The Casual Perfectionist

934 Relax and Succeed - I have taught that when error ceasesSubconsciously many modern people are striving for perfection. They won’t give themselves an off day; they’ll look at some skill they have and then compare themselves to the best person they know at that skill; they will rarely credit their successes and will primarily note their flaws. Sound like anyone you know?

Taken from the egocentric perspective of a disconnected being the quote above means that if you work at it hard enough some day you’ll have fixed yourself. You’ll be done. Complete. Finished. Impressive. But that’s not a healthy way to take the quote.

934 Relax and Succeed - How we see flowers“When error ceases” is the first portion I’d like you to focus on. They don’t mean stop making errors, they mean get rid of the idea that there is such a thing as an error. Is a driver making an error when they’re worried about all that weight and speed and skill so they’re looking just off the end of the hood? No. They’re learning. Learning is a series of missteps that helps us refine our path to success. So those aren’t errors. They’re just steps on a journey to knowledge.

Next look at “for what you are.” Because the healthiest way to dispel your idea that you can make mistakes is to not make a you at all. Just like the concept of an error, you too are just a collection of ideas in various contexts. Lose that idea of a Self and you lose the idea of mistakes because there’s no one to own them. On top of that you realize you never were an individual, you always were just a collection of constantly evolving beliefs that reeled through your consciousness and appeared to you on a screen called reality.

You know, you could just love where and who are right now. There are ways to be grateful in virtually any day. But to do that you have to give up the idea that you need to do something, become someone or obtain special knowledge. You have to know and fully believe that you are the best expert there has ever been for the living of your life.

934 Relax and Succeed - I am willing to let the love inAbandon your ideas that you need to be anything other than who you are. You hide because you think you need to be more. Maybe you hide with shyness. Maybe you’re always out there but all of your connections are intentionally superficial. Regardless, you do not need to hide anything or be anything. Yes there will be people who don’t like who you are. You want the right to not like some types of people too don’t you? So let them be and don’t think it’s your job to get them to like you or accept they’re wrong. Just be you and let your friends find you.

Take a big breath in and slowly let it out. Do it again. I’ll wait. I said I’ll wait. Breathe. Slow. Feel your body. Feel the air enter your lungs. Get Now. Those feelings, without the story of who they belong to, is the real you. Quiet that layer of judgmental desire-filled thought and free yourself to combine with the world in a strange but beautiful dance called life. It’s been waiting for you to love it because it wants to love you back.

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.

Swapping Sexes

884 Relax and Succeed - First of all he saidHow did you do at your meditation yesterday? Were you able to hold your attention on your schoolmate or co-worker’s perspective? Did you learn something about them that makes them more human, more connected, more deserving of your empathy?  If you did that much you did a lot.

Today we’ll focus on the differences between the genders. What’s it like to live in your society as the opposite sex? Men have more personal freedom and often a greater sense of safety, a woman will have more freedom to experience her full range of emotions but she will feel almost instantly less safe. These are not small challenges for each gender to face. These are some of the biggest issues each group has.

It’s terrible to say, but even in a modern country like Canada the most recent stats show women making on average 72 cents for every dollar a man makes. Guys, just take whatever you buy today and multiply the cost by 1.28 and you’ll quickly realize it would take you far longer to recover or get ahead. And remember–these are for a lot of the same kinds of jobs.

884 Relax and Succeed - Empathy isGuys–imagine how ridiculously unfair you would think that was if it was men of your colour, nationality or body type? How would you feel if something arbitrary like that almost certainly guaranteed that you would be up for fewer promotions, get sexually harassed, and make 72% of the guy’s pay? Face it: we’d be furious and we would take action. And if our sisters and mothers and wives and daughters didn’t leap to help us that would feel terrible.

Ladies–imagine how difficult it is to be the one who is carrying the lion’s share of the total costs of living? Most people couldn’t maintain important aspects of their lifestyle without their 72% salary being married to a 128% salary. And maybe you make more, but you don’t feel like you could leave your job if you’re being abused, mistreated, threatened or even if you just can’t stand it. Without the guy the household topples and everyone’s living a much different lifestyle. That can be extremely stressful at time and it can make work feel like a jail.

Whether it’s work feeling like a jail or a dark street feeling like a very real threat, we walk through each day without an enormous amount of consideration for how the other half lives. Just watch your spouse for one day and imagine doing what they’re doing. Imagine if all of the responsibilities were swapped? Imagine if you had to even know what they know, or if ladies couldn’t call friends when they were distraught or men couldn’t protect themselves in everyday situations.

884 Relax and Succeed - Where there is no loveThe fact is, you probably haven’t had much cause to think at all about your spouse’s or brother’s or mother’s or son’s lives. Doing so will expand your awareness and that will open you up and that will feel good. Get out of your head. Establish empathy with more people. Stop thinking about how they affect you and start thinking about how they are impacted by you.

There is greater connection and increased respect between people who understand each other’s experience. Men will never know what it’s like to have a baby and women will never know what it’s like to first in line for dangerous duty, but we can invest ourselves in the healthy action of leaving our own thoughts and worries behind for a day so that we can expand our meditating abilities and establish better relations with the opposite sex. Actually do it. It will expand who you are.

Now go have a great day everyone. I gotta go figure out where I’m gonna put this tampon….

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations around the world.

The Other Guy

You would be shocked at how much of your life is invested in noting how other people could be better. You’re like a sports commentator on duty 24/7. You analyze how they dress, do their hair, how they talk, or what they know, or how they approach their job or driving or child-rearing. You have umpteen opinions on all of that stuff. But those opinions are just thoughts. Those thoughts accomplish nothing other than dosing you with the chemistry for dissatisfaction and upset. They have no actual affect on anyone but you. So since you feel the downsides and there is no upside… why would you allow yourself to continue doing it when all that’s required is that you learn to stop?

556 Relax and Succeed - If you simply practiceThat’s most of what I write about: how to stop your constant barrage of opinions about how you want things to be different than they are. Because you think that your life would be better if other people behaved differently. But I’m here to tell you that your life only gets better when you think differently. If you’re in a constant I-gotta-get-exactly-what-I-want-or-I’m-not-happy state that most egos live in most of the time, then you are doomed to have an unpleasant, even agonizing existence. People are individuals, which means they each have their own personality which in turn means that they will each make unique choices, which in turn means they are likely to eventually disagree with you. This does not make either you or them wrong. It makes you individuals. To find peace you simply must accept that we all literally live in separate realities.

You can do two very simple things and your life will change enormously. The first is to shut off your inner sportscaster. Half the “players” you’re judging are injured anyway, and you’re comparing everyone—including yourself—to unrealistic ideals. You have no idea how much energy they have, or how many distractions they have, you don’t know if they’re in pain physically or if they’re emotionally suffering…. So change your life by stopping all the judging. You do it a lot so it’ll take a while. But if you keep switching from complaints to compliments, it’ll be a habit that will serve you well until the day you die.

556 Relax and Succeed - Simply be the qualitiesThe second thing is to take that energy you used to use to judge everyone, and use it to be grateful instead. Instead of loading your consciousness up with wants and opinions, use it to absorb things to be grateful for. It’s not hard. Just take whatever you’re doing and imagine it being done in the year 1900. A good percentage of the materials your life is made out of didn’t even exist back then. Water, light, heat. Very simple things get super complex if you go back that far. Or imagine having no money. Or poor health. These are not easy things. So be grateful for your life and your mind will experience gratitude. And that is much better than experiencing frustrated judgment.

I’m sorry that spiritual and psychological health it doesn’t feel like jumping off a cliff and flying. I’m sorry that it isn’t some instant salve that you just lay over yourself and it’s done. It’s a practice. Every day you have to eschew judgment of others in favour of gratitude for your own life. You’ll never do it all the time, but that’s okay because there can’t be a path unless there’s not-path too. But don’t walk on the thorns of dissatisfaction for long. The path is always waiting. You just need to take a few steps through gratitude to get there.

peace. s