Emotional Conversion

938 Relax and Succeed - When you have a choiceThere are people–maybe you’re one of them–who genuinely enjoy pain just like you might enjoy a foot massage. I know that seems odd to many of you but the only reason most of us have similar-ish likes is that we were all raised in a similar way. Add just one oddity to someone’s upbringing and they can easily end up liking something like being scared or in pain or in danger. This can happen based on even one notable but pretty basic experience.

There are people who get tattoos for the pain, work out for the pain, run for the pain, lift for the pain, there are people who enjoy piercings and S&M and BDSM, not to mention the people on Jackass. So that proves that people can take unpleasant feelings and somehow rewrite them to positives, and if they can then you can too. You can take the negative feelings you currently have and you can rewrite them into something enjoyable.

Anger is a reaction to a fear. Find out what fear is holding your back and realise that your growth is on the other side of it. The place where you expand is outside of your comfort zone. So to develop a skill of any type you must be willing to fail and be wrong. But those are also the steps that lead to ability, so rather than be afraid of failing and being angry about having to face it, we could convert that feeling into the big, confident sensation we get when we know we’ve prepared well.

938 Relax and Succeed - Until we have met the monsters in ourselvesSadness is a reaction to disconnection. The sadder people are the more their discussions are sad and the less people are motivated to listen. If the person is sad long enough people surrender hope they’ll change and they just see them as a generally sad person. But if someone can’t help their friend’s sadness and low energy and they’re no fun to be with then it makes sense that disconnection will eventually happen. It’s healthy for the healthy person to disengage.

If you’re the sad person you can use those departures as fuel for your negative self-defeating narratives or you can see it for what it is: information. It’s no surprise that people hang around other people who are fun and interesting and people who are sad all the time are neither. By enjoying yourself you’ll attract other happy people and that will create more connections and a greater sense of belonging and happiness. But to do that you have to be out there.

Keep in mind you can also pervert good feelings into pain. I know people who hear about the struggles of others but don’t care at all. Their lack of empathy robs them of the rich feelings that go with connecting with others. Some people care but they don’t really give it much consideration so they skip over some bad feelings but they miss out on the good ones too. And then there are people who are tortured by the plight of the less fortunate and they are angry, hurt and largely ineffective.

938 Relax and Succeed - Some people want it to happenThose angry hurt feelings could be wonderful feelings of rich connection if they were converted from thoughts about how things should be into actions of leading to how they could be. Your compassion is worth far less to you if it’s not going and helping out and connecting with friends or helping at a shelter or something somewhere where you can convert your compassion into a wonderfully meaningful shared experience.

Just like with pain we can use compassion to hurt ourselves or we can use it to teach ourselves to consciously enjoy a rich life. The choice is ours.

Feelings are feelings. You tilt them with your thinking. Anxiousness can be excitement. Worry can be potential. Fear can be determination. Sadness can be connection. It all depends on what you actively do.

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 Tension of Ego

928 Relax and Succeed - What screws us up mostWe all grow up around it so none of us really notices. If it weren’t for my accident I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed it either, and yet there’s the secret of living right in front of you and yet it’s still difficult to recognize because you’ve spent your entire life being primarily trained by a lot of other egos.

Those egos created all kinds of words and concepts for you to use to build your expectations. For instance, you could have a partner or spouse but those words sound like nouns don’t they? Partner has a verb too, but spouse doesn’t even give you that flexibility. It’s a title not an activity. Which is why it feels like it isn’t something in motion; like something dynamic–like something that could change.

A job, feeling included as a member of your family, even our health can easily be lost and yet few of us live as though that is true. So for instance an employee will get so focused on their complaints that they’ll forget to keep track of whether they are actually worth fixing the issues for, just as a sad or angry partner in life can have legitimate reasons for struggling but at a certain point they have simply become a primarily a sad or angry person to their partner. Then the attraction that forms the basis of any relationship slowly deteriorates until that day you’re told it’s gone.

928 Relax and Succeed - New beginnings are often disguisedOur immediate reactions to these events is to assess them as both bad and repairable. We don’t assume getting fired is good news, nor do we imagine when someone leaves us that it’s happy news. We don’t want to have to find work. We don’t want to risk the unknown and date again because we’re not at all sure we’re going to meet someone better. No, that is not what we do.

What we do is we want. We want things to go back to the way they were. Our book was written in ink and we’re not interested in late, unauthorized edits. What we’ve forgotten is that we’re not the only person writing the book of our life.

The tension in these situations exists due to the time and distance between our old set of definitions for our lives and the new set. Rather than enthusiastically functioning with the freedom of no identity, we strictly focus on getting our old identity back. That’s why the healthiest breakups are mutual. The others all involve a tension of someone trying to return to a definition that the other people refuse to agree to. They rewrote that over time. They just can’t write it back immediately because we want them to.

928 Relax and Succeed - Tension is who you think you should beThe people who initiate that change feel fine because they have escaped. They used to feel tension about the distance between the actions and the definition but now that they’ve severed the idea of the connection they’ve now lost some dead weight. The other party still has the old idea, held in place by narratives about how it should be. Those narratives and their lack of relationship to reality are what constitutes the pain people feel. We feel the tension of the gap.

Acceptance is when we sever our ties to a definition and we accept whatever Is. We don’t pine for something else. We don’t want or wish or hope or believe. We don’t do anything. In the best case scenario we don’t even use our thinking to create an individual that could experience a loss. Because until we quiet those conversations down we will experience the tension of not ever fully being where we actually are.

Life is easier than you think. You just have to surrender your ideas about how you want it to be and instead just let it unfold and then watch for its gifts. So rather than waste your lifetime spinning in place wishing things were otherwise, try seeing where you end up by just reacting to what’s actually happening in the moments that are you in. Do that and you’ll be surprised at how great a life can be if you simply stop trying to make it your own.

Much love, 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.

Surrendering Control

Everything about our society encourages us to think of the future. We work for the bills we will have, we place on a calendar where we will be in the future, and many times we take courses and jobs not for themselves, but as a way of working toward a future we’ve imagined is ours. Even the hourly news speculates constantly on what might happen.

924 Relax and Succeed - I don't know where I'm goingHere’s how the future is a dangerous thing: there’s other people creating it too, so the combination of your efforts will not always take you where you want to go. It may take you somewhere better, but even if it is better you’re likely to not want to go there if it’s not what your expectation was. If you stop and think it’s not hard to find examples of things and people that you didn’t expect to like but you ended up loving them anyway.

You’re actually not very consistent at picking what you’ll enjoy most which is why when you’re more enlightened one of the things that will happen is you’ll be a lot more okay with the unexpected events. Rather than thinking you’re now off-target, the enlightened person realizes the odds are just as good that the unexpected events are an improvement. So they just wait and see while others start using words and actions to push against the unexpected and toward the expected.

Can you see that one is flow and one is resistance? It’s like the God-Universe is an octopus and each bit of reality is a tentacle on this magical octopus. So “you” are like one tentacle who feels separate and distinct from the other tentacles and yet if we had enough vision would could follow your own creation backwards until you came to realize that we’re all a part of the same being. That’s what the act of becoming enlightened is. It’s a slow realization that you are one with everything.

924 Relax and Succeed - Let go of what you can't controlSo if the Universal Octopus wants us to create, each tentacle will grab a piece of Lego and with the legs closest to itself it will appear to cooperate to create new things in the universe. New experiences, new friends, new creations, new ideas. It all counts. So we use our creativity to form an idea and then we attempt to realize it with the Lego.

Only the other tentacles aren’t so much cooperating with us as they are also, through their own pure creativity, becoming aligned with us. They’re not so much cooperating as they’re like two boats that happened to be on the same course. That still makes them close enough to be able to work together but they will always maintain the ability to surprise each other.

So one tentacle thinks it’s building this out of Lego and the other tentacle thinks it’s building that out of Lego. They’re working together because it appears they are going in the same direction. Eventually we find out that we’re still individuals even though we’re all connected and they may not be ultimately building what we were. Especially when this happens in a relationships, we experience this realization as anger, disappointment, betrayal, frustration and fear.

924 Relax and Succeed - Breathe the universe is taking careIf we think we’re an ego–a tentacle–then we use our thoughts to create the separateness that allows us to feel we can come into conflict with another tentacle. We can feel it has let us down by not building the same thing we thought we were building. Of course it’s important to note that they feel exactly the same way; that we’ve abandoned their creation.

Only the Octopus knows we’re confused so the weird thing is, we don’t know enough to really lead ourselves through something so infinite. Which means that thanks to the Universal Octopus, sometimes these “mistakes” end up leading to a creation far superior to the one we had planned. Early on we tend to credit the other tentacle for this success but eventually we come to realize that we deserve credit too. We just have to temper our credit in the same way that we temper our blame because the creation didn’t come from just us, just as any failure doesn’t come from just us. There’s a lot of cooks in on this broth.

So stop thinking you can decide your own future. You’re not even able to comprehend what might be good for you because you have no idea who you’re going to be as a result of the experiences you have between now and that future. All you can decide is what you put in. There are no guarantees after that. But even if someone “fails,” we have no idea– that failure might actually be pushing them toward something much better.

924 Relax and Succeed - Rather than remove your desiresIf this all sounds like– well you just never know anything then! –then you’re right. It is that. But that’s not bad news. That’s good news. That means you can surrender. You can relax. You can stop trying to get somewhere in your future and instead just focus on being an octopus now. Rather than try to create what you want, you start to wonder what it is this other tentacle is creating. And so you try to get in alignment with it rather than trying to get to align with you.

Eventually you come to understand the other tentacle enough that if you both have surrendered control then you both are acting on behalf of the Universal Octopus and then you’re cooperating on a whole new level. Eventually all of the tentacles will do that and we will again have singularity. We will be One.

If you stop to think about it some of your best friends and jobs and activities grew out of things you did not want to do. So rather than resist what’s happening, start flowing with it. Because your friendships are great examples. Those have no plan, which is in part why they go so well. In friendship you’ll actually let the Universal Octopus run things. Because in the end what you build with the Lego doesn’t matter. But the building of it is your life, so put your energy into enjoying that process rather than waiting to enjoy what you hope your outcome eventually is.

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.

Other Perspectives #66

676 OP Relax and Succeed - Life heart vs mind

This is such a common metaphor but it really doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. What we really mean is that we make one argument to represent our desires and another argument to represent our fears and we bounce them back and forth inside our own heads in the hopes that we can stay balanced and on some fictitious tightrope of life. But of course there is no tightrope. That would imply there is some correct way to live and there isn’t. There is no right step for you to take. It’s not a battle between your mind and your heart for the right thing. You’re just going to pick a thing, not the right thing. So the battle in your head is over an answer to a question that doesn’t exist, meaning the entire mental exercise is a waste of time. So since both the heart-voice and head-voice are both just your hopes and your fears being relayed back to yourself, that’s all pretty meaningless. You might as well just save yourself the drama and be quiet-minded instead. Because without constructing the notion of a rope that you then need to balance on, the possibility of making a mistake disappears. And that’s what real freedom is. The freedom to get off the narrow confines of the rope, where any wrong move is sure to tumble you out of existence. Instead you can be firmly on flat ground, free to move in any direction you choose. Stop your mental arguments with yourself. Get off the rope. Go peaceful instead. Live with a quiet mind. The rest is all theatre.

peace. s

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