The Friday Dose #72

705  FD Relax and Succeed - Joe Fig of Malcolm Morley

Today I’ll try to pull you away from any painful, worrisome or angry thoughts by focusing all on calm ideas. The first are these sculptures by Masayoshi Matsumoto which are primarily made of air:

The Amazing Balloon Creations of Masayoshi Matsumoto

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I don’t know what it is about miniaturized things but every kid I know loves miniature houses, horses, cars and people. These incredibly detailed and accurate sculptures of famous artist’s studios will captivate your imagination endlessly. The detail is simply remarkable:

Artist’s Studio’s Recreated in Painstaking Detail by Artist Joe Fig

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Next we’ll get behind a good Kickstarter idea that holds real promise. If you want a calmer life, consider this:

The Light Phone

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And finally we will end with some dance. This very evocative piece by Brian Johnson features Canadian dancer and choreographer Crystal Pite. Enjoy:

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Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Place your thoughts into your consciousness consciously. Maintain awareness. Do not get caught up in habitual thought loops. Come awake, come to life. Be.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose #48

569 Relax and Succeed - You are amazing

Today we’ll get your mind off troubling things by first diverting you towards the incredible cuteness of baby animals. When they’re young is when they seem the most like us, or rather when we seem more like them. We are animals after all. I wonder if we’re as cute to them as they are to us:

Baby Animals!

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Next we’ll look at the Law of Attraction. This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in spiritual thinking and it’s one of the easiest ways for me to spot a charlatan. It’s easy to spout other people’s language, but when pressed you can see where people’s understanding is incomplete. This breakdown does include some ideas that misunderstand the concept but it also has some useful information presented rather nicely so I’ll leave it to your wisdom to separate the wheat from the chaff:

One Definition of the Fundamentals of the Law of Attraction

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I’ve posted stuff from zefrank1 before. Here’s a piece of his that was put to dance by Harry Shum Jr. It’s a piece about shyness and not fitting in, and it’s as informative to the non-shy as it is to the shy. It’s about a man finding his place in the world—a place to realize himself. It’s about a man who shows you what you can do too—which is take all of the skills that you thought were for survival and instead use them to thrive. Those skills are in you because they’re in all of us. Go find your outlet for your true self:

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Set yourself free. Send out to the world the energy you want back and most times it will happily oblige. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself and always know that there are days to move life forward, and there are other days where moving it forward is actually a move backward. So don’t assume you’re not moving forward when what you’re really doing is being busy growing as a person.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Focus on these and change your mind. Enjoy.

The Friday Dose #30

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Enjoy.

455 Relax and Succeed - Creativity is a means of connecting.

Today we’re going for a trio of videos. We’ll start off with a super-cool bit of scientific creativity that is so amazing it’s remarkable that high school physics teachers can manage to make it seem boring. This rendering of the famous double-slit experiment proves that the world is not as it appears to us. Many people saw it in the film What the Bleep, but most people don’t stop to think about what that experiment really means. It literally changes how we think reality works. It’s stunning. And yet people look at it and go cool, and then they’re done. Crazy. This is some very seriously amazing stuff:

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Second we’re going to inspire you. If you read The Friday Dose you know I’m a Shane Koyczan fan, and this piece sounds like it could be a blog here on Relax and Succeed. Sit back and enjoy:

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And finally we’ll end on something to get your heart pumping, your face smiling and your feet tapping. This is The Company performing at the Vibe Dance Competition. Their tight synchronization and great use of costuming really brings a vibrancy to their performance. As with the poem by Shane above, crank up your speakers and sit back and enjoy:

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Smile, say hello to people, hold doors, give compliments, offer assistance. Make it a great day by really connecting with your fellow man. The enjoyment of your day is much more in your control than you realize.

peace. s

The Dance of Enlightenment

I like your blog but I don’t really have any ‘problems.’
Is there still something I can do that will help me grow spiritually?

signed,
Problem-Free

Dear Free,

Hey, good for you! Problem-free! But did you notice your assumption? By asking “is there still…?” you’re operating from a headspace that is presuming that spiritual growth is about dealing with problems. You see it as a salve and not a dance. You’re seeing challenges as ladders and growth as gaining altitude. You’ve been taught a very linear, rising-toward-God/Enlightenment set of narratives. You imagine Enlightenment as the end of a road. It is an achievement and its objective is to stop suffering. That’s a misunderstanding, and that’s also why you definitely can grow even without “problems.”

380 Relax and Succeed - Happiness is the absence of strivingYour spirituality is not something you achieve. It’s not an answer. Nothing ends there. Mental and Spiritual Health is not something you work toward and get. It is something you realize in any moment in which you are at One with everything around you. Including the things you might otherwise be tempted to describe as problems. You don’t rise above problems; you’re at peace with suffering.

I’m not some voodoo guy who makes my problems evaporate. I’m a guy who doesn’t use his consciousness to argue much with what is. I’ll do it a little bit—but that’s helpful because the pain I feel is what points me in the right direction. If there’s four dogs on the walk to work and only one of them bites you when you try to pet it, then that dog is essentially telling you to pet the other three instead. It’s very nice of him to be so clear if we’re awake and listening. But egos aren’t. Egos get mad at the owner for not training the dog better, or worse they blame the dog itself. Can you see they imagine a right way that the world should be and in that world no one should suffer. Bah. Silly.

Each moment is each moment. Native Fijians are correct: 100% of your life is lived in the Present Moment. No moment dictates another moment. Each one contains freedom. So we can want the moments to fit into a pattern that we call legal or right, or moral or ethical, but those are thought-constructs and that’s the very illusion that the Buddha was attempting to dispel. Those patterns exist only in our minds. In fact, all a society is, is a collective agreement on what those patterns are.

So we can tell ourselves ego stories—narratives that suggest how future moments should be, but in truth they will unfold as they unfold, regardless of our wishing. We don’t fix our lives by getting everything lined up perfectly. Instead we understand that our lives are stunning gifts, and we do that by ignoring our stories of want in favour of appreciating what is. We don’t ask the outside world to line up with our beliefs, we accept what is happening and we choose to look for the rewards 380 Relax and Succeed - To live an enlightened lifewithin it. And rewards can come in many strange forms. Remember, you’ve likely paid money to see horrors, suspense films and tragedies. It’s not like those aren’t interesting and intense experiences, but we’re only okay with them when we feel that we’ve chosen them, as we do in a movie. But the theatre’s just a construct. You can do that anywhere. You can feel like you chose it outside the theatre too. You just don’t give yourself that permission. You don’t understand the world in a way where that makes sense. You want the world to line up with the lines in your head. You have ways you expect it to behave. And when it doesn’t, you don’t look at your expectations, you argue with the world. You think something is wrong. And spiritual health is what fixes that. Nope.

Spiritual Health/Mental Health comes from being okay with things. From not wanting to be God where we have control and predictability over future moments. Health comes from allowing things to Be. Remember: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”

So how do you grow spiritually without overcoming problems? Well there is no growth and there is no overcoming, so get rid of the linear-ness and see life as one big flat space where you move from spot to spot—not in a good or bad direction—there isn’t even such a thing as a direction in a healthy headspace. You just choose, and then you don’t argue with what you find there. And that’s the key to your larger question:

If you’re not wasting your life arguing with what is, then you’re free to use that same life-energy to do something else. I would suggest going to the old standbys to start with: Singing, dancing, hugging, making love, laughing, playing, spending time in nature, cuddling, or creating. That’s how you realize your spirituality. You don’t 380 Relax and Succeed - Hard times require furious dancingachieve it, you realize it in whatever moment you’re in. So you don’t become a spiritual person you enact spirituality by making friends with what is. You will be amazed at how much energy you waste on pushing against the Is-ness of the world. Seriously. It’s 80% of your energy. Imagine how much dancing you could do with that.

Don’t be so attached to ending suffering. Be focused on joy instead. You won’t always find it, but by keeping your awareness on that and not your arguments with reality, you will find so much of it that people will call you happy, or grateful, or maybe even spiritual.

A few friends of mine are friends with Wade Davis, the former National Geographic Chief Explorer. He’s a very cool ethno-botanist who lives with tribes the way you’d imagine Indiana Jones might. I’m paraphrasing from hearing this a long time ago, but essentially a Native in the jungle once asked him about Western religious worship. After having it described to him the Shaman said to Wade, “You go to a place to celebrate God, we dance and become God.” That guy gets it. So that’s a pretty good metaphor to answer your question. How can you be meaningfully spiritual? It’s easy. Just spend less of your time trying to figure life out, and more of your time dancing your way through it.

Have fun!

peace. s

Dance Like Everyone’s Watching

77 Relax and Succeed - Be who you are and say what you feelCome on. Seriously. No one’s enjoying this thought-jail we’ve built ourselves. We’re so worried about being judged that people have stopped enjoying life. Now we have symbols for enjoyment, like new clothes or cars, or an expensive or exotic vacation, but even that is only 2 or 3 weeks out of 52. That’s not many experiences in a lifetime of experiences. I propose you let yourself out of that jail by simply not building barriers every time you want to do something.

Why don’t most people like to dance? Because they’re worried about being judged. But for them to feel the neuro-chemicals that collectively translate to worry, they have to pre-think the judgmental thoughts before they even know if they’ll actually exist. So it isn’t the judgments themselves that are crippling your dancing, it’s your own thoughts about the judgments. All you have to do is stop talking to yourself, and dance instead. You have no idea what other people are actually thinking.

And forget that idea of dancing like no one’s watching. Dance as crazy as you want in front of whoever. What possible difference could it actually make? Do we think we’ll permanently cut ourselves off from potential happiness if we express ourselves through dance? Do we seriously think that? Stop thinking there are so few sources of happiness in your life. Stop being attached/addicted to such limited sources for your happiness. You are surrounded by potential happiness. But you have to go and get it.

77a Relax and Succeed - Life is so damn shortMaybe it was because of the accident itself, or maybe it was how I thought because I experienced the accident, but for one of those reasons or another unknown one, I just don’t ever really remember giving much thought at all to what other people thought about me. Of course I did care about some things. But I had no idea my classmates were so tortured. I learned 25 years after high school that other kids used to comment on my dancing. Some liked it, some thought I was crazy. But the important part was that I never wondered about that. I never thought potential judgmental thoughts about my dancing. If I was dancing, I was just dancing. It never occurred to me that I should want people to like my dancing. Life isn’t a competition. Dancing’s fun. I do it for me not for you.

You stop yourself from going to parties. You stop yourself from talking to strangers who interest you. You stop yourself from asking people on dates because they’re too young, too old, too cool, too smart, too too too. Can’t you see that those are all fences in your head? That none of that actually exists, and nor does whatever price you think you’ll pay? Where is this price exacted? In your consciousness. These are all events in your consciousness that only you experience.

Your view of you is not other people’s view of you. Everyone else looks at you and every single one of them will see their own unique individual within their own unique consciousness. So there’s no way to control other people’s view, nor do they have control over yours. They’ll have harsh opinions, uninformed opinions, and smart, incisive opinions. But none of those opinions-floating-in-consciousness should ever stop you from dancing. Or writing. Or singing. Or trying a new job. Or meeting new people. Or any other thing you feel compelled to do.

77b Relax and Succeed - I don't care what you thinkYou have impulses toward joy and excitement but you don’t pursue what you feel. Again, you are surrounded by potential happiness, but you cannot experience it because you are worried about being judged for experiencing it. But you really do need to stop and think about where this judgment leads. Because the only place it leads is to a life of regret.

No one laid on their death bed and thought, gee, I wish I wouldn’t have danced in front of those people. People on their death bed know very clearly that all of that worrying was a silly waste of time—life would still end the same way whether you danced or not. Whether you got laughed at or whether you didn’t, your life—like every life—will simply be a short little dash of experiences. So the point isn’t to be judged a good dancer. The point is to enjoy the dancing.

Have a wonderful day.

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.