Correcting Yourself

1236 Relax and Succeed - He who carves the buddhaPeople think they’ll feel better if they perform better in some specific way, but it’s not achievement that allows us to feel great, it’s mindfulness. It is when we are fully absorbed in what we are doing that we and the act we are performing become one, whether the person is still or busy, their state is peaceful clarity.

Today, rather than constantly criticizing yourself with your own ego-centric thinking try going peaceful instead. As an exercise, when speaking with others today, watch for language that is corrective and then veer away from that need to be right and instead surrender into silent acceptance. Listen to an idea you disagree with and feel the motivation to speak to–and then don’t.

By practicing the act of acceptance we become better listeners. Use today to your advantage. Make a game of it. See how many times you can catch yourself doing it; see how quickly you can change direction; and see how gracefully you can make your shift. Be still amidst ideas you disagree with. Do these things and you will become stronger.

Awareness, recognition, response. It’s yours to do.

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.

Setting an Intention

Thank you for being so enthusiastic about this year’s plan. It was wise of many of you to involve a family member or co-worker so you can help keep each other on track. That’s definitely a good idea and it will help.

844 Relax and Succeed - I am thankfulSo what’s first? If you’ve read me much then you know that the most important thing you can do with your consciousness is either want or appreciate. A little want is irritation, more is frustration, a lot is anger and if you hate things so much that you want to be someone else–that’s depression. Your other choice is appreciation. A little leaves you pleased. More makes you happy and a lot makes you joyful. And at maximum manifestation you disappear and you become so huge you need nothing–in fact you are so overflowing that it becomes your nature to give.

So how do we do it? I started off yesterday by saying mornings are important. In the morning all the wiring in your brain that makes you you is just sitting there. It’s not active yet. You spent the night integrating your memories from the previous day. So before you start wanting it not to be a workday, or wanting it to be warmer or later or with someone else or somewhere else just stop, sit down with your notebook and pen, settle your thoughts and then start with Day 1:

Set an intention for your life: gratitude. Then write down at least 5 things you are grateful for. Health, love, your parents, the writers of your favourite show, a visit from a much-loved friend, whatever you like. Include what you’re grateful about in your past and what you’re grateful will happen today. Remember, even your legs are something a lot of people in a wheelchair would love to have more than any other thing in the world and yet when were you last grateful you could walk? When you were two?

844 Relax and Succeed - When you arise in the morningIf you find it hard to write your list at the start then the good news is you’ll benefit more than the rest of us. Now remember–this is a practice. This should happen every workday at least, and always during your quiet time with no interruptions. No music, just the sound of the pen on the paper and the slow creation of the list. This tells your brain what wiring to warm up for your day and it literally makes it more likely that you’ll pay attention to the driver that let you into traffic than you will on the guy that cut you off. Doing the opposite is what makes life feel like hell.

People suffer by death of a thousand cuts. Every time you judge another person or people–or even nature or yourself–you do this by wanting. Once you shift from wanting to the more natural appreciating your life changes. So save yourself from finishing the day hacked to bits by your thinking. Appreciate instead. Go ahead. Start your list. And include something about yourself in there too. Something you’re grateful you can do or something you are, like healthy.

Now this is all supposed to happen very early in the morning so if your timezone doesn’t sync with mine, just follow one day behind and read yesterday’s today and today’s tomorrow. Do this each workday and by next year we will have successfully rewired your brain to ignore wanting  in favour of gratitude.

844 Relax and Succeed - If you focus on resultsYou build billions of new body cells each day and while you keep brain cells for life, you do build close to 1500 neurons a day and that’s what we want working for us. What creates them is you expanding yourself through play or education or experience. Or complaining. The choice is yours. It’s just a matter of: what do you want to be good at?

Just watch how much easier it gets each week to find things for your list. By the end of the month you won’t have enough time to write out all the stuff you’ve been noticing. That’s a great sign that the rewiring is working.

So easy right? All you have to do is wake up, write down five things each morning that you’re genuinely grateful for and you’re done. Easy peasy. You’ve got this. As long as this is done sincerely, this absolutely will change you starting right away and that change will continue to the point where a year from now you won’t have the same mind you do now. It’s gonna be awesome.

Enjoy your day. I love you all.

peace. s

PS From here forward these will post in my usual morning run, after you’ve written in your gratitude journal. Each Monday I’ll get you started early and then you can use the later blogs to tune and enhance your meditation.

A Daily Dose of Peace

828 Relax and Succeed - You are the skySingers warm up their vocal chords. Athletes warm up and stretch their muscles. We’ll lift weights to get bigger, we’ll study for exams but for some reason we don’t feel that our mental health needs any tending. And yet when we see others and wish we were as stable and strong as they are, the only difference may be that they set their day up to succeed and you did not.

The first thing to do is to recognize the value of the morning. Your mind has been busy at night, weaving together all of the linkages between your daily thoughts. It wires in all the metaphors and chronological stuff and leaves us in the morning having integrated the previous day, but we’ve done nothing to set this new day up to be great. Don’t leave it to chance. Design it as a part of your life.

To use some of those metaphors I’ve wired in over the years: think of the brain like a muscle. New things it’ll be bad at, things it knows well it can almost do without you needing to be conscious about it. This is why things like driving seem so much easier after we’ve done it for a while. We have the wiring already built in our minds and we are merely using it. It’s the building that just takes a bit of time–for all of us.

828 Relax and Succeed - Don't tell us what you're againstKeeping up with the metaphor, the big tubes for electricity are the ones you use the most. So if you get angry a lot that anger impulse will be trying to slam dunk the basketball of mental energy through hoop that you could fit a car through. If you want to be more peaceful you’ve got to jam less stuff down that tube and use the one at the other end of the court instead–the tube for peace and tranquility and calm.

Set your alarm for a half hour before you get up, but know that when it turns on the next day that you have a leisurely full half hour to go through the waking process. Leave a note for yourself–whatever you have to do–but stay in bed or sit somewhere comfortable and just slowly wake up by thinking about your favourite things; things you’re grateful for. Really practice your gratitude. Widen that tube. Because during the day, as events unfold, that simple act in the morning will drastically impact whether you send your energy towards anger or calm.

Your brain likes to repeat things. Do not beat yourself up and think that you are worthless or a failure. No one is. The only question is: are we using our incredible capabilities to create something great or something we’ve created before? Because we can just keep getting mad and always blame it on the other person place or thing. Plus it’s us feeling the anger and that sucks. So feel love and connection instead. It’s not that hard.

828 Relax and Succeed - Periodically during your dayTune your mind like a radio. If you’re listening to half-static on a station playing angry death metal–hey that music can be fine in the right setting, but first thing in the morning whether you like it or not, you’d do better with a ballad or some Vivaldi. Actively “remember” that the day you’re going to have is going to be filled with great things. Expect them. Stretch your tubes. Tune your mind to watch for fortunate things. Get it ready to receive a signal of peace and patience.

During the day divide your day into segments. Make it a habit to check in with yourself mentally between them. Ask yourself periodically: what is my emotional state and what does that tell me about my state of mind? If you find you’re tense, or just before a big call or meeting follow this simple practice: Stand still in a comfortable pose and simply breathe 3-5 times using a 3 count inhale, a 7 count hold, and an 8 count exhale. This is very similar to your sleeping rhythm and your body knows that from years of practice so it will respond. Just stay still, do the breathing. You’ll oxygenate your brain and you’ll calm your jangling nerves. You’ll feel your chemistry change.

Feeling good will lead to good things. It’s funny, people want to go to the gym and start some new big thing just so they can feel better than they do, when it’s the other way around. If they feel better they’ll naturally want to do more with life. All they really have to do is start setting their day up the same way that most of the happy and successful ones do: by truly expecting it to be great and never giving up on that idea even in the face of challenges to that belief.

If you seek good fortune in your life you will find it. There’s no shortage of it. You simply have to watch for it. Why not start now?

peace. s

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