Your Big Chance Is Now

You are born at the top of a wedge. That is the furthest from death you’ll ever be, but you immediately begin sliding downward. At first you enjoy it, like a child on a slide in a park. You run down hills, you love openly, your effortlessly glide your way down your path in life.

And then you reach a point where you begin to wonder where you’re supposed to go on this giant wedge of life. Left, right? Up, down? It’s a weird time, where you’ve surrendered the free-flowing sliding of your youth for a more conscious kind of sliding where you’re attempting to control your direction, but the incline and the steady slipperiness of the slope mean you’re often not getting where you’re trying to get.

Eventually you become aware that the wedge will not get less slippery, and that it must inevitably end, and so you start to take a little or a lot of time vainly trying to find a way to slow your descent. But since there is no way to do that, your only option is to either slide down gracefully or waste your opportunity by clinging so close to the edges of the wedge that you actually fall or jump off the side and vanish. But every other route down is equal.

As you begin to notice the wedge thinning, you begin to ask yourself what this wedge is made of. And eventually you figure out that it’s piles of experiences, and then you realise there will naturally be fewer of them every year and they can never be recovered. Meaning the only question is; how deep will you go today? You can lead a nervous, superficial life and barely leave the surface, or you can delve deep into yourself and your beliefs and you can find depth in even the most ordinary experiences.

No one knows how steep their wedge is. Some end abruptly while others stretch on for more than a century. So don’t ask how much longer your wedge reaches, focus on how deep it is where you are. Because stretching that wedge out to forever is meaningless unless you’re actually experiencing each day. And doing that won’t mean your times are perfect, but it does mean you will have stopped struggling through life.

As the Zen saying goes, Zen is not some kind of excitement, it is to focus on our everyday routine. We don’t need to bungee jump, experience world travel or have a baby, we can just actually slow down and taste our food, we can actually sit still and do nothing but actually listen to a song, or we can look at our friends as though we’ve never met them, or heard their voices before.

1187 Relax and Succeed - Spot the phoneWe can focus on virtually anything. To prove it to yourself, just try to find the phone in the picture of the carpet above. (I promise, there is one.) You’ll see how that once you begin to concentrate your consciousness, you can soon fill it with the act of your search, and in doing so you push out all other thinking and thereby impact your mood. Looking for the phone on the carpet is an action, thinking frustrated thoughts about not being able to find it, is ego. Any action feels better than any ego.

You’re on the incline. No one knows how far down it’s slope, but what we do know for sure is that the wedge under your feet is the wedge that’s available for living. So get deep now. Focus your consciousness more intentionally. And in doing so, increase your presence and your connections, because that is the only answer you’re looking for; the joy of a rewarding life.

Keep your head up and watch for depth. It’s always where you are, it’s always right underneath everything you’re doing, and it’s always yours to access. Start living the depth of your own life now.

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.

The Pilgrimage of Your Life

You don’t remember being born. Who knows what mysteries the people who carried you travelled through? You slowly wake along the way. Whoever forms your family moves along the road and you move with them.

798 Relax and Succeed - If you just keep moving forwardEventually you are able to walk yourself and you join the jostle of humanity that shares the road with you as a part of their own path. You learn it is possible to slip and fall and scrape yourself. You even see some step off the edges in the steeper sections and they are gone. If you watch where you’re putting your feet you’re fine. But if you forget where you are it’s easy to trip.

During your journey you will come to wonder where it is everyone is going? What is the purpose of this walk? What will happen when we arrive? Much of what your fellow travellers have taught you now comes into question as you interact with the other pilgrims.

Some of these people are funny, some are exciting. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Some are kind and some are cruel. At least for while you’re with them. Over time you develop your own attitude about walking and you find that the pace of your steps–the frequency of your being–leads you to find yourself walking in sync with other travellers who take a similar view. This is friendship, or what is sometimes called The Law of Attraction.

798 Relax and Succeed - You really are gonna make itYou will love some fellow travellers and some will be difficult to be around. Sometimes there’s enough room to escape and sometimes the road is simply too narrow. Some people scream back at the fellow walkers who they do not enjoy. Others plug their ears, others try to run and still others attempt to change the other walker’s attitude.

No one chooses who they share the road with. Sometimes you would rather have fewer people around, sometimes you’re alone and you long for others. Everyone does all these things–it’s a long walk. And where you are is where your steps have taken you, but where you end up won’t depend on the steps you’ve taken, your future will depend on which steps you currently are taking.

Some people simply walk. They ask few questions and they accept what other walkers claim is true. Others exhaust themselves running all over the path trying to make sure they never miss anything–but they do anyway. The crowd forces you to keep moving. It’s the nature of the road.

798 Relax and Succeed - The closer I getOther people are always looking around and questioning their fellow travellers. They are driven by their curiosity about where the road is leading. The ones who wonder about their destination marvel at those that don’t. And the people that don’t have the desire to answer that question wonder why people would spend the time questioning instead of simply talking or walking? Of course neither is right or wrong. They’re just different kinds of walkers.

During your walk it is inevitable that everyone will occasionally lose focus and trip and fall, and everyone will also have places where the path is washed away and we are required to make leaps that simply exceed our ability to jump. In most cases the closest of our fellow travellers are quite excellent at picking us up and carrying us when those times happen. You will do some carrying and you will be carried. This is the nature of the road.

Eventually you will find you have a weakness, or you will suffer an injury–or maybe you just walked a really long time–but eventually you notice yourself slowing down. More of the other walkers are now passing you on their own way. You slow to a crawl, and you begin to very seriously question whether or not you will ever reach your destination.

798 Relax and Succeed - We are all just walkingSome people realize it sooner. But everyone, before they die–whether it comes slowly in a hospital or quickly in an accident–everyone has the moment where they suddenly realize that they have never seen any other walker reach their destination either. And it is then that even the most unexamined life will come into focus and you will realize that you were never actually going anywhere.

Eventually you’re either carried or you lay down, but there’s a point where you simply cannot go on. This is where you “stop.” It all seems so arbitrary and yet it is so profound. Peace envelopes you as you realize that during your entire journey, the road home was home, and that hallowed place you were trying to reach was where you had always been. All is well. Welcome home.

peace. s

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