Emotional Rescue

937 Relax and Succeed - A bird doesn't singPretty much everyone knows if just a few people would change then things would be so much better. The only problem is everyone has a different list of who should change and how. And even if we all did change we’d inevitably end up changing into someone that still other people didn’t approve of. So what do you we do?

Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop. Rather than sadly and idly wanting the world to be better we can accept it is less than perfect but believe it’s worth saving anyway. What would you do to add to or improve the world? Instead of engaging in the act of wishing it was better, or in thinking about the distance between where we are now and a workable solution, what if instead we focused your energy and attention on the first step of that solution?

The reason this makes us feel better is not because we’re now suddenly “good people” making the world a “better place.” It makes us feel better because we’ve engaged in living life as an active verb and not a half-conscious verb obscured by confusing layers of thought and second guessing. Everyone’s tired of all that thinking anyway. It hurts. It’s time to live.

937 Relax and Succeed - We either make ourselves happyTo live as an activity and not an idea you must be prepared to be where and when you are. Most people aren’t. They suffer by imagining better times and then they wonder why they’re not then. Again, the thought-distance between these two ideas is where the thought-based suffering occurs. Suffering is not pain. Suffering is voluntary. To be healthy is to simply engage in reality without the judgment that leads to suffering.

Why does helping others feel good? Because there’s a psychological element to what I impart in my work but there’s also a spiritual one. From the outside they can sometimes appear to be in paradox but in that spiritual realm–the realist one to our true selves–we are all not only connected; we are one. That being the case, and as many prophets have pointed out, caring for another truly is caring for oneself.

People want to contribute. They feel that spirit within them flickering, begging for more fuel to stoke its fire. But people hide away and wait to feel better, not understanding that they need the fuel. Far from locking themselves away, people feeling low on energy should understand that the low sensation comes from negative thinking and depressed inactivity.

The human spirit should run contrary to the urges created by self-defeating thinking and instead we should use it’s painful feedback to prompt us to rejoin with the world and share in the great deal of love and support that exists in it every single day.

937 Relax and Succeed - We make a livingWe all can make a huge difference just by being more patient, more tolerant, more conscientious, more polite, more compassionate and friendlier. Smiles, favours, giving someone the benefit of a doubt, helping someone with a mistake instead of chastising them; these are the many ways in which you can add to the karma of a day.

Get involved with the world. It doesn’t need your commentary or opinion it needs your spirit and your efforts. There’s a reason that the poorest people give the most; it’s because they understand what it’s like to truly struggle. But they also often test as happier and that’s because their shared efforts create a strong sense of community. Through helping others we’re reminded that we have more than enough.

Get out there. Before the end of the week find some way to contribute to your community in some small or large way. But find it. And it has to be a real commitment. You have to join with the world to feel its strength within you. Give it your most enthusiastic efforts and it will respond with joys and rewards beyond your dreams.

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 Relationship Trap

Two things are happening simultaneously. We’re all getting more needy about individual relationships while we’re also feeling increasingly isolated and alone. This is largely because we live in a culture of “I” and that culture isn’t about creating a rewarding life, it was formed by capitalism to create wealth.

526 Relax and Succeed - Go have a good dayYou have taken in a fantastic amount of advertising in your lifetime and all of it has centered on you. It’s told you that your car is important, that your clothing and your phone are important, and that your life choices are important, including your romantic partner. Everything connected to you is important and advertising made a lot of promises about how great your life was going to be by honouring yourself with these worthy purchases. It would be the car and the phone and the beer and vacation choices that would lead you to your perfect mate. Right?

First off, that’s putting way too much pressure on the mate. You will never be anyone’s everything and they won’t ever be yours. That’s for posters for 14 year old girls walls. Relationships aren’t cosmic glue. Healthy ones are more like two fish choosing to swim alongside each other. In the real world we’re all just individual personalities cooperating to form a groups. Sometimes those groups are very large, and sometimes they are only two people. We named those two-person groups marriages, and because they have that name we expected them to last forever when in fact that may not be the healthiest choice for either individual. This is one of the many ways that we trap our humanity with words. Marriage becomes a corral that can variably be a safe haven or a hell hole depending on what’s happening.

526 Relax and Succeed - Dear heart fall in loveBecause we’re so individualistic, less and less do we see our groups as defining us. Cultures fade and change as people move around the globe and intermarriages happen. Instead we are defined by our partner. For many men it will be the woman’s beauty, and for many women it will be the man’s wealth or power or even beauty. So having no partner is a complete failure, and the better the partner is in advertising terms, the better you think your whole life will look. We can see this illustrated by the fact that people will say about a friend that they “could have done better.”

By what margin do we think we can judge a thing by just looking at it? What percentage of that relationship is visible? And so the value the individual sees in their own partner is seen as less important than the value their partner expresses to other people. So you’re not supposed to pick someone that brings happiness into your life, you’re supposed to pick someone that your friends will anoint as a “good catch.” It’s not about being happy. It’s about being seen to be successful.

Relationships do not define us. You can still have an important social life, sexual life and even be a parent and still not necessarily be in a relationship. Too many people have been convinced that there is a hole in their life that must be filled and that hole is singledom. There is nothing wrong with being single. You are not incomplete without a relationship but it will feel that way if you think that way. Whether it’s finances or housework or raising kids, if every time you do something you tell yourself how much easier it would be if you were with someone else, then that’s not an expression of a missing romantic relationship, it’s an expression that we’re tribal creatures that our lives that are too isolated from one another. You don’t need a person but you do need people.

526 Relax and Succeed - It does not do to dwellYour joy comes from inside of you. A relationship doesn’t turn on some faucet of happiness. If you weren’t happy without a relationship then the odds are overwhelming that you won’t be happy in one either. Because that’s where the pressure comes from; we think the happiness comes from the circumstances and not our attitude about those circumstances. So we change the external details and then we blame others when we don’t get magical results.

Stop thinking that your joy is a job away, a city away, relationship away. Happiness is an inside job and as long as you think that there is something missing there will always be a sense that something is missing. Fortunately, the same goes for feeling complete. So why don’t we all just do that instead? Because it’s the exact same motion we’re already doing, just in the opposite direction.

If you’re sad the great news is that you had a ton to do with you being sad. So all you have to do is understand how you did that, and then use the same skill to make yourself happy instead. And you definitely don’t need a relationship to accomplish that.

Now go have yourself an awesome day.

peace. s