Resting the Soul

1313 Relax and Succeed - Resting the Soul

We can be kind to ourselves with our thoughts, but we can also be kinder to ourselves with our lives.

Whether it’s what we eat, how and when and with whom we eat it, or if it’s walks outside or time with a book, we must ensure that we are not expecting our minds to compensate for a life that is drastically out of a balance in terms of expenditures of energy versus opportunities for rejuvenation.

If we are under stress, then it will feel like it and we must simply accept that there are times in life where rest and good nutrition is not really possible. We can generally endure far more than we suspect but, despite that, we must ensure we make room to rest or else everything will become stressful.

Rest is not a selfish luxury of ego, that is sloth. Rest is what a healthy mind needs to sustain their hold on equanimity. Sloth is when we deny the world the benefits of our inherent value.

What makes this challenging is that no one desires the hardships of life so it makes sense we will often feel resistance to needing to react. At the same time if we don’t react we naturally feel uncomfortable because our nature moves us to contribute meaningfully to our society because that is actually a selfish, self-preserving approach. We are better together. Knowing that, we need to nurture our value to the larger world.

1313 Relax and Succeed - True silence is the rest of the mind

In the end, all we need to contribute is some wisdom and some enthusiasm. The former comes through experience, but the latter is more a matter of us getting out of the way of our nature. In many cases, we really do find the tougher jobs more rewarding. But in order to take them, we must feel we have the energy to succeed.

Do not feel guilty about needing real rest. Deep down, we all know when we really need it versus when we’re simply seeking to avoid a responsibility we feel inside. By spending more time with the difference between the feelings we can learn to tell one from the other more quickly, which allows us to accomplish more, while also ensuring that we’re rested enough to do so.

Let us all balance our weeks as much as we can. With the right attitude, we can make a huge impact on how our days feel. Enjoy.

peace, s

Inspired Living

959 Relax and Succeed - Our culture has bred consumersNarcissism, at least in the psycho-spiritual realm, is not about beauty or appearance, it’s about immobility. When we imagine someone thinking about themselves too much we imagine someone losing weight or wearing pretty things or someone staring at themselves in a mirror thinking, look at me, look at me, but the damaging part of self-centeredness isn’t the part that says look at me, it’s that by doing so it says: do not pay attention to others. What’s painful in the life of the narcissist is their lack of true connection to others.

I met a nice young woman a few years back. Smart, funny, very creative. She wanted to talk to me about feeling fulfilled. She had a tremendous amount of trouble motivating herself and she wondered how that could be improved. She had way above-average skills and the time to use them, but she was stuck in her home office endlessly wondering why more wasn’t happening. She had been immobile for a few years trying to figure it out.

959 Relax and Succeed - That horrifying momentSo what was she doing? She was spending her time thinking about how to make her own life great. That was her version of Narcissus and the reflecting pool; she sat and stared all day at her own life and wondered why she couldn’t figure out how to make it more impressive. That was the action of her life. That was its verb: wondering. Instead of doing things she wondered. She was trying to wonder her way to a better life.

Meanwhile everyone has Maslow’s Pyramid to deal with. We need food and shelter before we can do anything else. So does someone like me want to take a hard-won client and lose them by telling them something I know they really don’t want to hear? No, but I always do anyway. I do pay for it in lost clients, but that’s still an easy trade compared to my success rate. Because if people make it through the responsibility part they do fine every single time. And if they bailed they weren’t ready yet anyway and they need to go suffer some more.

In a healthy person the inspiration isn’t some magical bolt of lightning that tells someone how they’ll feel fulfilled. Inspiration is created when we feel connected to others, just as narcissism is thinking about ourselves instead of others. So she was thinking about herself, endlessly looking for some motivation that was truly hers, and I was suggesting she think of her spouse and that her motivation could be how she could make his life easier. If she loved him didn’t she want him to have a good life? Wasn’t he missing out on holidays and things for himself if he was paying her to be idle?

959 Relax and Succeed - Me weIn short, instead of wanting even more for herself she could appreciate what she was already getting from her spouse. That gratitude could then be the valuable inspiration she needed to change that situation. But she couldn’t see that because she was too busy thinking about herself and her troubles all the time even though those troubles were all brought on by her lack of action and contribution.

Once she realised that her spouse was actually struggling and sacrificing his life for hers to be idle, she suddenly found motivation. His life could be improved significantly with her help. Suddenly she was motivated to get any job that would take that pressure off him. She no longer needed the job to be fulfilling to her soul in some abstract way, what was fulfilling to her soul was that she was actually contributing to improving the life of someone she loved.

There’s plenty of spouses running hobbies as businesses with little effort toward profitability, even though their entire life is being supported by a hard-working partner. There are plenty of children idly dreaming while their hard-working parents pay their bills because to the child, just earning a living seems unspiritual and uninspiring. But that’s only because the child has turned the work into money, instead of into a mechanism for benefiting a loved one.

959 Relax and Succeed - Dreams require actionThe money isn’t what counts, it’s the respect. Respect is a kind of connection. It says, I care about what you go through every day. So sitting around idly while someone else works for you ends up as a lack of respect, which is a breaking of the bond between one person and another; a spiritual bond. We’re all in this together. They’re there for you, but you’re not there for them.

If you spend all your time thinking, I don’t know what to do, then I would suggest looking around to see what others around you are doing for you and start with that. If your life seems bogged down then someone somewhere is making up for your inactivity because we all need food and shelter as our spirits take our bodies along this journey called life. So who’s doing what and how can you help?

A spouse or child could gain great personal satisfaction by simply caring more actively about the people supporting them. The same goes for any other scenario where someone isn’t carrying their own weight, from benefits from relatives, to friends to even our societies. Everyone has empathy for those in genuine need, but if someone can recover from a spinal injury in a year or two and go on to a fulfilling life in a wheelchair, then surely an able-bodied person can do it in the same amount of time if they care enough. The question is, who are you caring about?

959 Relax and Succeed - Integrity is doing the right thingStop living for yourself and start living for others. What’s wrong with society is the same thing that’s wrong with individuals: a lack of cohesion, a lack of attraction, a lack of responsibility to one another. You don’t need inspiration you need connection. Respect and awareness is all the inspiration and motivation a healthy soul needs.

Whether you’re a street person or a wealthy idle spouse, you will be in pain if you do not connect to and contribute meaningfully to the lives of others. Love is what love does. So you are never far from salvation no matter how bad it seems. All you need to do is stop thinking so much about yourself and start to think more about others.

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.

Working Stiffs

I work for fools. They are so stupid that people are stealing right in front of them and still they cannot see. These employees are so entitled. The ones that have been there for the longest use 100% of their sick days. All of them. They are just lazy. They are always complaining about having to come in on their days off for meetings. This is your job!
You are paid. How can I motivate such people? What will make them work?

signed,
Working Man

Dear Working Man,

Wow. If you’re not Eastern European you should visit there—I think you would like it. They tilt sharply toward preferring very strong and clear opinions. Because I have a particularly nuanced understanding of how ideas impact people’s lives, I always find insults—well-founded or not—to be literally painful to witness, as these were. But I do understand that you’re pointed in a positive direction here. You’re looking 346 Relax and Succeed - If you have a choicefor fairness and reciprocity and respect. While I appreciate your objectives, I’m entirely confident that it won’t be motivating for people to hear themselves described as fools, blind, stupid, entitled or lazy. What concerns me about your question is how much judgment you manage to squeeze into it. Because if you can do that to someone else, then you’ll do that to yourself too and that will steal joy and mirth from your life.

In asking your question you make a lot of value judgments and then you demand that the rest of the world to live with them. I or others may not feel that the people are stealing, or that they are stupid or entitled. These are your opinions. And not to diminish them—I would defend your right to have different ones than mine—but I’m not sure you have the same tolerance for these other folks that many people might have. Rather than the managers not-seeing things, it may be a case that they simply have a better understanding of all of the forces that may be at play.

Is it really surprising that the employees who have been there the longest would also be the ones using all of their sick days? They’re obviously older—which statistically means more doctor’s visits—and they have ageing parents whose medical visits they are also likely to be needed at. In short, it would be more surprising if they weren’t gone more often. And if they or their parent is among the 25% of people who will deal with cancer in their lifetime, it sort of makes sense that they might try to schedule debilitating treatments for Fridays so that they have the weekend to recover. In which case the worker has sacrificed their own life rather than risk losing more time off work. Again, yes there are lazy people. But everyone’s lazy sometimes, 346 Relax and Succeed - Not all woundsand there’s no way for others to be able to judge that from the outside and those judgments are only hurting you anyway.

You go from stealing via laziness to stupid and then on to entitled. But you don’t really know what they bring to the table because a lot of every job happens inside your head. And they also might feel they have a right to feel entitled. If they’ve diligently worked somewhere for twenty years and then suddenly last year it’s announced that the company has negotiated a rollback in wages, then it would make sense that people would feel they had been cheated. Whether they were or not is a matter of perspective, but those that feel cheated will attempt to balance the scales in some way.

Finally, there’s this worship of work that’s a bit disturbing. I work hard and encourage others to do so as well. I’m 100% for putting in a good day at work for the very selfish reason that it really makes a work day move faster, feel better, and it generates the best results for the business and for our co-workers and ourselves. But that ethic should be born out of us being ourselves, rather than us being a slave to a title with an executive office-chair for a throne. We should work to live, not live to work. Companies that try to place themselves too centrally in the lives of their employees will find that, as with any relationship, too much time together prematurely burns the relationship out.

Companies are legal entities. They aren’t doing anything wrong—they are literally sociopaths by design (see: the film The Corporation). They do what earns most and they continually move in only that direction. So it won’t matter how loyal those employees are. The company will fire them in an instant if it increases profitability because that’s what it’s built to do. And those older workers know that from having lived long enough. They accept how the system works. And they can see the ends of their lives approaching and that 346 Relax and Succeed - When you allow what someone saysreally gets people accounting for where they’re spending their time, and what they’re doing while they’re there. And from that perspective people realize that work just isn’t, nor should it ever have been, as important as we might think when we’re younger and a bit more rigid in our thinking. 

Doing a good job is a matter of character. But nothing you pointed out suggests that these people aren’t necessarily character people doing a great job. It’s just they don’t appear to be in your judgment. I might personally agree with you if I saw them, but who cares? Who are we? We don’t actually know and we’re not the deciders of such things anyway. So why juggle these thoughts in our consciousness? We should just be ourselves and let others be themselves too. You’re not changing anything for the better, you’re just wasting your days being upset when you could just as easily be happy. And as a happy hard worker—in that you may find you inspire new hires to go more in the direction you’re modelling.

Capitalism is people getting the most value for the least money. Companies will try to pay the least possible for the largest amount of work, and employees will want to get paid the most possible for the least amount of work. That’s how it’s set up. So if through historical knowledge, or personal relationships, or their value to customers, someone is able to translate just a bit of work into a lot of paycheque then they aren’t cheating or stupid—they’ve won the game of capitalism!

346 Relax and Succeed - The more tranquil a man becomesYour bosses have all kinds of things to do both personally and professionally that are entirely invisible to you. So while it may selectively look like they’re not doing what you think they should, they are undoubtedly doing something. Maybe that’s completely slacking off. But that is unlikely. They’ll have someone to answer to as well. So don’t think you can guess their jobs from the outside. Every part of life is nuanced and much more complex and challenging than it might appear with just a quick look. So we shouldn’t rush to judgment because in many cases we’ll actually lower our chances of succeeding. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—you’ll win a lot more bets by betting on people being decent and generous than in betting the opposite.

Relax. Focus on your own job. Stop all of the judgmental thinking and fully absorb your consciousness on your work. Make your employment a silent meditation. And do your best not to let yakking judgments about co-workers cloud your view of what’s going on around you. Be quiet inside and simply do your work without a bundle of thought surrounding it. That will feel better for you and that will often accomplish a lot more than trying to change others. And it should also leave you with more energy to invest in things like laughter and frivolity. Because those are important too.

Have a great day at work.

peace. s