Your Life Story

There’s debates about who said it or who said it first, but somewhere sometime someone said that every writer has to write a million words of shit before they’ll write anything any good. The number itself is largely a metaphor for the fact that in everything in life, we get good by doing. And the more we do (either in intensity or duration or both), the more skilled we get at that thing.

Just as in life, every writer wants to be good because they know the tools. They know the alphabet, so they have their hammer; and they’ve read sentences–which is like watching a house being built–so that’s where they start. But it’s absurd to think they’ll be as good of a carpenter on that first job as they’ll be in 25 years.

That logic applies to anything. The conscious person who learns with intensity learns more than someone with less intensity, and someone conscious who puts in more time also learns more than someone who puts in less time or who uses less consciousness. This is is true of writing, cooking, raising kids, teaching, or–yes–living.

Living is a skill. So yeah, physically and mentally you eventually deteriorate, so maybe your life-work gets a bit sloppy near the end, but by then everyone’s forgiving you. But otherwise you just get better and better at living life every year you live it, and the more conscious you are the more your learn. That’s all well and good. The problem comes in when you want the wisdom before you’ve even had the experiences that teach it.

Your expectations of yourself and your life start off pretty wacky. Because you can edit your writing you think you can edit life. And because of that you’ll go through these periods where you’ll feel like you’re totally failing because you’ll be nowhere near your targets and you can’t fix your past. But it’s not your life that’s the problem, or your ability to edit; it’s your expectation that you would know things before you learned them. You do that all the time and yet it’s truly crazy.

Graceful living requires only one thing: live the moment you’re in fully and presently. That means being in it and aware of it, rather than thinking about what-ifs or regrets. Things going in challenging ways aren’t failures, that’s just the texture of the surface you’re climbing. And when you reach the summit of your own peak–your own death–you’ll have a better understanding that you weren’t supposed to climb the highest mountain or the hardest–you were just supposed to climb. Which mountain you started on never really mattered.

You will know more tomorrow than today, and today you know more than you knew yesterday. If you go back and rethink and rethink over and over, re-editing all of your life’s work, you’ll never get much writing done and you won’t get much living lived.

Trust that as the writer writes, the writer improves. Forget the early pages. They’re both written and read. Because that’s the other important thing; other people will only glance at your book just as you’ll only glance at theirs. You might read deeply into maybe half a dozen books in your life. Because it turns out these weren’t being written to be read, the were written for the writing’s sake.

Stop worrying about your mistakes and just write–just live. You were never supposed to be perfect. You were just supposed to be here. That in and of itself, is perfect.

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.

The Friday Dose #117

953 FD Relax and Succeed - This is why the dog is happierYou’ve got big problems. You need big solutions. It can feel like that, but there are no problems and there are no answers. There’s just stuff you can’t work on or there’s solutions you are working on, the rest all happens in your consciousness.

A while back I put up a video somewhat similar to this one. It ended up having one of the highest share rates of any video on my blog. There are now very few opportunities for your mind to do truly mindless things. I know it can feel like that’s all you do at work sometimes but there is actually a lot of mind in all that mattering. What you need is something meaningless.

Watching and listening closely to something that has no purpose and no point can at first seem strange. We’re not used to focusing on things that don’t immediately have meaning to us, but what if that’s the equivalent of staring into a fire after a long day? What if that’s the meditation all of us sacrificed as we prayed at the altar of efficiency? What if mindlessness is actually the answer to creating the opportunities for mindfulness?

Empty your mind. Watch it. And listen to it. All of it. It’s a measly 1:23 of your life. Keep watching it until you can relax watching it. Keep watching it until you lose your sense of your Self and all of your troubles and instead just be here, now, and observe and listen. You have no dog in this race. Your only job is to be:

Have a great weekend everyone.

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.

Setting Limits

808 Relax and Succeed - Self care is not selfishHow far should you let people push? How much should they get away with? How much should you be accommodating them? And how are your feelings about them playing into that? Would you put up with as much from your neighbour as your boss? Or what about your children or a spouse?

May I suggest you begin by setting some limits on the idea of setting limits? Because we’re talking about how long (how much time) we should put in before it’s too much. So can you see that the very idea of setting a limit traps you in time? You’re upset because of what’s happened again which means there must have been a before and you’ll be worried it will keep on happening which means by setting a limit you’re trying to alter your future. It’s like your mind colours in a section of your life stretching from a point in your past to a point in your future and you call that your relationship.

Fortunately one thing that actually does impact the future is what we do today. And even if we live in the moment we still have access to all of our knowledge. So we can make a decision today that we’re going in a new direction, but as soon as that person approaches us again we either have to re-make that same decision or we cave in and double back to our old decision. You can use the moments of now to plan your future but that future will still happen one moment at a time.

808 Relax and Succeed - Bent pots need bent lids

This isn’t to diminish what’s happening in people’s lives. This can get serious. If you’re dating a drug addict or someone that gets violent then these can be some of life’s most important decisions. But important and unimportant decisions are all made the same way. You can say whatever you want but your life is ultimately made out of what you do.

We all have those friends who keep going back to the same agonizing relationships over and over like a drug addict visiting their dealer. And it’s a good analogy, because the person really is addicted to the source of the drug they want (anger, sadness, victimization, whatever). So they see this person and they make them react in this predictable way and voila–they get the brain chemistry they came for and you have a perfect co-dependent relationship.

If this is something small it’s easy. You decide you don’t like this person or that activity or whatever and you just quit. You’re not setting a limit so much as realizing something doesn’t suit you. But setting a limit implies that we want to be close to a person (remember–be wary of that word want), but the person’s behaviour makes being close to them impossible or difficult. If it’s not something small and easy like an acquaintance or co-worker–if it’s a child or a spouse–then you still have to make your decisions one at a time and your only recourse between decisions is to accept your situation–which means don’t re-think a past choice.

808 Relax and Succeed - We are all searching for someoneIn the end the closest thing to setting a limit would be to continue to make that same decision, each time, for the rest of your life. But of course many of you will end up waffling. You’ll set the limit and then have a low day or a high day where you’re a little needier or a little softer and you’ll let whoever it is close enough to hurt you again. But don’t beat yourself up for that even if you do end up with a broken heart. Because that’s what the you in that moment felt compelled to do–otherwise meaning you’re living your life wisely and in the moment because both decisions are equally fine, they each just match the state of mind of the thinker at the time, as they should.

Either accept people for how they are or you are doomed to a life of vainly trying to get them to be the way you want them to be. No one owes us any sort of behaviour so we certainly shouldn’t get attached to what we perceive as good behaviour. Other people live in moments too and they are always in a state of change. But it’s also very important to remember that we too are always changing. And as we change ourselves we also naturally change our idea of just what our limits really are. 😉

peace. s

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

Driven

“I have to work because if I was at home I’d be dead,” answered the old guy piloting the shuttle van from the hotel. “At home, I sit in a chair and it’s—what are you sitting in that chair for!?! And I say I thought chairs were for sitting! So I say I’m going to go look at cars and she says—you’re not going to look at cars in those pants! What kind of pants do you need to look at cars for God’s sake?” He looks at me and laughs.

729 Relax and Succeed - I love people who make me laughI offer him some hope. “I had dinner with a female friend. She kept shushing me while we were eating. It turned out she was listening to a table of guys behind her. They were about 20 years older than her. She noticed they weren’t complaining about how their spouses treated them, but listening to it, it sounded to her like they got treated like children.”

“Well thank God one of them noticed!” He laughed again.

“It gets better. She said she felt pretty embarrassed when she realized she had said a lot of the exact same stuff to her own husband.” Now he’s really laughing, but he also now has an empathetic connection to both me and my friend’s husband, which helps him feel better. “She said she had just never thought about her phrasing before but once she did she realized it was pretty thoroughly ungrateful.”

“Does she teach a class? Come on, there’s no hope. On the weekend I took the missus for dinner. I’m a picky eater, so I get my choice just the way I want it and she says to me—you’re not going to order the pulled pork again!? You always order that. Why don’t you try something different?! I told her I liked pulled pork, it’s on the menu and that’s what I came for. But she said I was boring. That I had no sense of… adventure. Then—get this part—the food comes and guess who doesn’t like hers? And now who suddenly wants to trade with the boring guy? I told her no way. I told her she didn’t want to eat a boring meal. She should go find one with adventure in it.

729 Relax and Succeed - I make myself rich“Afterwards she says to me, I’ll buy you some ice cream. My treat. So we get to the place and I’m scared already because there’s signs all over the place. A million signs. And her—she’s always reading everything in sight. If there’s a handwritten little note taped half way under the cash register she’ll yell at you for not seeing it. So I’m scared. Even the menu’s got a million flavours. But there it is, alphabetically it’s right near the top: C for chocolate—my favourite flavour since I was a kid.

“So we get up to the counter there and she looks at me and asks me what I’ll have and I say: chocolate. Chocolate?! She yells at me. They got a million flavours and you’re gonna order chocolate!? Do you realize how boring you are?” He looks at me for support. “Boring? Again I’m boring because I like chocolate? IT’S A FLAVOUR! It’s on the friggin’ menu! It’s a legitimate friggin’ flavour! I’ll have to ask her tomorrow if my shoes fit.”

I knew my job. I continued to establish connection. “A friend of mine used to manage a place in Australia that had 88 flavours. I asked him how they managed to stock that much. He said it was one tub of each flavour and 40 tubs each of chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch and vanilla.”

729 Relax and Succeed - I'm not arguing I'm explaining“You see? There it is right there. I’m right in the thick of it. An average person. I’m picking one of the four most popular flavours in the world but somehow that makes me a boring idiot. You know those dumb little plastic flowers? I don’t know why women like those fake things that have no smell but whatever okay. But this one’s got a tiny little base and it’s real tall and every time I put up the seat on the toilet the darn thing tips over and I’m constantly picking it up off the floor and balancing it on there like it’s a tiara. I’m 82. I’m not lookin’ to do a lot of bendin’ over. I’m tired of it. So I say to her, hey, let’s get rid of that plastic flower. That thing drives me nuts. And you know what she she says? She says it ‘balances the room.’ Balances the room? It can’t even balance itself.”  He howls again.

I’m enjoying it. Because this is two guys connecting. He knows I can fill in all kinds of little details, just like when women discuss men they can say one phrase and it means three paragraphs. We know each other. Genders don’t have firm roles, but they have powerful predispositions. And it struck me that what this man was doing was bonding with me over that common knowledge.

If you were there, the tone didn’t feel like he was dissing his wife. Not in the sense that his intention was for me to not like her or to feel pity for him. He didn’t want me thinking why are you married to this awful person? I’m confident he wouldn’t have liked that at all. No, what he wanted was the connection. That empathetic—you’ve been there too, right?

729 Relax and Succeed - A prayer for the wild at heartWhen he dropped me off he finished off by saying, “Hey thanks for the conversation. And, you know, I say all this stuff about how they drive us crazy but still we go back for more, don’t we? We go back for more. And it’s because despite all that nutty stuff they do, they’re still so friggin’ great. She’s just so friggin’ great.”

“They put up with us….”

“Worse, she puts up with me.”  He winks and is off.

Now, we could look at that as a wasted 20 minutes where this guy bitched about something from the previous weekend and that would be true. If he was high-consciousness he might have wanted to talk about something happy. But it’s important to accept people where they are. That is true empathy.

He wasn’t bashing, but it was venting. And I didn’t add to or help prolong his emotional state because I knew my job was to get him some place better. What he and I knew was that conversation was about keeping his marriage healthy. He wasn’t saying he wanted his wife to be different. He wasn’t trying to change her. He wasn’t looking for me to join him in being against her. He could accept her just fine. He just wanted to connect with someone every now and then who actually noticed that in each of those stories he was describing how he loves her. He was describing the sacrifices he makes for love.

729 Relax and Succeed - People are weirdEvery couple has these little battles. But it’s worthwhile to ask yourself which side of that you’re on. Because if you’re the one that’s oblivious to how bossy or controlling you are, then you are missing out on recognizing the vast majority of the love that is being extended to you via patience and the voluntary surrender of most personal control. After all, it doesn’t get much more basic than choosing your own pants. 🙂

Love comes in many forms. Make sure you’re watching for the quiet, subtle versions like patience. Because they’re actually the most common.

Have yourself an awesome day. And maybe phone your partner and thank them for something nice they’ve done recently.

peace. s

The Agony of Expectations

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year #3

Ouch. Yeesh. I recently overheard a woman complain that her daughter’s plane was delayed because they were worried about airport workers being hit by lightning. She said her day was ruined by it and she couldn’t believe they would stop her daughter’s flight for such a trivial reason.

728 Relax and Succeed - It is what it isTrivial? It’s lightening. They’re living people surrounded by lightning rods and fuel tanks. I’ve got an idea of what would help even more than a flawless airport: some empathy. And it’s way cheaper and easier to get too. This is how people ruin their own lives. Their egos think the world is about them.

Can you see how she does what all of us do? We make every event relate to our personal identity. That storm happened to her daughter and the airport impeded her plans and her day was ruined by these other people and things. With expectation goes disappointment and then the cycle shifts to blame and then the re-setting of another silly expectation. Because it is presumed the world happens out there, not in here.

I’m talking about all of us. The vast majority of people living in the modern world do this all day long with almost every aspect of their lives. If you really want your day to improve the great news is it isn’t hard. You just have to find your attachments like expectation or time and replace them with more flexible ideas like anticipation and experience.

728 Relax and Succeed - Each of us has a responsibilityKeep your mind open. Think of others rather than yourself. It really is better for you. If the woman I overheard had done that she would have undoubtedly been in a much better mood and been much better company to her beloved daughter.

Stay conscious. Make your days great because you have silenced all of the self-creating narratives that filter the world with your me’s and I’s. Instead be open and truly aware and awake to the world around you. That is the easy, fun and beautiful route to salvation. And you don’t even need a plane, a ticket, or to be struck by lightening to get there.

Now go create an awesome day. Love you.

peace. s

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

Daily Peace

The first scenario is how almost everyone moves through their basic experiences each day in an egocentric way. The second scenario is about staying peaceful despite those experiences. The differences are easy to see, easy to do, and the results are immediate.

714 Relax and Succeed - Impatience wastes

You’re in a hurry. You walk into a bank. The line-up is long… Agh! Why is it every time I have to come here it’s lined up like this? Don’t they ever have enough staff on?

For six agonizing minutes you wait, repeating various variations of that story… Come on lady! Why didn’t you have all of that stuff organized before you got up there!? Now I’m going to be late to my sister’s and we won’t have enough time to pick up the cake. Great. And just watch that place over-charge us too. At least they use the money to pay some staff instead of this stupid bank.

Eventually you get to the teller and… Great, a face I don’t know so now they’ll have to do all of the authorization stuff to make sure it’s me. That ought to add about 10 more minutes of wasting my time. Damn these shoes pinch. Why did I wear new ones on a day I was going to be running around? What is this girl doing?? And thanks for coming to work with a cold lady. That’s just what I need. Maybe your day can afford you to lay around at night with a box of Kleenex but mine can’t.

714 Relax and Succeed - There's nothing in this worldAgain, as the girl confirms your identity and carries out the instructions according to her new manager, you recite even more complaints about what you’re seeing as your situation. But she isn’t some lazy, dumb lady who came to work sick. She’s a competent manager at her daytime job but she’s also a single Mom with three kids and she’s working this extra job because she wants to make sure her daughter can go to a really good hockey school that’s important to her. But still she’s new so it takes her a bit.

Eventually you finish your banking, you curtly thank her while clearly indicating your dissatisfaction with her work, and you storm off to now take all that brain chemistry out on your sister and some bakers.

Or…

You’re in a hurry. You walk into the bank, see the line and realize it’s the end of the month. It makes sense that it’s busy. And your mind stays quiet. Because you’re in a state of being aware or noticing, what you don’t notice is the six minutes passing.

714 Relax and Succeed - One does not becomeBut you are aware that almost everyone in the line and behind the counters is sniffling and coughing. Clearly something’s going around. There’s some hand sanitizer in the line so you use it because you’re not sick yet and you’ll do what you can not to be. You can take a good guess at why the bank’s understaffed.

Eventually your teller comes up. You’ve never seen her before so you check her name-tag and underneath her name it says “Trainee.” Not that you really had any expectations, but if you did you’d change them here. You try to think of all of the ways you could use your knowledge of this monthly event you’ve done many times. You can probably help her remember the process. “Hi Sara. I’m Scott. I deal here all the time, I haven’t seen you here before, I take it by your tag you’re new with the bank?”

“Yes, I am. I’ve only been here a week. I apologize that I won’t be as fast as these other guys.”

“That’s okay, I was a customer here when most of them were in your shoes. No problem. We’re in this together. You just tell me how I can be of the most help.”

You can see her calm down when you say that. She relaxes and thereby accesses more of her own abilities and memories and so her service is much better than it would have been if she was tense. She carries out her responsibilities and thanks you profusely for your patience and you gratefully accept her thanks and also enjoy sharing a compliment of your own because she really did pretty good for a beginner.

714 Relax and Succeed - Those who wish to singYou leave the bank in a happy mood and because you saved a couple of minutes you’re going to pass that mood on to your sister by getting her her favourite coffee on your way to pick her up.

Boom. See the difference?

One version of you—your ego—bombards you with words about things and it just judges and judges and judges always with an eye toward seeing only confirmation of what it already believes. And all comparisons will be made against perfection. Yes, you will have to use some language and judgments to be functional in society, but you don’t have to live in a state of judgment the rest of the time. You always have a choice about what aspect of which issue you choose to focus on. You either live in your thoughts or you be aware. You’re ego or you’re clear. It’s that easy.

Don’t eat your days away gnawing at your own thoughts. Let them go. Peace will flow toward you naturally. Invest your thoughts in loving, caring, compassionate and beautiful acts and the rest takes care of itself.

Now use your mind consciously and use that awareness to choose a better day for yourself.

Love you all.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #63

661 OP Relax and Succeed - It is never too late

I don’t think many people will actually read this as meaning that they can become a brain surgeon at 94 years old. But at the same time they may not really ask themselves in a profound way what the statement actually means. Too many times I will ask people about quotes they use and when pressed they will realize that they’ve never really thought about what the quote would mean in their life. It’s easy to use some superficial meaning like a slogan or a cheerleader for your new life direction but it’s a different thing to ask yourself, why was the quote even uttered? What this quote indicates is that there is never a time during an event or a time in your life where you cannot become any version of yourself that you choose. A person who has never stood up for themselves in their life can suddenly do it any day of their life—any day they choose. An angry person can choose a calmer, kinder path. Sad people can abandon debilitating thought patterns and choose to shift to seeing themselves as healthy rather than in-need of repair. You can become more compassionate. You can become more patient. You can become more affectionate. You can become more trusting. You can change yourself in any way you choose because you have always been and you always will be simply a collection of beliefs. So if you change the beliefs you have about yourself then you will change your life. And it’s never too late to start. Why not now?

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous to tricky to ambiguous, and while I intend no offence to their creators, I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Mindful Being

I want to clear up some potential confusion. I want to make it clear that there are many stages to becoming the kind of healthy that everyone intuitively wants to be. If you’re busy thinking me-based thoughts about what you’re missing or what you need, then yes—thinking more positive and constructive thoughts will elevate your consciousness, but don’t lose sight of the ultimate objective—which is to go beyond thinking into being. So good thoughts are better than bad thoughts and no thoughts is best of all.

633 Relax and Succeed - You don't think your way intoThe next question is usually about how to stop thinking? Again, that’s easier once you’re conscious—once you’ve become aware of your thinking by learning to steer it toward whichever feelings you find the most rewarding. As you redirect those thoughts you’ll come to recognize that they exist in patterns. And as you add a touch of patience and understanding to the mix then you always come to the same conclusion: you forgive people for whatever happened. But eventually you realize that—if you’re going to do that—then you didn’t have to actually process all those thought-details, you could have just skipped it and shrugged, truly knowing from experience that there is no reason to think those thoughts. They are truly meaningless thoughts and once that is understood you simply stop. As I’ve said before, you’re in control of you. You don’t go into restaurants and order food you don’t like.

So the first thing that happens when you’re more conscious is that the words start to make less sense and you start to be more interested in steering your feelings rather than judging ideas. But the next step is where you go into the world. This is wonderful thing to do and it’s why people like me are constantly in wonder and why we can’t believe how beautiful the universe is. Mathematicians see the magic and beauty of a formula. Engineers see the elegance and confidence in a structure. Grade One teachers see achievement and potential in every student. Computer Programmers see elegant and artful coding, and many people can see the beauty and meaning behind a lot of work by designers or artists. But once your thinking quiets it’s like you can see all of these other kinds of beauty. You can see the elegance of a formula that can get a microwave-sized space ship to travel to Mars so predictably, through that sense that the 633 Relax and Succeed - Zen is not some kind of excitementuniverse makes. We can see the beauty of a formula that makes that rocket successful. But we can also love children and flowers and airplanes and sky and and and and.

Drop all the words and get into life. Feel the weight of your coffee cup. When you take off your jacket, really feel what you’re body is doing. Feel your hands slide against the inside of the sleeves—feel the experience more fully. Don’t think while you do something. Just do the thing. Fully and completely. No busy thoughts about other things, just move toward the peace and harmony that exists when you join with something. For instance, if you’re reasonably stable, then doing this will ensure you never spill anything again. Because being truly mindful means that you’re aware of how you relate to the world, rather than seeing the world as relating to you. And that’s when you start having realizations like—if you think about your coffee cup as having the weight in the bottom of the cup rather than on the surface of the coffee, then suddenly you simply let gravity do its thing and you start working with the universe and nothing gets spilled.

You can do this with all kinds of things. You’ll know when you’re becoming more mindful because you will start having a lot of insights about the world. One I’ve written about before that I remember having was when I was quiet-minded, stirring some hot chocolate when I was about nine or ten years old, and I realized that the tone of the clinking against the glass was changing as the chocolate milk powder slowly dissolved. And then I heard the tone level off to one particular note, and that told me I had either saturated the liquid or I had dissolved all of the particles. So from then on I always knew when to stop stirring and when to keep going. That’s how being mindful can help you. Better driving, less silly mistakes or losing things, 633 Relax and Succeed - One word of explanationfewer things are dropped and spilled as has happened to many clients—you can finally catch things that are thrown to you. 🙂

Get into your life. Immerse yourself in the world itself. Get out of your useless personal thinking and into the universe. Become a part of it. Cooperate. Don’t talk about it, be within it. Just let go of the words that tell you the stories and slowly replace them with weights and temperatures and angles and other awarenesses. This leads to patience and understanding and that’s when you not-spilling really ends and your being in the universe truly begins. It’s that is an experience worth having. I’ll make sure to keep an eye out for you out there. Have yourself a spectacular day.

peace. s

Seeds of Advice

Parents want their kids to take their advice. Friends want their friends to take their advice. Teachers want their students to take their advice. Journeymen want novices to take their advice. And they are all very often frustrated to see the other person or persons not making any use of the advice they were given. We can keep the advice but let’s get rid of the frustration.

573 Relax and Succeed - Everything happens for a reasonFrustration is painful for you to experience and in cases like the ones above, a lot of frustration gets generated by your unmet expectation that the person would do as you suggested. But of course if you studied yourself you would know that you too have ignored most of the advice you were given. And it’s not that you or they are rude people. It’s that advice exists in the world of words. It’s an abstract mind-based concept. But we learn in the real world. But that isn’t to say that the advice is useless.

The simple fact is, we do need to go the wrong way before we can determine the right way. So it is often the heat of experience that germinates the seeds of advice. It’s when we’re suffering that we’ll recall advice we were given and—juxtaposed to our pain—we profoundly understand the advice. It is burned into our consciousness by the pain experience. That is the trade-off. Yes you experience pain, but in doing so you reduce your chances of repeating the same mistake.

When dealing with individuals, ideally I would wait for people to ask for advice before giving it, but there are obviously situational reasons where giving it is the only thing that makes sense—this blog being a case in point. But even if you do give it and the person appears to ignore it, you will have planted that seed. And in the right sun, with just the right moisture and fertile soil, that seed can suddenly take hold minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or even years later. These are the aha moments when we finally understand why something in our past was the way it was.

Don’t feel frustrated that your advice is rarely taken immediately. It’s a good lesson on how suffering is built on a bedrock of expectation. Just say whatever you feel a motivation to say and trust yourself. Then know that’s just the seed. Don’t even expect to see it for some time. Let it surprise you. And when it does, you’ll know you made a difference.

573 Relax and Succeed - Never think that what you have to offerLessons taught, lessons learned, and lessons understood are three different things. Too many times people want to immediately go from step one to step three with no gap in between. That is crazy. It doesn’t work that way. People need time to absorb new concepts. You’re no different. So we have to stop being in such a rush—just because we’ve made a new rule or got people’s commitments, things are still going to happen before we comprehend the advice well enough to be able to put it to truly good use.

Loving people is even better than advice, but caring via advice isn’t a bad substitute. Tell people what you want them to know. And then fully expect them to go bump into the universe in all kinds of ways that defy your advice. But if you are wise and if you’re not influenced by ugly past feelings, then the odds are people will pick up your advice and if anything, hone it further.

Care about people. Friends and strangers alike. This week I’m going to teach a new Canadian how to drive on snow and ice. It’s going to feel good knowing he’ll feel safer, and I might be able to save him from who knows what trouble. That sharing feels good. So share advice if you feel it’s warranted. Just don’t expect people to implement it until they can own it themselves, and the best way to do that is for them to have meditated on it long enough that they eventually see the same value you do. Now go have yourself an awesome day!

peace. s

Fighting Words

Winner: Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #3

Most of you take way too much way too seriously. Someone can exhibit a behaviour a single time and you can completely revise your opinion about them as though some deep dark secret has been revealed. Grow up. You know what? People get tired. And hungry. Or they’re ill in some way you can’t see. Or in pain. Or on a medication that’s challenging. Or maybe they’ve had a horrible experience in the past that the current situation is reminding them of. There’s a lot of legitimate reasons for people to respond in a hostile manner and very few of them have to do with you.

496 Relax and Succeed - I'm sorry for what I saidA lack of food or sleep will actually impact your blood and brain chemistry. Ruminating thoughts will wear you out emotionally, making you much more sensitive and reactive. Maybe you have had several disappointing experiences recently and this one’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Or maybe, deep down, the person’s just scared and what we’re seeing as anger is actually fear.

Yes, we have to assume more personal control than people are currently inclined to exhibit. We don’t have to be prudish or Victorian, but patience and kindness and generosity do lubricate a society rather nicely. So everyone wins if everyone is being actively compassionate with each other. At the same time we have to let others and ourselves be human. We can’t demand perfection from them or us or we’ll be angry and depressed and so will they, and who wants to live in a society filled with that?

We need to have thicker skin. If someone’s usually decent and now they’re rude or lashing out, then you’re better to presume they’re struggling than to presume you’re being attacked. And so instead of offering a defense, you can offer a helping hand. Use your personal strength and understanding to move past their words and focus on what you and the other person have in common.

496 Relax and Succeed - Love me when I least deserve itAngry words are untrustworthy. People are venting off their anger and they’re capable of saying things they absolutely do not believe. They can be loud and intense and relentless and still it can all just be how they’re feeling now. In an hour they could just as easily be focused on something more appealing and all of their opinions would have subsequently changed. So let others and yourself have your moments. If you know you’re hungry and grumpy, then sure, let people know to watch out. But if you slip and snap at someone, don’t beat yourself up over that. Everyone will do it at various times in their life, so it’s simply human. So relax and be kind to yourself.

Don’t judge others on a lack of information. And don’t take things personally. Because your boss might have spoken to you sharply because he really needs a cheese burger. And that’s nothing you should be spending your lunch hour worrying about.

There’s a lot of reasons people are temporarily unreasonable. Give them that freedom so that you can have it too when it’s your turn. If we all do that, the world will be a much more peaceful place. I hope you’ll join me in tolerance. Have a wonderful day.

peace. s