Sologamy

It’s more popular in other countries, but even here people are starting to understand the true nature of sologamy. At first it seemed like some silly, narcissistic effort at self-aggrandizement, but in fact it is more of a spiritual practice than a ritual or ceremony.

This isn’t about I’m so awesome. It’s not pride, it’s respect. It’s just like real couples either know or learn; no one’s marriage is held together by romantic love. What does it is respect, dedication and perseverance. Those little ceremonial cuddly times are nice, but it’s the partnership itself that counts most. It’s knowing someone has your back.

People who practice sologamy are merely those who have come to realise how critical self-respect is to healthy being. Some don’t even have a ceremony other than the one in their head where they actually make the commitment. You know the one–the one that means you can turn down invites you don’t really want and not feel guilty about it. That one. Self-respect.

Far from being flighty or silly or immature, people who are sincerely practicing sologamy are practicing the art of stillness, focus and wisdom. They won’t want their ego frightened, angered or backed into doing something it doesn’t want to do. They simply want to be able to resign themselves to the harder parts of life, and feel worthy of, and revel in, its joys.

There’s a lot of thin, hollow-feeling single people out there who come across as though they’re worried that if they don’t find an anchor soon they’ll blow completely away. People feel like wispy clouds when they should feel like the sky itself. Yes, we all have weather pass through. It’s inevitable. But the sky is always the sky. Sologamy is about recognising the sky and committing to it.

This isn’t to say you’ll always be faithful. You’ll slip into ego occasionally. You need to, or you’d forget to value peace and clarity. So the idea is to surf. Sometimes you’re riding the way you want to go, sometimes you’re traversing to get to where you want to go, and at the end of every wave–every section of your life–there’s always a tough period where you have to paddle back out.

Don’t waste your life feeling unworthy or incapable or weak or alone. You belong to everything. We all live in the palm of the universe. Even falling down is safe. So be yourself, mistakes and regrets included. The universe finds it very easy to absorb such tiny experiences. And it revels and expands when you’re blossoming and creating.

Maybe it’s through your work, maybe it’s by having a relationship, or even a baby, but your job is to joyfully move through the universe in whichever way feels right to you in any given moment, and any associated consequences for those choices were always yours to live. Your struggles are where you grow stronger. You subconsciously seek them.

Take it seriously. Respect yourself. You don’t have to be pushy or rude, though people may take it that way. But people not liking you representing your own interests is their problem taking place in their consciousness. You’re learning to manage yours. So you don’t want nervous narratives about disappointing others to lead you to somewhere you really never wanted to be. You making a choice to sacrifice for some reason is fine. You going out of a fear of not being accepted is you thinking too small.

Whoever you are are, you are beautiful and you are worthy of your own affection and respect. It will be much easier for people to give those things to you once you know how to give them to yourself. Start practicing today. You have a lot of amazingness to uncover.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

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.

Other Perspectives #91

816 OP Relax and Succeed - Forgiveness is a promise

With all due respect, I would like to draw attention to the difference between an ego’s idea of forgiveness and spiritual forgiveness. An ego’s idea is what’s expressed above. It’s a nice sentiment, it’s certainly not a bad thing if you do it, but it asks someone to do something in the future, which doesn’t exist in the healthiest mindspace. You’re always Now. So much like the post on Setting Limits, you cannot set an expectation of the future without risking adding further suffering to your life. On the other hand you can spiritually forgive someone, which has nothing to do with the other person at all. You’re not doing anything for them. You’re saving yourself by only living Now, which means you are not choosing to think about something painful that happened in some ethereal past. If something did happen again and you look past it out of love and forgiveness again, (in that Now), then you’re truly forgiving. So you might “fail” at forgiving one in ten times if you weren’t in a healthy state of mind. But that didn’t mean you failed at forgiving. You just missed being conscious once. And people can appreciate the effort in a nine-out-of-ten. They might even respect you a bit more if they’re occasionally reminded of how much the event hurt you and that it takes spiritual effort on your part to keep it out of your today. No one can demand your forgiveness. But your voluntary choice to leave painful thoughts in the past is something you are always free to do and it does improve all relationships.

peace, s

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

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The Friday Dose #84

780 FD Relax and Succeed - Alexandr MilovToday we’ll focus on relationships. We’ll start with a discussion of art and the wisdom of children, then shift to a detailed conversation on how to communicate without judgment, and we’ll end with some profound relationship advice from a child.

First off is a discussion at Collective Evolution about one of this year’s most popular Burning Man art pieces, by Ukrainian artist Alexandr Milov. Seen above, the piece manages to say so much with so little. I have tremendous respect for such artists. Here’s a link to more information on Alexandr:

Collective Evolution: Alexandr Milov

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Next we’ll look into improving your relationships through mindful, nonjudgmental Buddhist communication thanks to Cynthia Kane at The Washington Post. It’s a good article and quite clear, so without further ado:

Cynthia Kane’s: How to Communicate like a Buddhist

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And finally we’ll end on some very clear wisdom on how lowering the intensity of our emotions can result in a much more peaceful and loving life:

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

peace. s

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

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Other Perspectives #68

686 OP-R Relax and Succeed - When you start seeing your worthIt’s a holiday here in Canada so I hope you have the day off and can spend it with your loved ones. In today’s Other Perspectives I discuss that very thing—how to spend healthy time with your loved ones. Because a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about what a good, healthy, long-lasting relationship looks like.

Enjoy.

peace. s

2014’s Blog of the Year #7

580 Relax and Succeed - Be faithful to that*

Getting married? Know someone who is? Well don’t let them do it without answering the two questions in this Blog-of-the-Year.

This Blog was and is a response to me seeing people moving away from their health simply due to misunderstanding some quote on social media. In the blog I take the quotes and expand on them in an attempt to assist people in getting the most out of them. For six months I did depart from that format somewhat in that I treated the blog as more of a question and answer session. During that period I think this was the shortest question I got. But it was in many ways the most profound, and my answer caused a ton of fiances to call and write to thank me, saying that it had either fortunately changed their mind, or it had re-affirmed that they were indeed making a good decision. And if you’re reading it after you’re married, well then it’s a whole different beast. 😉 Either way, it easily earned a spot as a Blog-of-the-Year. Enjoy:

CLICK BELOW TO READ:

2014’s Blog of the Year #7

peace. s

Other Perspectives #2

300 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - When you are important

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 offense 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.

Marriage

157 Relax and Succeed - It is not a lack of loveI’m honoured to be MC’ing a wedding for two friends this weekend. I was relatively young when I got married and to be honest, as much as I loved my wife, I really didn’t understand what made a relationship truly work.

We both had great intentions. We both loved each other very much. But we innocently didn’t realise that our job wasn’t to bring out the best in each other. It was to love each other exactly the way they were/are/will be; the way that attracted us to them in the first place. So when I look at how my friends are approaching things, they seem far less naive than I was and I find it very heartwarming.

For starters, they’re both very nervous. They understandably feel like they are making the biggest decisions of their lives and they are. When I got married I was so focused on the wedding going well that I completely forgot that being married might be an actual skill.

157 Relax and Succeed - Those who love you are not fooled

The truth is, it’s easy to be in a relationship when people feel secure and happy. That’s when we all hold hands, and cuddle, and it’s when we’ll be generous and watch a movie or show we don’t like, just so we can be near them. Pretty much all of us are good at that. But that’s not what makes a relationship work. A relationship shows its strengths when one or more of the people involved feels insecure. And let’s face it: everyone feels insecure pretty routinely.

How all this manifests in practice is quite simple. Every person presents certain challenges to others. This couple simply knows what each other’s issues are, and they have chosen to accept them. Still, like all couples they will argue. What they have going for them is that they don’t mistake temporary upsets for relationship fatalities. They move past those short-term challenges with complete faith that the person they love is still present—and that they are only masked by short term thinking.

An example of this occurred recently, when she was experiencing a serious case of cold feet. My buddy called me while she was at the peak of her anger. He regretted that he’d teased her for being upset, so now she was extra mad and he was mostly hiding until she calmed down. I could hear her in the background and she had some things that she definitely wanted him to understand. What was so beautiful about the moment was his response. 157 Relax and Succeed - Someone who really loves youWhen I asked him how it made him feel relative to his pending wedding, this is what he said:

“Whenever she’s really upset I always ask myself that. Do I really want to be with this person? Do I really want to put up with this for the rest of my life?! But the truth is, every time I ask myself that, I realize that the answer is always Yes. That even when things are the craziest, there’s nowhere I would rather be than with her. There’s no one else’s stuff I would want to deal with like I want to deal with hers. And I just hope she always feels the same way about me, because I know I’m not exactly easy to deal with sometimes. I’m sure when I’m being a jerk she has second thoughts about me too. But as long as those are just temporary, then who cares? Because every time we make it through the harder stuff in life and calm down, what always shows back up is the same feeling that made me fall in love with her in the first place. It was always there. It was just covered up by a bunch of angry thinking. But underneath that, the truth is, I really do want to grow old with her. That’s what I want more than anything. I want to be the best person I can be for her. And if I’m lucky, maybe I’ll still be holding hands with her when we’re 90.”157 Relax and Succeed - Love tabsWhen we’re really young we think our partner is supposed to be the person we’d always imagined being with. That they should like all the things we like, and have all the same priorities we have. But that person is an imaginary person, without their own beliefs, and history and aspirations.

When we’re more mature we realize that everyone is an individual and everyone will present challenges to us as they go their own direction. But if we’re patient and we watch the world closely, we absolutely can find people who will accept us as we are, all while simultaneously helping us to become a better person—not through their instruction—but through their example.

My friends will face the same challenges every couple does, but they face them from a foundation of mutual respect. Rather than wanting their partner to be this way or that way, they appreciate the way they already are. They don’t want to marry some future perfect version of each other. They want to marry the entire person in front of them today. And that level of acceptance comes from the highest order of love.

That kind of loving is absolutely the very best kind to base a marriage on. And I for one look forward to raising a toast at some future anniversary, where we are all old and grey, but where they are still falling in love with each other every single day.

Here’s to love.

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.

The Nature of Trust

147 Relax and Succeed - One does not become enlightenedAn unconscious life is an innocent one. An ego is so subtly formed that each individual will have no idea it’s even there. Essentially we live as a programmed robot, largely reacting to things for reasons we’ve neither assessed nor understood. And we’ll never change that unless we become conscious of our own patterns of thinking.

An ego is a pattern-recognition system that plays back whichever behaviour it believes is suitable, and our programs are constantly being rewritten by experience. So if under stress your mom drank and your dad yelled, then you will either yell, drink, or absolutely not-yell, or absolutely not-drink, but either way it will have been those primary relationships that generated that result. You will literally have been formed by your experience. This process continues throughout life.

If you’ve never had a person cheat on you and no one important to you betrayed someone else while you were watching, then you will be a naturally trusting person because trust is a natural state. That’s why little kids make friends so easily. But if you have been cheated on, or if you watched cheating really hurt someone you care for, then that possibility will now exist within your imagination. The real question is, how often do you access that imagination?

147 Relax and Succeed - I am not what happened to meIf you’re concerned about the commitment of your partner, then remember that agreements, rules, and promises are merely ideas. No one can guarantee their future behaviour, so in reality everyone could potentially cheat. But living under that constant fear isn’t living at all. So a simple decision must be made: either we leave a situation to remove the risk, or we accept the risk as an aspect of any relationship. The real questions becomes, what is the definition of accepting?

To accept something is to cease to think about it. Our histories are our histories, so we can expect that life will deliver us these old menus regularly. We can look over the dishes that life offers to serve us, and we can see that some of these dishes involve the suffering or jealousy or fear, but while we cannot stop the menus from being handed to us, we can consciously choose to avoid ordering painful experiences into our lives.

You worrying about someone cheating won’t stop them from cheating. But you worrying about it will make you anxious, upset and short-tempered and those things will affect a relationship. While you will always be the person your life created, you still want to be a conscious version of yourself. You don’t want unproductive thoughts to take up too much of your life. Like everyone you will have your moments of doubt. But to live in a state of doubt is to surrender your entire life to fear.

147 Relax and Succeed - Your history is not made ofYour fears in life are hard-won. You suffered for them and it makes sense that you would make serious efforts to avoid experiencing them again. But there are no guarantees in life and we cannot live based on what we don’t want to happen; we have to live our lives by creating the things that we do want to happen.

So be grateful for your emotions. Because when you feel the pang of fear or jealousy, you can use that feeling as a signal that your thinking has entered dangerous territory. And by being conscious of your thinking, you can appreciate both its validity and it’s pointlessness. This allows you to be yourself without having your past dictate your future.

Do not feel victim to your pain. Your thinking is intimately connected to your suffering, and whether you realise it or not, you always have control over your thinking. Don’t undermine your life with fears. Expand it with love. It doesn’t guarantee you will never suffer. But it does ensure that your life will be open and free, and in the end that’s both glorious and it’s as good as it gets.

Watch your thoughts. They’re yours, but they don’t control you–you control them. Now go use that power to enjoy your day, regardless of your history.

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.