Making Sense

Order. Pattern. Sense. Understanding. Meaning. Our lives emerge from these things. In fact, you yourself are a pursuit. You are an action through the universe that skips and jumps and hops from here to there, all in an effort to construct or weave a life story that either makes some kind of sense to you, or that you will continue to work on in an effort to make sense of it.

It’s as though everyone is sitting around together weaving, and the threads are made of words that are then stitched into concepts that combine to create a life story. It’s like we weave the whole thing just to show it to other people who did the same. We’re just hanging out together, and yet what we weave takes on a life of its own.

It’s one thing to weave a lonely disconnected character but it’s another thing altogether to think that you are what has been woven. You are the weaving; not the weaver, not the thread, not the needle. You’re the action of weaving. You aren’t a dancer, you’re a dance.

That would be all well and good if you didn’t spend so much of your life wandering from person to person asking them what you should weave, and asking them to explain their own weaving. They will tell you what they’ve learned from their weaving, but only the basic principles are common to all weavers, so it’s not like they can really help you. Your job is to let go and weave what only you would weave, you’re not supposed to become some expert on weaving. Do you understand?

Look at how cloying your brain is about comprehension. You hate not knowing. You dislike confusion, or uncertainty. Your mind seeks order. It wants to understand. But the problem is the wanting, not the understanding. Your life is just a steady pursuit of understanding, but too often people are standing back looking at the shape of that pursuit as though it’s something to be judged. The path and the walker are one.

The good news is, this means your route through life has been neither good nor bad. It was merely the life that emerged from the choices you made, either consciously or unconsciously. Where it went in the end is irrelevant. What counts is that you felt the experience of being alive.

All great dramas are made of many kinds of characters and all play their critical role in the larger plots. Strangely, there is no more merit in playing the hero as there is in playing the villain. We need them all to feel like anything happened, and we will all take a turn (many times) in both roles.

As the comedian Andy Kaufman knew when he created a wrestler for everyone to hate, what we really love is the story. If we can learn to accept that we’re here to weave stories and not to do something important, then we can get on to the important act of weaving, just as Kaufman voluntarily became someone for you to despise. He wasn’t being a jerk. For our benefit, he was just playing one in the drama that is our collective lifetimes.

Stop looking for meaning. Like water, just flow naturally to your own low ground. The pool that forms will be what reflects your life exactly as it should. So stop striving, trying, or wanting. Simply be instead. Let yourself be yourself, and accept who you are, no matter what. Regardless of what your thinking says.

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.

Swapping Sexes

884 Relax and Succeed - First of all he saidHow did you do at your meditation yesterday? Were you able to hold your attention on your schoolmate or co-worker’s perspective? Did you learn something about them that makes them more human, more connected, more deserving of your empathy?  If you did that much you did a lot.

Today we’ll focus on the differences between the genders. What’s it like to live in your society as the opposite sex? Men have more personal freedom and often a greater sense of safety, a woman will have more freedom to experience her full range of emotions but she will feel almost instantly less safe. These are not small challenges for each gender to face. These are some of the biggest issues each group has.

It’s terrible to say, but even in a modern country like Canada the most recent stats show women making on average 72 cents for every dollar a man makes. Guys, just take whatever you buy today and multiply the cost by 1.28 and you’ll quickly realize it would take you far longer to recover or get ahead. And remember–these are for a lot of the same kinds of jobs.

884 Relax and Succeed - Empathy isGuys–imagine how ridiculously unfair you would think that was if it was men of your colour, nationality or body type? How would you feel if something arbitrary like that almost certainly guaranteed that you would be up for fewer promotions, get sexually harassed, and make 72% of the guy’s pay? Face it: we’d be furious and we would take action. And if our sisters and mothers and wives and daughters didn’t leap to help us that would feel terrible.

Ladies–imagine how difficult it is to be the one who is carrying the lion’s share of the total costs of living? Most people couldn’t maintain important aspects of their lifestyle without their 72% salary being married to a 128% salary. And maybe you make more, but you don’t feel like you could leave your job if you’re being abused, mistreated, threatened or even if you just can’t stand it. Without the guy the household topples and everyone’s living a much different lifestyle. That can be extremely stressful at time and it can make work feel like a jail.

Whether it’s work feeling like a jail or a dark street feeling like a very real threat, we walk through each day without an enormous amount of consideration for how the other half lives. Just watch your spouse for one day and imagine doing what they’re doing. Imagine if all of the responsibilities were swapped? Imagine if you had to even know what they know, or if ladies couldn’t call friends when they were distraught or men couldn’t protect themselves in everyday situations.

884 Relax and Succeed - Where there is no loveThe fact is, you probably haven’t had much cause to think at all about your spouse’s or brother’s or mother’s or son’s lives. Doing so will expand your awareness and that will open you up and that will feel good. Get out of your head. Establish empathy with more people. Stop thinking about how they affect you and start thinking about how they are impacted by you.

There is greater connection and increased respect between people who understand each other’s experience. Men will never know what it’s like to have a baby and women will never know what it’s like to first in line for dangerous duty, but we can invest ourselves in the healthy action of leaving our own thoughts and worries behind for a day so that we can expand our meditating abilities and establish better relations with the opposite sex. Actually do it. It will expand who you are.

Now go have a great day everyone. I gotta go figure out where I’m gonna put this tampon….

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.