tired of things the way they are and your low feelings have been energized into a focused kind of anger. Not anger at you or your history. But an intensity about squeezing the most out of each and every moment. That doesn’t have to mean they’re good moments. Some of my all-time favourites have included a lot of sadness. But such is the sweetness of life. The pie needs some crust to hold the filling in.

If you’re not ready these words mean little to you. If you like the idea but not the words, then seek out another teacher. New clothes or a new car won’t do nearly as much for you as truly attending to your own life. Respect it enough to want lots from it. It’s generous and it’s huge, so feel free to go crazy. Because even the dreams you don’t achieve will lead you to dreams you never even thought to have.

If you’re ready I’ll probably hear from you. If you’re not, that’s cool too. We’ve gotta get lost before we feel the need to figure out where we actually are and where we’re actually going. And that happens to everyone in good time. Maybe I’ll see you then. Either way, you take good care of you.

Much love, s

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

How To Fall In Love 2

If you really want a relationship to work, you’ve got to fall in love with the same person over and over. Fortunately that’s pretty easy if you’re doing it right.

While I take a week off you get to read some of my favourite blogs. This one includes a detailed description of what happens when a relationship goes well, and what happens when it doesn’t, and most importantly it shows you how to turn one into the other. Enjoy:

Relax and Succeed

A student I’m working with remarked that she felt like a failure being alone for Valentines Day. Many single people in North America will use February 14th as a trigger for sadness. Like her, they think that because card companies advertised Valentines Day into existence, that somehow they’re doing something wrong if they’re alone.

46 Relax and Succeed - A successful marriage requires fallingThey imagine the hearts in relationships aren’t broken hearts. They forget that the two weeks around Valentines are also the most likely time for a break-up. They forget how high the divorce rate is and that a large percentage of spouses are going about their Valentine duties without any sincere motivation. And they forget that many single people are very happy, with full and active social and sex lives.

If you are in a relationship, there’s about a 50/50 chance that you’re happy about that right now. Many of you are contemplating leaving. Maybe your spouse…

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Commiseration vs Presence

My friend told me that you say commiseration is bad. How is respecting someone’s experience bad? I think you might be an idiot.

signed,
Suspicious

Dear Suspicious,

Thank you for your question. I’ll leave whether I’m an idiot or not to others but I would be more than happy to clarify my feelings about commiseration.

321 Relax and Succeed - Don't forget that you're humanI’ll begin by saying that I agree with you that respecting someone’s experience is a very important thing to do. But we can do that by honouring their pure presence, as opposed to getting too caught up in the details that have snagged their personal thinking. So when someone first needs to just exhale the impact of the experience, I’m all for taking however long is required to listen to whatever anger or frustration or sadness they need to move through as a part of that life experience. But once I’ve sensed that we’re through that phase, and that I’m now actually feeling a sensation of being irritated by their anger, grief, worry, whatever—then that’s my sign to trust myself and respect my own experience. If I don’t want to talk about those issues anymore then I shouldn’t. Otherwise the time with them is false and posed and little more than a cultural obligation.

Commiseration is essentially a churning of time. Something happened and now two or more people are recreating the event for each other and they pass it back and forth in their Nows. Again, if the person’s feelings are an exhale of the impact that’s fine, but if it’s just a pointless re-living of things then that’s not doing anyone any good. If someone needs to scream because they burned themselves then that makes sense. But you don’t heal their hand by putting it back in the fire after the fact.

321 Relax and Succeed - Open your mouthI think where we agree dear letter-writer is that we see value in the connection people share when they express compassion. This is the love that binds the universe together and to be aware of it is to live in a state of bliss. We want to encourage those connections, that sharing, that unity. But that state of mind is pre-ego, it’s pre-word, it’s pre-definition. So we can’t talk about it. So if we’re talking we’re usually in a state of ego.

I’ve written about him at least once before, but there’s a kid in Chicago I think, that won a contest for compassion. His elderly neighbour had died, and the kid’s mom saw her son sitting on the lap of the widower, and they were both crying. She worried what the boy had done, but when he returned and she asked him what he said to the old man to make him cry, the boy said, “I didn’t say anything. I just helped him cry.” That kind of commiseration I’m all for.

So if we’re looking for the best possible response, let’s not talk so much about what happened, let us instead be together now in whatever form or shape that naturally takes. It’ll be more fun for all parties involved and it’ll also generate more productive, positive results.

I hope this helps clear up what I suspect was a semantic difference. Enjoy your day.

peace. s