The Friday Dose #120: Your Nature

968 FD Relax and Succeed - We are natureThe only problem with this is: if you make something this cheap and easy then no one wants to believe it could be the solution to a big problem. But it is.

You are an aspect of nature. Yesterday I discussed the value of you communing with other aspects of nature; other people, animals, plants, earth, water, air. This isn’t some unpleasant assignment or painful procedure, this is freeing your body, seeing interesting things, breathing more deeply and slowing down.

Below I’ve included something funny yet meaningful to start us off and we’ll follow that with two fascinating videos. Immediately after you watch this first one seriously consider booking something to do this weekend with a friend or friends that involves you in actual nature, experiencing nature. And no, golf doesn’t count. 😉

Next we’ll take a peek into an excerpt from a TED Talk given by Suzanne Simard (the entire talk is available here.) She exposes some fascinating facts but pay particular attention to how similar we are to the world around us. Remember, your DNA is not that far off a banana and grasping and respecting that reality is worth a lot to you. Plus it’s just amazing:

And finally I leave you with a documentary I have literally searched for since my days living in Budapest. It’s called, Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden, and if you’d like to see an HD version apparently the Smithsonian has one. This film discusses the beautifully elegant and spiritually sophisticated relationships between the gardens, the gardeners and the people who visit with intention. It’s a great way to expand yourself on a rainy afternoon. It may be the most peaceful documentary you’ve ever seen. Enjoy.

You want your life to be happier and you want to be healthier. Go outside this weekend. Just don’t get lost in thought. Forget goals. Be with nature.

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.

Big Changes

Society is maturing. This is the technology/nuclear age where we have started to better understand that the damage we can do is permanent. The world’s greatest minds are terrified of where Artificial Intelligence will go, we’ve made a lot of changes in the environment in various ways but at least now we’re quickly growing a greater respect for where we live and what we are and how we connect.

772 Relax and Succeed - How do we change the worldIt might look bad, but this is where we begin an era of attempting to gain more self-control as a species. We’re thrashing around less. Most of us want treaties not wars. And now that Maslow’s Pyramid has been largely fulfilled, we’re looking for the why’s behind life. What’s the point of all this effort to stay alive?

More and more people are looking for more and more meaning. That explains why fewer and fewer people are seduced by materialism or status. It’s now easier and easier to see that the people who still live still deep inside the matrix have fallen into a destructive kind of materialist addiction of working and spending. Meanwhile, an increasing number of people are trading less work for a smaller life.

Young people used to discuss the cars they wanted to own and the clothes and the trips they wanted to brag about. Some still do. But more and more of today’s youth are more interested in seeking peace and connection. Personally they want less ownership (or should I call it Onerouship?). They want more time with friends. And that shift in values means they see fewer reasons to economically protect ourselves. Increasingly we are seeing ourselves as having more in common with other people from other places. Money might be finite and we may have to battle over it but such is not the case with love. There is always more available. This leads us to see each other less as races and nations and more as humans. This is a big step for humanity.

772 Relax and Succeed - Where there is too muchThe era we’re entering right now is an exciting one. Many of us can pretty easily sense the rumble of change. There’s a real disconnection with materialism, celebrity, efficiency, social conduct and politics. These things feel hollow and meaningless and we are less and less mesmerized by their tricks and we’re more interested in the genuine substance of life.

Before any big change in a person or the world there were always be tumult beforehand. Things will be restless as they reorganize for the change. Then we change, work to understand the change, exploit the change and then move on. Our current tumult is leading to our togetherness phase. This is where we really start to realize how challenging life can be. We start to actually want help. We’ll admit vulnerability and in doing so we will realize that the greatest feelings we get are from cooperation, compassion and love, not competition, comparison and indifference.

The issues that concern people are all about false idols. People do terrible things to each other to obtain fame, power and money. And we’re all focused on blaming each other. But these issues aren’t solved by some know-it-all politician or some divine guru who leads us to the next evolution of our being. This is a personal journey that cannot be lead by anyone guided by fame, power and/or money. We must all lead our own journey. But lead it we must do.

772 Relax and Succeed - Everyone thinks of changingDon’t look to elect a certain government as a way of making things better. Go be nice to your neighbours. Be kinder. Gentler. Happier. Be more patient and tolerant. Because all that other stuff doesn’t really matter on a day to day basis if our interactions aren’t of good quality. My taxes might be low but if I argue every day with my neighbour then my life sucks. So we’ve gotten to the point where a large and ever-increasing number of us are starting to care less what life looks like and we are caring more and more about how it feels.

You are an integral part of this change. The whole cannot change if each part does not cooperate. The decisions you make in life will either add to this current or run contrary to it. But everyone’s always a part of what happens and the river always flows toward the sea no matter what unfolds. None of this is a matter of if, it’s only a matter of when. The world is maturing. If you look for it you’ll see many signs of that. Rejoice.

peace. s

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

The Friday Dose #75

735 Relax and Succeed - Don't hate what you don't understand

Today we’ll go around the world. Did you know English people experience more blame and shame than other cultures? We’re also not as good at saving money. The Chinese don’t use time in their language while Fins don’t use gender. And there’s Aborigines from Australia who can intuitively know which direction their facing. And all of that came from what language they spoke. You were shaped by your culture in amazing ways you cannot imagine so you can stop feeling personally guilty for the actions your culture has taught you to feel bad about. Attached is Jessica Gross’s article on language:

How Language Can Affect The Way We Think

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Next we’ll visit the Pacific Islands, where we learn that the tenets of Capitalism—that were the perceived tenets of people themselves—are actually incorrect. We are not fundamentally competitive in nature, we are cooperative, as this Salon by Linda Geddes points out:

A Friendly Species

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And finally we’ll end on the shape of the world itself. Most of us never noticed that those Mercador maps in school put North up, and they put the equator three-quarters of the way down the page. That stretched the rich northern countries that made the maps, like Europeans and their colonies, and it made those countries look much, much larger and more important while Africa and South America looked much, much smaller. Peter’s Maps prevent that from happening and many people are pushing to have them used in schools. Here’s a funny scene from a great series, The West Wing, in which two of the President’s aids learn that they really don’t know what the world actually looks like.

You are a product of your environment. That’s why if you change your environment you’ll also change yourself.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

peace. s

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Save Yourself

Most of us get too much of our food from unhealthy sources. Almost every one of us wants the animals we eat to be cared for better. Most of us are rushed and harried. Our lives are too busy to be as rewarding as life feels like it should be. And it’s true. In North America we’ve gone downhill in the total quality-of-life scale since about the very early 1950’s. We need two 484 Relax and Succeed - A savage is the one who livesincomes now to care for fewer kids because each kid and both parents have so darned much stuff. Just their car alone has about 14,000 parts in it. We’re busy people and so we consume a lot. A lot of what? A lot of everything.

So what’s this mean? It means our gross consumerism is doing two things: it’s disrupting the social structures that our relationships were formerly based on, and it’s eating up the world and spitting out toxic garbage. What’s toxic mean? It means it’ll kill the planet. And what do we want all that stuff for anyway? We just lose it all when we die. By now, 80% of 40 year olds and older will be working very hard to deal with whatever unexpected financial event happened in their life. Maybe they got cancer and were only getting a percentage of their wage on disability, maybe they had an expensive divorce or got defrauded or maybe an illness lead to an early retirement. Bottom line, people have never worked harder to be more stressed and the planet itself is in a declining state.

These two things are linked. We need to consume because our lives are hollow because our relations are shallow and short and fickle and thin. Not as long ago as it seems, people lived in groups. They slept in groups, hunted in groups, gathered in groups. And now we invent houses and encase ourselves. We talk to each other through phones even though we’re at the same restaurant table. We’ve become unnatural. And we have to get back to being more natural or we’re all gonna die.

If the Earth were the size of a basketball, the atmosphere is about as thick as two coats of paint and we have been pumping crap into it for 150 years. I’m a scuba diver and in my short lifetime I have witnessed the degradation of dive sites I had previously visited. I have seen the fish disappear and the shorelines change. We water golf courses and flower pots outside hotels, but if you’re travelling around the 484 Relax and Succeed - Sustainable development is the masterful balanceworld a lot and you’re watching for it, you’ll notice that a lot of things are dying.

We’re too interested in money and not interested enough in life. Our own or the planet’s. I don’t want you to do this because I’m some green activist because I’m not. I’m a guy who loves everyone around him and that’s the way of living that this blog exists to impart. It just so happens that a byproduct of that objective is that you fall in love with the whole world around you.

I’m not saying it’s easy or without its huge challenges, but seriously try to reconsider the world and your life at the same time. Instead of going out to a movie where you all stare in the same direction in the dark and don’t talk, try staying in, facing each other at a small table, and play a board game and talk. You’ll be surprised at how therapeutic it is. And it’ll leave a tiny footprint on the planet. People playing Scrabble or Chess or Monopoly tend not to do a lot of damage to the Earth.

You want your life to feel better. I’m not kidding. This is how. Stop caring about yourself and your happiness and start caring about other people’s welfare. The sharing of compassion is at the heart of the sort of love we’re all seeking. It’s that wonderful warm feeling where you don’t feel like you need to be anywhere except where you are. You are Be-ing.

484 Relax and Succeed - I thinkn a hero is any personPay more attention. Live more consciously. Choose connection. Choose friendship and camaraderie. Eat healthier and be easier on the planet simultaneously and both you and it will get stronger and healthier. But it must be intentional. You must really want to be this person who lives this way. It’ll be easy though. Because once you start, and once you get past the initial awkward stage that goes with any new thing, you’re left with one of life’s better experiences and that will motivate you to want to recreate them. And the only way to do that is to care. To actively care, with the accent on the active.

We can’t think the world into being better. Too many of you are unhappy and too many of you aren’t doing anything concrete to help anyone in a significant way. Choose an activity you currently derive little benefit from, and instead of doing that, put consciously compassionate living in its place. We’ll all be better off. The world could use your love. You’re awesome.

peace. s

The Friday Dose #26

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.

431 Relax and Succeed - We not me

Does life seem overwhelming? Do your problems seem to be swallowing your life? Do you feel like there’s just too much to handle? It’s a terrible feeling when we’re thinking along those lines. It’s important to maintain perspective, and to remember that inspiration and salvation are always just around the corner. We never know when we’ll turn right into them. So if you’re feeling low or like you have more than you can handle, then shut down some software and dedicate some processor time to putting yourself in proper perspective, as one seven billionth of the population of one of the smaller planets in an out-of-the-way galaxy. Enjoy:

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If the Earth wasn’t impressive enough for you—if only being one in seven billion didn’t make you feel small enough to feel huge, then maybe we should turn the camera around to look at what’s out there. Because if you think the universe is sweating your problems then think again. It has more than enough room to fit all the mistakes you could ever make so just relax and sit back and look at the stars and dream. Don’t get weighed down by heavy and unproductive thoughts. Be light, be free, fly. It’s your nature:

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And finally we’ll end on some awesome absurdity. This is simultaneously an example of horrible slavery to a national identity, intense and highly practiced musical talent, and just plain old super strange weirdness. The fact that it’s latinesque and quasi western makes it all that much stranger, and their expressions are simply priceless. It’s hard to not to like this, and it definitely increases in intensity as it goes. In whatever way you choose, enjoy:

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Now there’s a combination of videos that should give you whip lash. 🙂 Have yourself a super fantabulous weekend.

peace and hugs, s

PS And if you didn’t see the ducks in last week’s Dose—you really should see the ducks.