Mountains of Motivation

1237 Relax and Succeed - Success did not give meOur egos have a desire for predictability precisely because they are created by the fixed ways of thinking that we have been subconsciously taught. Any impediment to our original direction is always seen in direct relation to that direction. It might create glee because we compare it favourably to our expectations, or it may create suffering via our unmet expectations.

The funny part about that process is that we have no clue what would really be good for us. Examples of this include things like; a person is dating person A, and then they happily see the appearance of person B as a positive diversion from their wedding plans from person A. The problem is that everyone thinks their marriage will be in the successful 50%, but despite the good feelings in that moment, marrying person B could very easily turn out to be a decision the person would be inclined to regret.

If we can’t know what is ultimately right for us, it seems fair to ask where should we go? But the reason that question seems more complicated than it really is that the common and correct answer is always met with a but….

1237 Relax and Succeed - Decide who you want to become

Those that do pursue their answer by pursuing their passions will then have people say they’re crazy or irresponsible. This applies as much to someone wanting to be a musician as it does to business genius who would rather raise children, or a great athlete he wants to be a carpenter. A job’s status or income does not make being married to someone financially secure and negative better than someone financially limping, but who’s very enjoyable or exciting to be around.

We shouldn’t assume that any emotion is negative, it’s how it’s used in a current context that demonstrates its value. The adrenaline rush of war can lead a former soldier to express rage in inappropriate contexts, but that same adrenaline addiction is what pushed a large group of war veterans to face the repeated attempts necessary to successfully scale Mount Everest. Again, it all depends on how our chemistry is applied.

Some might say that those men would have been better to be home and caring for their families and there’s a very good case to be made for that. Yet, if long term experience in war has tuned a person’s biology towards violence and extreme emotions, isn’t it reasonable that their reaction would not be the same as ours? And for the same reasons, namely our personal life experiences? Some of us will be healthiest knitting. Others will need to jump from airplanes. We should accept these differences.

1237 Relax and Succeed - Life is simply a series

Rather doing what some might, and joining therapy and make the slow biological switch back to different tendencies, does it not make a kind of sense that those former WWI soldiers might choose instead to invest their honestly earned intense temperament in something meaningful to who they were at that time? That they would follow the guidance of their experiences just as we follow ours? After all, there are many young people who should be grateful that a profoundly unprepared or poorly suited parent acted as they did. Desertion can be an extremely loving act.

Other than hurting others–which healthy people feel a natural inclination to avoid–people should feel free to pursue whatever emotions and motivations make sense to them, regardless of whether or not others from other perspectives deem it boring or insane. We all need to find the right context, and we may appear off balance to others, but if our soul feels good about it the results will do remarkable things; like like turn middle-aged angst into a soulful career, or an angry anti-establishment rebellion into something like The Beatles, or maybe even Nirvana.

peace. 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.

Mood Music

I think this metaphor will really stick and be effective for a lot of readers.742 Relax and Succeed - You are wise

Lots of people will charge themselves up for a workout with music. They’ll plug in their earbuds and play their era’s version of Eye of the Tiger. The associations your brain makes to that music lead you to react chemically, which in turn gets you physically aroused and you feel stronger. You can choose music to stir an emotion but that system works both ways. That’s why Rene Zellweger is playing All By Myself at the start of Bridget Jones Diary. We can musically incite emotions or, emotions can incite our musical choices.

So if you’ve loaded some angry music up on your player it’s to match your tone. And that  holds for whether you feel happy, energetic, tired or contemplative. That’s why Songza is divided up by mood. So people are already sound-tracking their lives. And more and more that’s what they’re doing. They’re not listening to music as many will argue. They have morphed into sound-tracking their thoughts.

In a previous blog I mentioned a test where I pulled out a bunch of people’s earbuds as an experiment and I asked them each what they hearing. Shockingly few had any idea what song they were just listening to. They were lost in thought. So we gotta get you un-lost. That way you can enjoy life more fully by living it more consciously and deeply.

742 Relax and Succeed - How does one becomeThink of your emotions like you would think of listening to your song choice. You choose them from playlists of possible thoughts that fit into various genres. So you have happy songs or sad songs or angry songs or victim songs or worry songs or blame songs and you go through your day and you keep choosing a song for the current moment. You either say it to yourself or you say it to other people but unless you’ve practiced being internally quiet and open, you always have something playing on your emotional tuner. It’s only a matter of whether or not you’re aware of what kind of song you chose.

Fortunately you have the perfect feedback mechanism: you can check in with how you feel. Make that simple thing a habit: every 15 minutes check in with how you feel. Know that you chose that playlist out of countless. Yes, your boss or lover or whoever might have highlighted some tracks they strongly suggested you play, but that was then this is now. You’re an adult. You can run with scissors. You get to be truly powerful as a person when you know that the choice is always yours despite whatever apparent pressures appear to exist.742 Relax and Succeed - Be okay with where you are

Whether you pay attention to it or not you’re listening to music all day. You feel emotions all day. Stop putting more time into your musical choices than you do your emotional ones. Because you can blame others for how you feel. You can blame a situation, a diagnosis, a parent, a disease or any other thing and that’s fine for a time. But eventually you have to explain Stephen Hawking. You can use your personal thinking to crush yourself out of existence or you can expand yourself to the ends of the universe. The choice is yours.

You are the universe’s HP3 Player. The Human Potential Player. You sit in potentiality, with the world suggesting a song and you choosing one, the world suggesting one and you choosing one. And you cycle through life like that one moment, one song, one feeling at a time. You never have to worry about the future because you have all of those choices in between. And you can forget the past because those are songs already played. The band cannot take them back once they have graced your ears. You can play the same song again, but you can never hear it again for the first time.

If you pick some angry or sad music every now and then there is nothing wrong with that. But don’t dwell unnecessarily for too long in any emotional state you’re not finding genuinely rewarding. To surrender that choice is to deny the legitimacy of your own music, your own song. And that’s a big deal. Because the universe created you with no other purpose than to sing it. So go sing. Confidently and aware of your choices. You are loved.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #43

546 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - That moment when you are having

Okay, just so we’re clear: that’s every moment, right? Every moment of your life your body is doing what you’re telling it to do. So if you’re thinking really sad thoughts, then the chemistry for those thoughts moves through your bloodstream and affects cells all over your body. Your shoulders sag, the muscles in your face droop or frown. Likewise when you feel great. You’ll smile and your eyes will be open wider, you’ll breathe deeper. You’re physical self is just a manifestation of your thoughts in the present moment. So you will absolutely make the face that goes with whatever thought you’re having. And if you think, “No! Don’t show them that you feel whatever you’re feeling,” then your face looks like you’re hiding something. I know when you’re the one doing it that you assume you got away with it because no one called you on it. But just because they didn’t say anything doesn’t mean they didn’t think it. But you wouldn’t have noticed their brief look of recognition because you would be too busy trying to mask your own natural chemistry. You will always express your thoughts with your being. Don’t focus on controlling your face. Focus on quieting your thinking. Trade output for input. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.

peace. s

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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 offence 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.

Ice Cubes and Mental Health

Are you looking for practical spiritual help? Do you want your spirituality and your psychological health to be tied together in a simple, straightforward, successful set of clear instructions? Okay.

544 Relax and Succeed - Today is the first dayEach day you live out 86,400 seconds of what is hopefully about a 2.7 billion second existence. Imagine that each of those seconds is laid out in front of you each morning like enough trays to make 86,400 ice cubes. Next to you is a collection of neuro-chemicals in large tanks. You have a hose that’s connected to each tank, and a kind of Gatling gun to dispense the chemical of your choice, much like a bartender can trigger whichever mix they want for the drink they’re making. There is no “off” switch—the trigger is permanently on. It’s only a matter of—on what?

As you move through your day you will fill cube-moment after cube-moment with whatever you request with your thinking. You can think painful thoughts and trigger pain, or you can choose to feel regret, or anger, or can ruminate on frustrating thoughts. You might also choose compassion, tenderness, love, trust…. every single cube is a new opportunity for a new chemical so it doesn’t really matter what you’ve done previously. Your future is made of the choices you make now. Because in the end, the quality of your day boils down to the quality of your individual, moment by moment thought choices.

Using that metaphor can you see how you move through your days habitually pouring the same chemicals in the same places at the same times? You don’t actually hate your job. You just pour hateful chemicals into your trays as you approach your work and as you stay there. You’ll even take time at the dinner table with your family to invest some cubes in hatefulness about work or your boss. Those are all choices. It’s not the boss that made that ice cube tray painful, it was the thoughts you had about the boss. Your boss doesn’t fill your tray, they fill their own. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYour boss isn’t even at your family dinner to do any tray-filling. We all fill our own trays. So stop blaming the people you’re thinking about for your own narratives. Those are choices you’re making there my developing spiritual friend.

You have to start watching yourself more closely. Right now you give up huge swaths of your lifetime filling trays with lousy chemicals you don’t even like. You do that the same way everyone does—innocently, because you were taught what every ego was taught. You were taught rules and laws and fairness and honesty and proper and correct and appropriate etc. etc. etc. So when anyone crosses lines that you see in your head, you think they’ve done something wrong, when in fact they just have different lines in their head than you have in yours. That’s how Pakistan and India can battle over the same chunk of land. In some of their heads they see their borders in different places, and that’s the only place borders ever really exist.

So for the people that don’t think about where the border is, they really don’t see the point of the fight. Because for them the problem doesn’t really exist because they don’t create it by thinking that it has to be one country or the other. The same goes for people. If you remove your expectations, people aren’t right or wrong they’re just doing what they’re doing. And if you don’t tell yourself a story about why you don’t like what is, you’re fine. But if you’re still thinking about it hours or days or weeks or months or years later, you can’t blame the person you’re mad at. Those thoughts were 100% yours and they were thought by you by 100% choice.

544 Relax and Succeed - Train your mindCan you recognize the enormous power contained in this idea? You can choose your mood. All this requires is awareness, and some practice. But this is entirely do-able. I can introduce you to lots and lots of people who’ve worked with me who can do this. They aren’t superheroes. They’re just like you. But they were diligent enough for long enough that they’ve switched their focus. So now, by nature they’ll pay more attention to their interior analysis of the world than they will to their interpretations of that world. What you consider real changes when you take control over your thinking.

Remember. All day long you fill ice cube trays. Every time you see an ice cube be reminded to check in with your thinking. Touch base with your own consciousness and see what you’re injecting it with. Every moment brings a new empty cube. Start getting conscious. Start filling your trays and days wisely with the grateful thoughts of the most successful type of person there is: a person at peace.

cheers. s