Thens and Whens

The definition of Stultified is “to cause to lose enthusiasm and initiative, especially as a result of tedious or restrictive routine.” Sound familiar? You have an instinct for how life should feel and let’s face it, because egos seek security over experience, a lot of folks feel like their lives are small dashes of fun amidst a sea of monotony, responsibility and anxiousness. And who can blame them. Who wants to think that’s all there is?

But here’s the deal: think or live. The world is not terrible, you aren’t inadequate, your life does not lack potential. So why are so many people thinking those three things? Habit, supported by the fact that every other ego around you is doing it too, which makes it appear sane when it’s actually the key form of mental disruption for people.

People want answers but there aren’t any; you are an answer. Your life is an answer. And you write that answer as you live and that is a part of the perfection of how this all works. That’s once again why Kierkegaard went on about how you live forward but understand backward. So everyone can simply be, and life would be the jostle we experience together. But we can’t do that because most of you avoid jostling.

You don’t like being uncomfortable. You don’t like it if someone doesn’t like you, and you don’t like to fail. But achieving comes from trying and trying is another word for failing, so now what do you do? Success is on the other side of failure. Do you go for it anyway? Or do you live in the past or present, constantly thinking, always trying to figure out who you were supposed to be, calculating what’s wrong now, and then figuring out how bad your future is likely to be?

Seriously? No way. You have way too much potential for that. You stop the fearful thoughts by carefully considering what’s actually happening, which then leads to the eventual realisation that the only suffering you’d be open to was from your own thinking. Fortunately, you control that, so essentially you’re free of everyone except yourself. And even if you do attack yourself, it’ll be harder to take yourself seriously when you’ve truly considered how meaningless your fearful thinking is to the world.

Rather than living your life afraid that the world is too big for little you, live knowing that life is a powerful imperative within you. Standing in its way is sure to be painful. You were meant to be. As the naturalist David Attenborough said about plate-sized lichens, surviving for hundreds and thousands of years, “They simply exist, testifying to the moving fact that life even at it simplest level occurs, apparently, just for its own sake.” If you’re going to feel an urge to live anyway, why be a lichen? Why not live and enjoy a bunch of it?

I recently saw a quote: “The worst kind of sad is not being able to explain why.” Look, either you found out you have cancer or you didn’t. Someone died or they didn’t. Let’s not pretend that sadness just shows up like some kind of invisible cloud. It’s brain chemistry that’s fired by what’s in your consciousness. If something didn’t recently happen, then the reason you’re sad is why anyone would be sad: you’re taking your nows to think about depressing thens or whens. It hurts because it’s not your path. You were meant to be not think.

The pain just increases as you avoid life and think more. It is your nature, your destiny and your future to fill your lifetime. The universe simply wants some things to be and the internal arguments you replay in your head mean nothing in the face of it creating your life. Instead of talking to yourself, it’s time you climbed on board your own life and then ride it to wherever you really feel like going. Even if the route is hard.

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 Spirit of Possibility

Whether it’s their own idea or someone else’s, people scoff when they hear dreams that seem too big. But too big for who, and when? Is it possible that the limitations of the world are merely made up by the limitations of our imagination? Is it possible that everything mankind has wrought started with a thought?

Every single thing you see before you; every cup, every phone, every car, everything you watch on a screen, everything that was ever created–including the blog you’re reading now–began with an idea. So why do you act like ideas are nothing? Why is your reaction to a big idea to note why it wouldn’t work, rather than getting excited by finding out how?

Did a pyramid seem possible to early man? Did the rule of law and democratic government seem possible to the subject of a king or queen? Did cars seem possible to cowboys? Did going into space seem possible to people who’d grown up without electricity or running water? And did the internet or smartphone seem possible even a few short years before their inception? Probably not. But they seemed possible to some collection of people. That’s the only reason you have any of the things that exist.

There’s an interview with David Lynch and Patti Smith where she asks him where his ideas come from and he gives an answer that will feel good to every truly creative person. He talks about how there’s a completed puzzle somewhere off in the universe, and he finds the fragment of it somewhere in the universe and he falls in love with it. And that love attracts other fragments, and the more fragments that get attracted the bigger the bait for more fragments. And that’s how every single amazing thing ever happened.

Darwin felt a tug and he followed the passion right out of his beloved church and right into discovering evolution, which in a way was him trying in his own way to describe what God or the forces of nature had created. But people adopt these ideas at their own pace. There are still people coming to accept that idea, and yet so much of the modern science and medicine the nonbelievers use will have been built directly as an extension of that initial creative truth.

Darwin won one friend over, then another, then a publisher, then a society or two, and eventually the public and the school systems. But it all started with one guy falling in love with his personal fragment, and you yourself are like a spiritual fragment-finding creation. That’s how you found all of your friends, and if you have a family it was literally born from the initial thought to bring those two first fragments together. And you felt it as a simple sense of recognition that felt something like, “Oh, he’s attractive.”

Watch yourself today. See people’s statements to you as offerings, and ask yourself what you do with them as offerings. Do you reflect back a previous belief regardless of what they’ve said, or do you attempt to prove it wrong using what you believe versus what they believe? Or, do you take it in and ask questions and really ask yourself what’s being said? Because Einstein told people about gravitational waves 100 years ago, but few believed him then.

Fortunately Einstein’s initial thought was enough bait to attract 100 years worth of clinging fragments, and recently some of the fragments who are scientists actually turned enough of their own thoughts into machines and processes that they were actually able to prove that Einstein’s had formed a truth.

Too often children and adults alike are told that ideas are crazy or too big. Too often we tell ourselves that, but we must shake that collective tendency. It’s ego-related and it’s all about your fears. Forget those. Find your fragment–the thing that will be worth you moving past your fears for. Maybe you’ll be right, maybe you’ll be wrong about what’s on the other side. Maybe you’ll create the thing and maybe you won’t. But that doesn’t matter. Because the power isn’t in the creation, the power is in creating. Even your so-called failures add value to the universe.

Don’t sell your dreams short. The route to them might be entirely unexpected, but if you boldly go forth you are sure to accomplish something meaningful. Start today.

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.

Releasing Motivation

1039-relax-and-succeed-you-have-been-criticisingThe reason artists are often called “crazy” is that the two states of creativity and insanity are really degrees of the same thing; few people talk to themselves more than artists need to, and more talking to yourself than that starts to get dangerously close to being lost in thought, otherwise known as “crazy.”

Most people have a boss with deadlines and job descriptions they have to fulfil so they can’t see how much that format is making them work, because even entrepreneurs know it’s much harder when there’s no external deadline imposed. But at least an entrepreneur has a client they’re servicing, but the reason they find marketing the hardest part is the same reason art’s difficult; there’s not only no boss, there’s no customer and the job is pure open space. As an artist you can’t even go to work until you decide how big your canvass should be.

Athletes might bemoan their hours spent training, but most artists would trade them that feeling for the agony of finding it difficult to create. I get a lot of mock hate-comments from artist friends who can’t figure out how I can do other writing and these pages every day by 7am. When your thoughts hold you back creating is very very hard indeed. I remember that sense well.

1039-relax-and-succeed-dont-think-about-making-artIt’s terrifying to start a piece of art because you have a lot of notable things to think about. You have big, public ways to fail. If you’re an author you’re probably comparing yourself to literally the very best people in the world. If you’re a painter you’re worried about $2,500 in paint and canvass you have to invest before you can even try to sell it. If you dance you’re worried about injuries and being a musician on the road has all sorts of potential pitfalls. It can easily make you crazy if you do too much thinking and too little creating.

We’re all such harsh critics. We could still have our opinions and yet talk to people with the approach we’d use with them a kid, where we’d have fewer expectations and where we’d want to be more encouraging. But as adults we make it painful to show personal things. We offer our negative opinion; our corrections. And even if they’ve paid us for that opinion, it still hurts them to hear voices of nonacceptance. And so creating art is hard. The climb is high and the fall feels long.

What’s important for the artist or any other person to remember is that these distances we’ve climbed and these heights we fall from all exist only within our imaginations. You’re not linear. You didn’t advance and then fall back; you expanded and then expanded again. The courage to create work is hard enough; the courage to show it publicly is even more precarious. These are victories not failures. These are what every great artist experiences. It is simply the act of moving past our fears and into an act of creation.

1039-relax-and-succeed-act-without-doingWe tend to think that when things are painful we must be doing something wrong but we only feel that way because there’s a cult of feeling good when in truth you wouldn’t even be able to sense feeling good without feeling bad to compare it to. So we must embrace feeling unsettled and wounded too, lest the art of our lives be shallow and hollow.

Artists spend very little time actually physically creating their art. What they do is spend time doing is observing life and then capturing poignant, worthwhile moments of it in art so that we too can benefit from their keen observations. Maybe they see something funny, maybe it’s what lead them to no longer be racist, it doesn’t matter; their only job is to place it in the world for us to find in the format we personally understand things in, whether that’s dance or painting or any other form.

Artists would benefit if they treated their art more like work, but before they can do that they must have enough respect for themselves that they actually feel genuinely motivated to live up to their own deadlines. If an artist is excited about what’s next then it makes sense that they’ll be excited to complete the project they’re working on, and that’s what gets the deadlines met; not a boss, not a date on a calendar–a genuine desire to finish so that more can be created. That’s a lesson the rest of the work-world can learn from successful artists.

Find what matters about your work even if that ends up being your co-workers having better days so they go home to their kids happier. As long as you feel genuinely motivated to create that positivity by doing what you’re doing, then the doing of it won’t feel much like work because it won’t be. It’ll be your life. It’s time you started actively living more of it. I’ll be better for everyone.

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.

The Friday Dose #133: Biocentrism

1038-fd-relax-and-succeed-i-have-the-same-religion-as-this-treeI haven’t changed my view of how the universe works since I was five. It all makes sense, but it makes sense as dreams within dreams. You can discuss parts of logically, but the whole is too expansive and complex to ever be captured by anything smaller than the universe itself. So while you can grow to the point where you can quite clearly see facets of creation, that perspective also exposes how infinite the universe is, and in accepting that fact there is a beautiful calm that comes over one when you no longer need answers.

Science has grown increasingly close to my understanding over the years, with there being major steps; as when science began to contemplate and then finally accept the idea of neuroplasticity. As time goes on these ideas seem less crazy and more possible and I continue to be on the hunt for bold scientists who are going in the same direction I am.

1038-fd-relax-and-succeed-biocentrismI don’t agree with every single statement that was made when I heard this interview in October, but I did immediately note this discussion as–by far–the closest description I’ve ever heard a scientist give to the reality I know.

I’m not sure what percentage of my readers are prepared to entertain ideas this big and complex, but if you are that type, I really do feel you have a good chance of illuminating some dark areas of your understanding if you do listen to this description of the dance that is done between what you see as you and what you see as the universe.

Ideas: Dr. Robert Lanza on Biocentrism

Have a great weekend everyone.

peace. s

Get Lost

1017-relax-and-succeed-getting-lost-is-not-a-waste-of-timeWhere did you think you were going anyway? Even if you did manage to live your A-List life with no divorce, no cancer, lots of money; you’re still gonna have some bad days. You’re still gonna have problems. But even problems and bad days are just sets of experiences.

Wherever we had them, whoever we had them with, doing whatever we were doing, all we can ever have is experiences. There are no good or bad lives, although I know fashion and celebrity magazines and websites sell the idea that there’s a route through them to the good ones. But what’s a good one?

I’ve got a friend with a five and ten year plan and he never varies from it. It’s gone perfectly. He’ll be able to retire by 40 with everything paid off and lots invested. He’s also a bit uptight, so his wife is bored and the marriage is shaky. I’ve got another friend who travels and he works as a welder when he needs money and he mostly just hangs out with locals visiting until he eventually leaves to meet other people in other places. He’s got a woman in every port and they’re always happy to see him. Each of those guys thinks the other’s life is irresponsible and nuts.

1017-relax-and-succeed-when-you-danceWe can argue freedom versus responsibility but that that’s an ego-argument because in the end both of these people are simply having experiences, the same as you and me. That’s what’s being alive is; having experiences. That’s why you’re only technically alive when you’re in a coma. Your ability to process experiences is greatly reduced. That’s like starvation to your soul. You’re consciousness is a flashlight. What it shines on is what you feel. To stay still is painful stagnation. Otherwise there are no mistakes, there’s only what you shine on.

Most people imagine their spiritual growth as steps up some mystical staircase of wisdom, but in reality it’s not really a gaining of knowledge; our eyes just adjust to the dark and we gain an increased awareness of the world that was always around us, even if it hasn’t been in the spotlight of our attention. The darkness can be made of many things, including everything from traffic rules to ideas about love , and even really strange things like; does it really make sense that a bunch of wildly varied physical types, doing wildly varied amounts of physical activity could all share a common dinner time? That’s an idea, not a thing. Most of our lives are invisible agreements like that.

When we get lost we lose both our certainty and our identity. Forced to live in the moment we wake back up. You might know this feeling if you’re an enthusiastic traveller; when you first get somewhere it’s like your senses are all on steroids. Plus, when you travel no one knows you so your identity is irrelevant. So you’re really awake and aware and you’re not giving much thought to who you are in the world. That sounds like enlightenment. No wonder vacations are so relaxing!

1017-relax-and-succeed-dalai-lamaMost of your suffering is due to being knocked off course. But whose course? What gave you the right to write lives out for everyone you meet? Do they get to do that to you too? Of course you’d hate that. But you have to meditate on this set of facts. If it really is a bad idea you have to let it go. And I mean let it go like; totally surrender the idea as completely unworkable. You can’t have it hanging there like a remote possibility.

You cannot direct the ocean’s waves. The world is too huge and too complex. Our lack of acceptance of that reality binds us to our hopes and dreams and those are what rise to the heights from which our disappointments topple. We’re better to act wisely in a moment of being lost than to be unconscious but on track with some theoretical plan that isn’t taking the present moment into account.

We can catch glimpses of life matching our hopes and then extrapolate that it’s possible to do that with an entire life but those are more the exceptions than the rules. This isn’t to say that life can’t still be awesome and that you can never plan anything, but if your life is rewarding it will become that way because you are consciously building the experience you’re having, not because you’re fumbling the present because you’re busy planning for a later time and a different set of circumstances that will likely never come anyway, (and even if it does the best you can do is enjoy it, which could have been done in the current moment were it not for the planning for later moments).

There is no way, no route, no road, no path. There is only a way of going, and it isn’t happy and it isn’t sad; it isn’t calm and it isn’t excited, it’s just going. It is the act of having experiences. It’s less time than we all think we’ll get, so invest it wisely. By the end of your life, where you’ve been and who you’ve been won’t be nearly as important as how you’ve been.

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.

Conscious Creation

961 Relax and Succeed - You don't change your lifeYou can actually build a body that is good at being sad. You can also build one that is good at being angry, or good at being a victim or even good at being happy. Each of those emotions are created by chemical signals from your brain to your body and your personality is defined by which chemicals your body is most addicted to.

When a cell splits it’s paying attention. Each cell makes this little contribution to your consciousness. They’re awake and alive and they’re doing their best to create the reality you are asking for. So if you’re angry a lot then your cells are most likely to split when you’re angry and so that’s what the daughter / sister cell will be tuned to. Over time you end up with a body made of so many cells made in angry that you have literally become an angry person.

My clients are generally addicted to sadness or anger although occasionally I get one addicted to happiness. They’re never seeing me for relief though–they want to go higher. They want to feel exalted. They’re hunting enlightenment and you can’t do that until you are experienced at being in a conscious state, so the first step is to consciously build a healthy mind-body connection.

961 Relax and Succeed - If you knew how powerful your thoughts wereIt’s like you’re a clear plastic container shaped like you. Every moment a grain drops out of your food and each moment you have to add a new grain to the head of your container. Each grain is a different chemical. At the end of about eight years you will have traded almost all of your grains of identity and, if you’ve changed your thought patterns, you will look entirely different to everyone. People would say you have changed.

You must take ownership of this process in order to guide it. You cannot just surrender to what the world wants to throw in your head. You can be lucky you got home from war or happy you survived; both grains will be thrown toward your head but you’ll decide which one gets inside. You’ll think the thought. Someone else’s actions are just the toss, you are the catch. You decide what you allow to enter you. You can either make excuses for ugly chemistry or you can collect the qualities that make you beautiful.

No one is pure, not even an enlightened being. Without unenlightenment there can be no enlightenment. It’s like heaven. It lasts for eternity, which is means it’s also now, and every moment has the potential to create many different identities. You decide if you which ones you include within you with your attention. What you focus on is what you get.

961 Relax and Succeed - I have chosen to be happyYour thoughts are powerful things. With them you literally shape who you are. Do not allow this process to be habitual. Don’t just throw in whatever your childhood taught you to throw in because most people’s parents weren’t conscious and so you got a happenstance identity not a conscious one. This is the next stage for humanity. We get the material world pretty well. It’s time we took on the world of consciousness and energy.

Be aware. Be conscious. And if you catch yourself adding negative chemistry, don’t attack yourself for failing or that will just be more negative chemistry. You must love yourself before you can love others. This is an important mission. You cannot tell the world a story about how you don’t deserve it. There is no such thing as deserve. We are all one. You will be who you ask to be. So start today and ask to be who you really would like to be. Because if you can think like your hero for a few years, you will literally become your own hero.

You’re human, I know you can do this. The only question is, when will you start? Me? I try to do this every day. So let me start off my own day be choosing to love you, because in the future I would like to be even more loving than I already am. That is my goal, that is my aim and that is what keeps me conscious. I love you.

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.

The Productive Life

950 Relax and Succeed - You don't choose your futurePeople pick a goal and then they imagine what their life would be with that goal already accomplished. That’s called wishing and its ineffective as you’ve no doubt noticed. It’s also painful because now you have your actual life to directly compare to your finished, complex dream. That creates unnecessary suffering.

That sort of procrastination and struggle is often associated with an external ego-based goal. Those are things you’re interested in because you think others value them and you do this because you use your thinking to theoretically deduct from your own natural value and so you feel the urge to add to yourself from the outside.

950 Relax and Succeed - To avoid criticismAs an example, if you’re afraid to make a decision you might let one of your parents pick your career and they might do it based on money rather on how you enjoy spending your time. Or maybe you want to be famous because you didn’t get enough attention when you were young. But if your spirit isn’t into your work then that advice won’t help you no matter how famous you are. We’re more inventive and original than that and those are answers society needs. The real question is, what life do you feel compelled to do and how do you want to live it out in your own life?

Even your personality is just a habit of thought. From it will emerge your attitude toward the challenges you face. But those challenges will require action. You don’t want to use your thoughts to dream up a life you’re not having or that’s what you’ll have–an unlived life. You want to use your consciousness like a flashlight; primarily shining it on those thoughts and activities that align with a goal you feel is central to who you are. Overcoming those won’t always be easy, they’ll just usually feel worth it.

950 Relax and Succeed - You don't have to see the whole staircaseOf course nothing can guarantee your future, but you can determine your habits and your habits can strongly influence your future. In fact, your habits of behaviour and your habits of thought are the legs with which you walk through life. Stand on them strongly. Lean on others when you need to, but once you start standing up for yourself–for your own life–you’ll quickly see that the best thing you can possibly focus on is the step you are taking.

Don’t sit there wishing and waiting for a great life to arrive. Take strides toward who you would like to be. Strongly choose your direction and take action every day to move yourself closer to realising the idea in your imagination. You’re not lost or wrong before you’re there–you are always on the step you’re taking. The questions today are, who chose these steps? Where are these steps leading? And do you want to choose a new direction?

Life is not giant decisions, it’s tiny ones about individual steps. Stop being intimidated by looking at your whole journey at once and simply focus on where you are and where you want to go from here. From that perspective the next step to take is often quite obvious and easy. The question is, will you take it today?

Have yourselves a great day everyone.

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.

Our True Selves

If you pay careful attention to the simplicity of what I’m saying you will absolutely see significant changes in your life. Some of these changes will be visible to others, others will leave you feeling differently about your past, present and future. But the important thing is the simplicity.802 Relax and Succeed - If you want to go somewhere

Ready?

If you read this blog then you know I explain some very straightforward things, the first of which is: experiences happen within your consciousness not in an outside world. Things you think and things you do are the same to the real you. It’s why you feel real emotions when you’re dreaming at night. So take a moment to really consider that. And I don’t mean, yeah I got it, I mean assume you don’t get it and look at it closely. Think of examples in your own life.

Next, remember that the experiences you reconsider most often will shape who you believe you are. They do this by becoming the most-repeated thought patterns you think. Your thoughts are like roads. The more you use them the wider and faster the road gets until you’re always taking the easy route–otherwise known as your personality. Always think fearful thoughts and you will become a fearful person.

Critical is remembering that your thoughts are always subject to change. Changing your thoughts is changing your Self. You are literally widening a different road. The nice thing is, when you stop using the old road it deteriorates and eventually it’s a donkey path you barely if-ever use. After about a month of thinking in some new pattern your brain has physically rewired you into a new identity that includes the ability you’ve been practicing, whether that’s juggling or not losing your temper.

802 Relax and Succeed - The best way to predict the futureNow remember that first point: to our true selves psychological experiences are equal to what we perceive as material experiences. That means it is possible for us to live out an experience in our imaginations and our brains will wire us up accordingly, as though we’ve actually already done the thing and done it as well as we’ve imagined. That’s why the kids in that famous study who thought about free-throws ended up improving more than the kids who spent an equal amount of time in the gym actually shooting free throws.

Explaining the above; if we do think something through regularly it allows us to feel more comfortable when we’re going through an actual experience. Whether it’s the feeling of being loved, the death of a loved one, or even going to an audition, if you’ve thought of yourself successfully being in that situation than you will literally have wired your brain up as though it’s already actually been there. It’s done that and it can relax. Because if you’ve been thinking about it, then as far as your true self goes you’ve literally been there before and you survived.

802 Relax and Succeed - This age thing is all up to youDo you see how this means you don’t heal from a broken heart, or from grief, or other suffering? There is no healing. There is only being the healthier version of ourselves. It’s not that we heal in suffering and then suddenly walk away in health. Mental health is when we make healthier use of our minds. If we haven’t practiced that then we have no new wiring to use. No, you don’t wait to get healthy and then start your life. You see yourself as already healthy and then you act that way.

Kids don’t fight illness when they’re little because they don’t know what that is yet. Instead of hoping to be healthy they are excited to live. And they do that until they start to get defeated by the thoughts we teach them. A head cold will last seven days. In relationship breakups it takes three months to recover for every year you’ve dated. This cancer will kill you. We get told all kinds of things in life and yet there’s no shortage of people who didn’t follow those recommendations.

You can’t be and act like a sick person and then just wish and want for health. Nope. You’re in charge. Sorry. No one to hand it off to. But that’s okay. You were given this little spaceship to drive through the universe because the universe knows what it’s doing. Just stop thinking about all the things you can’t do, struggle with, and are worried about, and instead think of your strengths, your victories and what you’re excited about in your future.

802 Relax and Succeed - Be the changeDo not say, I’ll go back to playing basketball when I quit smoking. Say instead: I’m going to start playing basketball so that I have something fun that helps me remember I’m not really a smoker. The only step after that miraculous one is when you realize that you don’t need words and language to feel strong like that.

Please, there’s no need to sit still and heal unless your injuries have you in traction at the hospital and even then you can use your thoughts to help mend you. Enact as much health as you can. When you see some 100 year old lady dancing at her birthday party, her legs might really hurt if she thought about it. But she’s not. She’s excitedly thinking about how fortunate it is that she can dance at her 100th birthday party. Because it’s probably something she had been thinking of doing for most of her life. 😉

If you had any idea of how huge and powerful this ability was you would laugh at how silly many of your problems appear in comparison. You actually are that capability, so it’s time to stop telling yourself that you’re a much more limited being than you really are. Instead go create a great day being the giant capable self that lives within you.

peace. s

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

Artistic Archeology

Creativity and artistry are fascinating manifestations of where we notice holes in our idea of how the universe works. Whether it’s political theatre, a protest song, an eco-movie like Wall-E, or a painting of Gurnica, artists are the people who see past the theatre of belief to the underlying truth. In psychology or propaganda or politics they can see some glimmer of the 458 Relax and Succeed - creativity is the ability tosubtle influences at work. Their artworks are expositions of their discoveries.

This is why artists really don’t have to worry about creative block. Because we’re not building these pieces out of nothing. It’s more like we’re excavating the idea we have stumbled upon. Maybe it’s an idea others have had before and we are retelling it, or maybe it is a new idea that will change the discourse of humanity. But it is not something our ego needs to be invested in. We are not creating beauty, we are exposing truth. (And yes, that truth can include the fact that sometimes frivolous beauty has its place.)

So the way to be creative is to carefully sift through every idea you can. Look at anything that in any way relates to your premise through some form of proximity, be that direct, chronological, or even metaphorical. Turn the idea over in your own imagination. Look for surprising things. Find ways to show us the magic of sharing in your discovery. That is what art is. Remove everything that is not the art and then assemble it in a logical structure that can be understood by others, even if the sensation is more feeling than concept. Connect people by exposing some of their barriers as false and ephemeral.

When you’re looking for ideas you don’t get snobby about where they come from. So throw every crazy idea you can at something and get a different part of your brain involved. And then when you feel like you’ve got it by the tail, start digging around where the central idea is buried. Eventually you’ll expose enough that the art will begin to take on shape and meaning to outside viewers. They will see it as your creation. You will see is as: you removed all the extraneous material from view and you 458 Relax and Succeed - The way to get good ideasthereby allowed creation itself to be visible. But that is what you do as an artist. You expose truths. You are philosophers. Without you, the world would never have moved forward.

Take great pride in your profession. There is a reason that you are the first people that despotic leaders lock up. You are dangerous with your original ideas. So don’t ever feel you are insignificant in this world. To the contrary, creativity is the only reason that mankind has moved forward at all. That’s about as important as it gets.

When you’re young you want first drafts to be as good as your hero’s work. That’s nuts. What you can’t see is that your heroes still do multiple drafts that you will never know existed. Those could be called failures. Or they could be called how you find your work. So relax. Throw anything at it. Follow impulses. See where they lead. You can always start again. But don’t try to create perfect work. You’ll drive yourself insane. Instead, try to love creating your work as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be happy work—it can be tragic. But it nevertheless needs to be passionate.

Be bold with your art and your choices. Let your creativity expand your life and our world. We welcome your input. Much love.

peace. s

Happiness Is Where We Find It

You can’t find spiritual enlightenment or salvation by seeking it. I realize this seems ironic but it’s true. Seeking requires a form of attachment. We have to use our consciousness to imagine our future in order to pursue a goal. There is a finish line. An objective. There is winning and losing. So we know we’re functioning in ego because spirit doesn’t recognize any of those concepts. Winning and losing are mental constructs, as are finishing, goals and objectives. We know this because it’s possible for two people to both feel they have won—or both feel they have lost—in a competition with each other. This is a demonstration of how flexible human consciousness and ergo reality is.

440 Relax and Succeed - Happiness is where we find itI’m not sure if it’s apocryphal or not, but I heard a story when visiting NASA as a kid, that the reason astronauts sleep with the lights on and blindfolds on is because during the first missions when the astronauts slept in the dark, their arms would float out in front of them. They would awaken and see something floating in front of them and their brain would tell their arm and hand to move out to that spot to see what was floating there. But because the arm and the hand was what was floating out there, moving to there was impossible. Are you catching my drift? Something can’t go to where it already is. You can’t be found if you’ve never been lost.

Every soul is born a Buddha. And then you get confused. Or lost. At least it feels that way. In reality your spirit is on an adventure. You’ve lived all the easy silly fun lives. You’re bored. Do the movies you watch have no tense or sad or horrific scenes? Why do you watch those? You don’t only watch comedies. You like action movies and dramas and horrors and maybe even the odd tear jerker. So if you’ll do that for entertainment why won’t you do it for salvation?

440 Relax and Succeed - You are valuable because you existLet things be. Including yourself. Don’t create a world where everything’s right. Live rightly in the world. Allow it to unfold in its magnificent grace. And go whichever direction your nature takes you. For your nature is not leading to somewhere. It’s the verb of you moving through experiences. It exists in the present moment. And it is always fine with whatever happens.

Okay, can you mix those ideas together so that the opening quote makes perfect sense? If you’re seeking enlightenment you’re assuming you’re not already enlightened, and so you’re trying to get where you already are. So you don’t become healthier by changing yourself some way. You realize health by coming to know the truth about how your daily experience is formed.

You don’t try to be mentally healthy because that’s an outside-looking-in perspective. You allow yourself to already be healthy by not thinking that the way you are is wrong. Because your true contentment does not come from outside sources like things or approval. It is born out of the richness of a complete and utter lack of need. The person who lacks nothing is the richest person indeed. And the person who is most spiritual the one who no longer seeks God because they have found a way to become One with God.

Now stop thinking that you need to be anything other than what you are. And use that confidence and value and love and go make yourself rich with happiness. 😉

peace. s