The Friday Dose #131: Even When It’s Hard

1023-fd1-relax-and-succeed-comforting-lies-unpleasant-truthsI have a dear friend who was robbed, conned and sued for something she isn’t actually responsible for and all of that happened in a span of two weeks. When that happens it’s pretty easy to ask yourself why the world’s being so tough on you. That inclination is fine; we have a lot of programming in our lives that suggests to us that good things happen to good people. But so do bad things.

As Shakespeare suggested, what makes things good or bad is our thinking–our personal thinking. That thief wasn’t robbing their house, he was robbing a house. The con man didn’t pick her, he picked her job title. And the lawsuit is a deflection of responsibility by someone who made simple mistake and they just happen to be the only people to deflect that toward.

1023-fd2-relax-and-succeed-teaching-your-child-goodThe same holds true even for something as serious as cancer. We’re 10% us-cells and 90% other cells. Almost 70% of your body weight is other microscopic creatures that live on, in and off you, or rather we live off them. You are one big symbiotic system. You’re more like the Earth and they’re all the plants and animals.

We think cancer is a disease, but to cancer it’s just cancer. It’s cells don’t intend to kill or hurt us, they simply are being cancer cells and so they’re not cooperating in with the cells around them. It’s okay to go through some powerful emotions as you think about that, but just remember the pain is caused by cancer but the suffering is caused by the resistant thinking. Starting there is normal. The level of our health depends on how rapidly we can shift ourselves away from that resistance.

Scott Hamilton is now facing his third bout with cancer and here he discusses how he wants his family to face that idea. Of course it’s not good news and clearly he’s in pain; but it’s not unfair, it just is. He takes the pain but won’t add the suffering and he wants his children to know how to do that too. It’s one of life’s most valuable skills. In this way the cancer becomes a teacher, making Hamilton and his family mentally stronger and healthier themselves. Life is mostly opportunity. But it has its harsh bits. Such is the nature of yin and yang. I wish him the very best.

Scott Hamilton Approaches Brain Cancer With a Clear Mind

Be grateful. Things change fast. What you want isn’t as important as what you have. Enjoy it.

peace and a hug, 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.

Egos in Public

She’s walking down the street on the way to work. She slept in, had to rush, hadn’t ironed and so she wasn’t feeling great. That morning she had looked in the mirror and thought, I look like crap. It’s a good thing you’re not seeing clients today. Why do you drink so much every time you’re with Steph? Stop it.

827 Relax and Succeed - If the whole world was blindAs Jennifer walks past the bookstore she sneaks a look at her outfit in the window. She looks at her tinted, distorted and dirty reflection and sneers–judging herself unacceptable. Have you gone blind?! I knew I should have worn my other coat. This looks ridiculous.

Inside the store Gloria had just placed a novel in its proper order while thinking to herself when you act like you did on that date last night why would you ever hope to ever get married again? No wonder your husband left you and your fat ass. As she rises she turns to see Jennifer’s expression of dissatisfaction with her reflection in the glass, but thinking Jennifer was looking at her, Gloria thought-responds, yes bitch, I know it’s fat alright?

As Gloria rounds the corner she sees another display in the window for the Carol Shields novel Larry’s Party. That leads her to recall that it’s her friend Tamara’s birthday the next day and she hasn’t gotten her a gift yet. She ducks into the bookstore just as one of the girls that works there notices that Gloria’s a bit teary-eyed. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

827 Relax and Succeed - Only say it if it is true

Gloria nods toward Jennifer who is just entering the store. “Just some bitch mocking my fat ass.” Gloria shoots Jennifer a dirty look. Bitch. Gloria’s a touch on the lazy side and she wants to call her boyfriend, so when she sees Jennifer heading for the till with her book she turns back to her co-worker and asks, “I really don’t want to serve her. Would you mind taking that for me?”

The co-worker is helpful and agrees and heads over to check out Jennifer who was very impressed with quick excellent service she got here last time. She made a note of the woman’s name again. Indira. I’m gonna write to their head office when I get home and make sure Indira gets credit for helping me last time. Companies don’t respect how much difference those front line workers can make. To me, she was the face of the this company that day and she smiled when most clerks today just sneer and grab your money.

Jennifer arrives at the till and Gloria’s co-worker slides into the spot behind the till. She speaks very flatly (just barely politely). “Did you find everything you were looking for?”you judgmental hag. The clerk’s body language is rough and heavy, as though bitch-germs are all over the book. She wants to drop it in the bag as quickly as possible.

827 Relax and Succeed - Never judge someoneJennifer is knocked from her pleasant feeling by the clerk’s almost challenging tone and negative body language but she gives her the benefit of the doubt. She even goes so far as to try to cheer her up with a little joke: “I usually remember what I came for when I get home.” No smile, no recognition she said anything. Hmm. Okay. Well, I’m not normally a funny person. Still, I thought it was funny.

“Did you need a gift receipt?” So flat it could be judged as over the line by some.

Apparently Jennifer is on the other side of that line. Well don’t let me put you out honey. You get that I’m paying your wage by buying this right? Jennifer smile-sneers at the clerk. “No. No I’ll do without.” She can’t resist throwing in a final stab: “Thanks for your great service though.”

Ooo. Flat right back. The clerk doesn’t like this hag that attacked Gloria. And now she knew Gloria was telling her the truth about the woman because the co-worker herself was witnessing Jennifer being just as bitchy to her as she was to Gloria (remembering of course from our God-position that Jennifer never did actually see or judge Gloria).

The clerk completes the transaction and roughly tears off the receipt  and jams it into the bag with the book. With a fake smile and facetious tone: “Have a great day.”

827 Relax and Succeed - The only peopleJennifer looks back but it’s too early in the morning to be treated like this. “Yeah, thanks for the great service by the way. You know the woman upstairs managed to sound like she didn’t resent the people that pay her bills. You should try it sometime.”

“Pardon me?!” How dare she!!  “Yeah, well at least I don’t go around insulting perfect strangers in public places so maybe you should just take your stupid book and leave.”

WHAT!? “That sounds like a great idea. I think I’ll do that and come back later and talk to your manager.” Jennifer takes the bag with the book and receipt and she heads for the door a bit stunned, leaving the co-worker looking a touch concerned about how this might play out later.

In the end none of these women actually had a reason not to like each other. All of them had unpleasant experiences within their consciousness that they blamed on each other. What really happened was that they all chose to make judgment calls about what they thought they experienced. Just remember: this scene is almost all of us, almost every day, almost all day. Be aware, have a quiet mind and save yourself from daily suffering.

peace. s

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

Bad Rap

823 Relax and Succeed - One of the best things you can doYou hear it all the time. People dissing humanity. We’ve screwed it all up! some angry person shouts. We polluted the Earth and got selfish and everyone’s on their phones and no one cares and there’s huge problems in the world–AHHHH! Yeah, I understand those concerns but still, you know what? I think humanity is just getting a bad rap.

I met a guy at a job I worked at a few years back. Other than the fact that we both primarily played the same musical instrument I didn’t see that we had a ton in common. But that never seems to matter. There’s just these times when we feel compelled to notice some people. It’s like we half-recognize them or something.

Since living this way I’m very patient with that feeling. I know it can take years to play out. Decades even. But those people you have that weird sense about–that your life and theirs have something to do with each other–those do unfold. Who knows, physicists can’t really explain why you can remember your past but not your future so maybe you really are recognizing them for another time rather than from another time. But we’ve all had the feeling. Our favourite version of it is when we meet a new friend.

823 Relax and Succeed - Be who you neededRecently that person posted on facebook that they were in the midst of one of life’s toughest challenges. It was a humble admission of both a problem and the current struggle to overcome it. I honestly don’t know all of the details involving the problem and I don’t really care. Those details are irrelevant. What matters is that he’s struggling. I have no interest in judging him, I just want to respond to his need with compassion. That’s what feels natural for anyone when you’re not seeing the world from an egocentric view.

Why do I say people don’t deserve the bad rap they get? Here’s some evidence: When this guy exposed his vulnerability and weakness the immediate response by friends and strangers alike was to offer him support and assistance. Far from judging him everyone noted feeling inspired by what he had done through his admission.

Everyone has their battles. Big and small. We all share that. We all know what it feels like to try something difficult. Something we’ve not done before. Something other versions of us tried to do but couldn’t. But we all know there’s a version of us that’s ready. And that version is sometimes very hard to find. So when you see another human being exhibiting it, compassion just naturally flows.

823 Relax and Succeed - If grass can growIt’s like I’ve written about in the past in relation to the strange thing that used to happen on the show Fear Factor when a competitor got in real trouble. If they needed the prize money for an important reason–like an operation for their sick mom or something–then you’d never see people able to maintain their goading. They couldn’t undermine those people and if it looked like they might fail their competitors would switch to cheering them on. Yes, their former trash-talking competitors. Because that’s our nature. Because unless we have been abused, that’s what humans do.

People can criticize the idea all they want but when we are most in alignment with things is when we are experiencing love and connection. When our connection is so pure that we don’t even sense the border between an us and them, then> we know we are visiting our natural home. And it is not a failed life to wobble in and out of it. It is what a lifetime is. And we wouldn’t want it it any other way. Because when people are wobbling is precisely when they can inspire the people who aren’t.

Thanks to my friend for his inspiration. I sense very good things in his future. And I’m confident there’s many good things in store for yours as well. Now go create yourself an awesome day.

Much love. Big hugs. s

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

The Friday Dose #85

Plain and simple, watching people be kind is an uplifting thing to do and I would like to help all of you feel better right now. So let’s get straight to it. It’s amazing what will happen when you just give people an obvious opportunity to be kind and/or generous? Another great idea from Improv Anywhere:

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And I’m going with two videos today because I really like Soul Pancake’s creation, The Secret to a Happy Family. It doesn’t need any more introduction than that. Enjoy!

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Go do some nice things for strangers and for people you love. Not for them. For you. Always remember, kindness, generosity and compassion all feel good for both parties. Don’t steal from yourself. You have more to offer than you realize.

peace. s

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

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