Healing Animals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

pees. s

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

The Friday Dose #5: The Seal of Approval

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

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

10 Habits of Happy Couples


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


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


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

Have a wonderful weekend.

peace. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

When Good People Do Bad Things

Don’t you get tired of it? That constant blah blah blah about whatever it was? You know what I mean. That conversation you have. The one you have over and over and over and over and over. Maybe yours is about someone who betrayed you and what you would say to them if you could. Or maybe yours is you telling someone about the 29 Relax and Succeed - Your heart was designedpain you felt regarding something they didn’t do. Or maybe yours is what you would say in court, or to the other person’s friends, or to your children, or parents. Or worse, maybe it’s what you wish you would or wouldn’t have said or done yourself.

It doesn’t matter what it’s about or who you plan to say it to, if it’s a conversation in your head it is your ego at work. Your spirit doesn’t need words. Only your ego needs to communicate by talking. Once you understand that fact you no longer use your words like legs to voluntarily walk to somewhere unpleasant. Just knowing you can walk is all you need. From there you naturally choose nicer environments.

Why is this important? Because you become your thoughts. So if you keep dwelling on negativity it will eat you from the inside. The Buddha said it twice: Anger is like throwing a hot stone. It is you who gets burned, and; Resentment is like drinking poison and thinking your enemy will die. If you engage in ugly thinking you will become an ugly person.

29 Relax and Succeed - Everyone you meetA woman contacted me about working together. She insisted it be by telephone because of what it regarded. She had done the worst thing in her life and the victim was someone she cared about deeply. She was so ashamed, so guilty, so confused by her actions that she was suicidal. I told her I had a lot of students who worked with me over the phone so that wasn’t a problem. We started her first session immediately and it was clear she was deeply distraught.

Imagine the middle-aged woman most women dream of being physically, intellectually and financially. She appears to have everything. Yet one of the most painful aspects of her life is that people respect and praise her constantly. She has enormous numbers of things to be very proud of but she feels thoroughly undeserving. She hates it when people call her lucky because she’s wealthy and has the attention of many handsome, wealthy men. She is lonely and she would trade her life in a moment. And now it had reached a new low.

She was sitting in a chair. A chair that had become a habit. Her success at work came at a price: she lost her husband to someone who actively cared for him. She didn’t mean to leave him out in the cold. She hadn’t even really noticed, even though in hindsight he had pretty much said as much on several occasions. She loved him, was hurt by his leaving and she could not believe how blind she had been. As he went on to be happier and happier, she attributed that to the fact that she had held him back. The problem was who she was. She 29 Relax and Succeed - When another person makes you suffercouldn’t keep a good man. She remembered every criticism her mother had ever given her. And as she looked in the mirror at an aging reflection she told herself she would never get any man ever again. And these conversations cycled and combined and built into a torturous habit, along with that chair and a couple glasses of scotch. Then it got really bad.

One day she was doing what she’d done a hundred other nights, but the narratives were building upon one another. As she sat there with her beloved cat of 12 years on her lap, her internal conversation got so ugly, it was so mean and cruel and vicious that she sincerely believed no one would ever love her ever again. She felt a million miles away from anything. And that’s when the cat wanted down. But she was so lost. She just wanted it to sit there a bit longer. It tried to get off again. But she needed it. It was like the cat was the only thing holding her to her sanity. But the more she wanted it there, the more it wanted to go until finally the cat—who’d been with her for 12 years and had never, ever clawed her owner before—took a good swipe.

When she grabbed it and began to strangle it she wasn’t the least bit bothered by the cuts on her hand. She didn’t even notice they were there until much later. It wasn’t the cat’s defensive attack that bothered her. As she choked it she just kept crying and muttering, “why can’t you just love me?!” When it got to the point where the cat was in obvious visible distress, that fact stuck a stick in the spokes of her thoughts. Everything suddenly changed as she came to her senses and released the cat, which I’m happy to report is completely fine and still in love with its owner.

29 Relax and Succeed - Forgiveness is the most powerful thingThis is obviously a horrible story and it’s easy to see why she would feel suicidal. It would be easy to question your sanity if you hurt a helpless animal you had loved for years. But what proved her sanity was fine was that she called me the very next day because she was so upset. We can hardly say someone’s a bad person when they feel so terrible about their actions that feel they should die for them.

The simple fact is, it was a horrible act carried out by a desperate person. There’s nothing wrong with the person, but all of that cyclical negative thinking took her brain chemistry to a very dark, agonized and ultimately dangerous place. Do not practice going to dark places so much that you end up changing your entire personality. Because your personality is made of the thoughts you think most often.

I’m glad the woman didn’t kill herself. I’m glad her cat still loves and trusts her. And I love that she now knows that anyone is capable of horrible things if they think horrible thoughts. After what happened she now has the perfect motivation to think almost exclusively happy, grateful and generous thoughts. She never wants to go there again. And there is the value in the experience.

Just as her life got worse, yours can get better. You can make yourself ugly enough to hurt those you love dearly or you can make yourself so beautiful that you can impact everyone you meet in no time at all. The only question is, which person’s thoughts will you think?

peace. s