An Appreciating Life

How’s your gratitude going? Today I wrote: “I’m really glad I was able to recover most of my work from my computer crash last night.” Most. Not all. Still grateful though. You be can angry you broke your arm in a car accident or you can be grateful you didn’t die. The choice is always yours. This week’s all about you getting serious about choosing appreciation.

845 Relax and Succeed - Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsMaslow’s Hierarchy of Needs orders what we need to reach our personal peak. First you must meet your Physiological needs. You have to have enough food and water and you must have enough shelter to be able to survive. It’s a painful to thing to want to be able to eat but to not be able to, whether you’re in a drought in Africa or a cancer ward in Edmonton. Most of us aren’t experiencing that and we can be grateful for that every day.
Next is Safety.

Next we get into connections to others. Maslow noted next you need Love. This is where you feel you belong. You are part of friendship or a family or maybe you have intimate contact with someone. This gives you a chance to give to a limited number of people as a kind of training ground for a higher purpose with all people. Love is the greatest feeling we experience and we should be deeply grateful for those that inspire it in us.

845 Relax and Succeed - A pessimist sees the difficultyNext is Esteem. First and foremost you need to have self-esteem. You have to see that you deserved the love you were given. Having that, you will then benefit from the confidence and admiration of a group. In short you need to know that your impact will last beyond yourself and your days on this Earth. If you’re a boss or parent or coach or even a friend, you should feel grateful for the chance to serve others and to use your amazing abilities to inspire others to greatness themselves.

Next is your spiritual self so to speak. You need to Self-Actualize. You need to do something for the real you. The you that steers the physical you. You need to paint or dance or learn to fix cars or give a speech or travel. You need to enact your calling. You need to expand the universe by expanding yourself. It’s like taking your sense of love and expanding it outside yourself and into the larger world.

And that was where Maslow originally stopped because he wasn’t old enough yet to know there’s another phase after that.

845 Relax and Succeed - Let your light shine so brightlyYour final and most important shift is when you live in a state of Self-Transcendence. That’s when you are so complete, so overflowing with success that you can stop thinking about you and you can start investing your time in thinking about others instead. That’s what created my books, movies and this blog. It’s hard to suffer when your mind hasn’t even created a you to do the suffering. And there is no you because your mind is fully absorbed in what you’re doing and your appreciation of how it helps others. Do not steal from yourself the incredible joy of having been a person who really made a meaningful difference.

Wake up each day and be grateful and use that fuel to lift you higher and higher, past health and safety and love and success. Take it all the way to Buddahood. It’s just waiting for you to turn it on with your efforts. Be grateful, feel the energy build and before you know it a new outlet will appear and you will have a brand new canvas to fill with your dreams. I very much look forward to you making the world more beautiful with them. I am grateful for you.

Have a fantastic day everyone. Create that for yourself by filling it with appreciation. Even if it’s with a broken arm. 😉 Much love.

peace. s

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

Good Feelings Bad Feelings

You might think you want to be happy all of the time but in reality you would not enjoy that. In fact you wouldn’t even be aware that there was anything to enjoy unless you had something to compare it to. The only reason you can see these black letters is because they are on this white page. So you need both things, hence the idea of Yin and Yang. But while you may require both for existence to happen, you nevertheless will have emotional states you prefer. So rather than saying an emotion is good 659 Relax and Succeed - If you are too excitedor bad it would be better to describe them as emotions you enjoy for long periods, and emotions that derive their value from their rarity.

It can feel really, really good to have a good cry and yet no one wants to be depressed. We all love the feeling of falling in love but the very nature of it demands that it come to an end in one way or another, so in a way we are setting ourselves up for pain and disappointment by pursuing that joy. I love my parents dearly and so when I lose them it will be painful, whereas I have friends who had terrible parents and they were relieved when they were gone. For every positive feeling there’s a negative one. The trick for us is to stay conscious about what we’re entertaining within our consciousness so we can spend more time with the feelings we enjoy. We just don’t want to entirely lose touch with the value of our more poignant or intense feelings.

The world will always have its Yin and Yang. As a monk on a train once lead me to conclude that the secret of life is that everything changes. So how this works is that when things are good you should be grateful because it will change. And if things are going badly, don’t worry too much because it will change. So you can see in that equation 659 Relax and Succeed - There is nothing good or badthat there are still bad feelings, but they are inextricably connected to this Yin and Yang circle of existence. Each needs the other much like a wave is made of a trough and a peak and yet you cannot separate the two parts.

Do you see then that this is how you listen to songs, read books, or go to the movies or watch TV? You volunteer to be scared or worried or angry or sad and you do this because the nature of the program allows you to accept the idea that this pain is limited. You’ll only suffer for a maximum of a couple of hours and then the movie will end. This act of acceptance happens in your head and is the act of not thinking about an alternative. So the reason you like movies more than your life is because you’re not in a movie theatre thinking, I’m really scared in this horror and I want to go home! Because you know you went for the thrills! And it’s just like that with the rest of your life.

You’ve already lived all of the perfect lives. This is the one you chose to live Now. If you genuinely accept the dramatic, sad or torturous parts of life then you also get to experience the most wonderful joys. It’s a package deal, the only problem is you keep wasting your peak by complaining that you want a wave without a trough. You think that resisting thought over and over. You wonder how it might be or how it would have been. You do not accept now for now. You do not see your life as a 659 Relax and Succeed - If only we would stop tryingtheatrical display in the way you see the movie. And so you take it more seriously and that leads you to suffer more in the real world. And you’re doing it by experiencing the very same feeling that you’ll happily pay for at a theatre!

Start seeing your life less as a competition or pursuit for happiness. Be content instead. Be fine where you are. Offer no resisting thoughts to the moment you are in and you will discover that a wonderful peace is waiting for you there in that mental silence. Quiet your arguments about how you wish things were and watch your own life like a movie instead. Enjoy all of it, the good parts and the bad. Because when you can do that you are free of most of the agonies in this world and that is a beautiful thing.

peace. s

2014’s Blog of the Year #3

584 Relax and Succeed - Belief creates the actual fact*

Learn about how brains wire up and how you can do small things that can have big impacts in other people’s lives. I am so happy this posting turned out to be in the year’s top three. It’s not only about a good friend, which is nice, but it’s also an example of a blog that can be turned into a verb in a way that truly makes the world a better place.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And without further ado:

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2014’s Blog of the Year #3

peace. s