Conscious Soul

So you have this ego to feed. So your God-like perfect Soul heads down to the Supermarket of Consciousness and you grab your cart for the day. You start filling it up and you don’t stop until you check out and fall asleep. This place is important. How you shop here is what determines whether your life tastes good or not. With each thought you apply judgment to your experience. With each thought you shape your day with your choices and your judgments.

707 Relax and Succeed - Your emotions emergeNow your Mom and Dad had certain brands they preferred. These are like moods. People get locked on to them often for no good reason. But what’s especially weird is that—because their brain is looking for the brand they’re used to, every other brand is just kind of a wash of out-of-focus stuff. So you don’t really see anything you’re not actually looking to see. You’re not usually open when you shop. You’re on a mission. You’re not looking to place happiness in your cart. You’re trying to buy what you were taught to buy. You’re trying to accomplish something. And by doing that, you miss out on what’s there.

So your Soul has all of these choices. There’s the healthy unprocessed fruits and vegetables that produce feelings that are very pure and intense and rewarding. But there’s also the frozen aisle, where all manner of food-shaped goop is for sale. This kind of food/experience is a completely different kind of thing. It still has value. But if you did the frozen aisle too much you would start degrading your ability to make it to the store every day, so it would be a case of diminishing returns. Figuring out what to buy is easy if we’re paying attention to the feedback we get when we eat it.

707 Relax and Succeed - Actually I just woke upProcessed food has lots of thought put into it. But our Soul feels, it’s our ego that thinks. It analyses and speculates and calculates and compares. Our Soul just tastes. It’s not judging. It’s having a taste experience. It’s not buying a product with nutrients and a flavour. It’s chewing and tasting the food as a verb. It doesn’t have something to show someone, it has an intense, rewarding and empowering in-the-moment experience. Egos think about life. Souls eat it up.

So how do we become a wise shopper? Well, we stop just buying the labels our parents unintentionally taught us to and we start seeing the whole store. We stop buying things because of the ads and start buying them because we know how much we enjoy them. There’s no right or wrong choices in this store, there are only consequences to the choices. But your overall direction can always change the very next moment—with the very next choice you place in the shopping cart of your day. Stop choosing quickly and blindly and start recognizing these choices as your true salvation. You’re choosing anyway. Why not choose something more favourable to you?

 This kind of selfishness makes the world a better place. Enjoy whatever tastes you choose to enjoy. Of course there’s a balance point between healthy and taste and convenience but where that is for you is something only you can answer. But you can’t even find that truth within yourself until you learn to block out all of your conditioning.

707 Relax and Succeed - Your world is a living expressionIf you want an exercise in becoming more conscious, plan a bit more time on your next visit to the grocery store. Start looking at the areas between your stuff and you might be surprised at what you find. This is why I say there are separate realities. Because for some people their parents taught them to buy the brands you’ve ignored, and to them it’s yours that are invisible. You walk through two stores that look totally different and yet you’ll talk as though you’ve been to the same place. You can’t make the best choices if you’re not even seeing most of the choices to be made.

Get conscious. You choose all day. So start choosing more tasty, rewarding and nutritious experiences. Do that and you’ll be as healthy on the inside as you are on the outside.

Have a great day.

peas. s

Other Perspectives #72

706 OP Relax and Succeed - You can't change someone

This is a tricky one in that it’s almost an exact split between helpful and misleading. The general thrust of it is valuable but it’s aim is off in that it presumes a person can change someone else and that simply isn’t true. But to the quote’s point, even we will only change ourselves when we see more value in going a new direction than in the old one. So remember: you don’t succeed in life by getting people to change their actions through coercion, manipulation or force because as soon as those forces lift things start to go back to their nature. This applies to parenting, dating and employing people. Real and ongoing change only happens because the person themselves sees and values the world around them differently. Because of that shift in perspective they will initiate change themselves—not as a way of stopping one activity, but as a way of starting a new one. And sometimes they need to suffer a lot more than you before they’ll choose a new path and even then they might not pick the one you were hoping for. So don’t blame people for living their lives. Just live yours and then align yourself with those in your natural tribe of behaviour. That is your real family and for as long as you are a part of it you won’t be asked to change. But remember: everyone and everything inevitably changes, so it’ll only be your family for about seven to nine years and then you’ll have to find a new one or your life will get static. And when you do that you won’t do it because you perceived something wrong about your current life, it’ll be because you see something promising off in a new direction. So to stay healthy throughout your life it’s really as easy as staying vigilant for promising things.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose #72

705  FD Relax and Succeed - Joe Fig of Malcolm Morley

Today I’ll try to pull you away from any painful, worrisome or angry thoughts by focusing all on calm ideas. The first are these sculptures by Masayoshi Matsumoto which are primarily made of air:

The Amazing Balloon Creations of Masayoshi Matsumoto


I don’t know what it is about miniaturized things but every kid I know loves miniature houses, horses, cars and people. These incredibly detailed and accurate sculptures of famous artist’s studios will captivate your imagination endlessly. The detail is simply remarkable:

Artist’s Studio’s Recreated in Painstaking Detail by Artist Joe Fig


Next we’ll get behind a good Kickstarter idea that holds real promise. If you want a calmer life, consider this:

The Light Phone


And finally we will end with some dance. This very evocative piece by Brian Johnson features Canadian dancer and choreographer Crystal Pite. Enjoy:


Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Place your thoughts into your consciousness consciously. Maintain awareness. Do not get caught up in habitual thought loops. Come awake, come to life. Be.

peace. s

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Unintended Consequences

You wouldn’t think a loving family would torture their own mother but people do it all the time. And they’re not bad people in the slightest. But there are certain things that egos cannot see. And if someone is living in ego—which the vast majority of people are the vast majority of the time—then these things are inevitable.

704 Relax and Succeed - What's the differenceThere are countless examples of this and there’s undoubtedly times where in my efforts to care for my aging parents my passions lead me to unintentional disrespect them. A friend from another city recently told me of classic case of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

We start with an elderly but very fit woman who is the most positive and supportive and optimistic person my friend has ever met. Always happy, always discussing what she was grateful for—she was even positive about the impending loss of her eyesight. She was always talking about how fortunate her life has always been.

In possession of considerable wisdom and in anticipation of her impending blindness, the very positive woman moved into an appropriate care facility and downsized to her most precious possessions but little else. When her sight did finally go her family’s reaction was understandably fear. Before that she could sort of half-see her way around, but now they were worried she would fall. When they visited all they saw was sharp edges on every table and pointy things, and potential tripping hazards everywhere. And so despite her heartfelt pleas they removed all of her things and replaced them with things they had judged to be better for her.

704 Relax and Succeed - The way you do thingsOf course they had no idea what it was like to go blind. But this is an experienced, well-adjusted woman. There was little reason to suspect she’d approach blindness blindly. She had moved herself into the facility, she found it herself and she did all of her own packing. She had a sharp mind and she had known her new apartment for 18 months. She was comfortable finding her way around in it blind just as you’re okay wandering your house in the dark. You know where stuff is. Because she was blind didn’t mean she suddenly had dementia.

She told friends about the incredible sense of violation she experienced as a result of having her entire home and her most precious things all stolen away from her in a single day. All to be replaced by strange things to which she had no connection at all. It was one of the most painful experiences of her life. And remember, all of this is being done by her genuinely loving family who believe they are doing the best for her. Do you see how the world works? Why we can’t get rid of evil? Because it’s not evil or bad or wrong. It’s an action and a consequence and in this case the intention is not at all ending up where intended.

Feeling profoundly betrayed by her children and isolated in a strange dark place, she slipped into very negative thought habits and before long she was miserable and deeply depressed. She felt as though she had lost her family right before death. I bawled my eyes out when my friend told me that the lady had fallen down a set of stairs and struck her head. She’s in a coma. The prognosis is not good. It is a tragedy of epic proportions and all made of entirely loving and arguably logical decisions that went terribly awry.

704 Relax and Succeed - A great relationshipWe want to care for those older than us. We want to make sure they’re safe and secure and doing things that are good for them. But we cannot become their parents. We can’t start ordering them around or making decisions for them if they’re not mentally debilitated. We have to calm down and remember that after as much living as our parents have done they actually know a thing or two about most or all of what might work for them.

That family was just trying to keep their mother safe. Their intentions were good and it was possible to make sense of their decision. The only thing missing was the blessing of the person at the centre of it all. So respect all people. Don’t listen with an agenda. Listen with an open heart. You might not hear what you expect to hear, but what you do hear might lead you to both different conclusions and different behaviour. And that applies to everyone, not just our parents.

Now go be yourself and have a great day.

Love you all.

peace. s

Just Keep Swimming

You don’t want your life to be boring but you do want it to have some dynamics. After all, how good would Game of Thrones be without clashing those glorious highs against a few thunderous lows. We love it on TV, why not in life?

703 Relax and Succeed - The best use of imaginationThe reason is because you don’t see your life as a performance. You see it as a dress rehearsal and you’re constantly rewriting what you wish you would have done. That’s what it is to live in ego. That’s a fake world. You can’t change anything in your past. You’re looking at what your situation was and who you were. And both things are much more flexible than you’re giving them credit for.

What is your history? You think back on your golf league in a good mood and you remember all the great games and all the great people you got to play with all summer long. If you’re in a bad mood that same memory gets played back as being about the one guy who cheated in a mid-season tournament to steal the victory from you. The prize? A golf umbrella.

There is no way you’re that upset about a golf umbrella. It’s that you had this preconceived idea that you were playing by a set of “Gentlemen’s Rules” but that was an assumption on your part. Maybe that guy was the high school loser and he’s never won a single thing in his middle-aged life and so he broke his own normal ethic and stole from you a potential victory. Potential.

703 Relax and Succeed - Don't worry be happyYou being upset about something like that is fine for a short burst. Normal human relations require us to make certain assumptions about trust but, when someone breaks them we don’t want to be derailed from enjoying our lives for long. Then their actions are controlling our emotional experience of life. No way. You don’t want other people’s actions inciting your own unhealthy thinking.

Think of living in the moment as being like a fish swimming through a lake. The universe and you are so fluidly and completely a part of each other—even to the extent that it’s flowing inside your body and over your gills; a body that is made primarily of water. It’s water within water shaped like a fish. That is you. You move toward what you like and away from what you don’t.

But then you get advice and you go in directions that you’re told to go rather than where you sense you should go. You subjugate your own sense of yourself to an outsider. As good as a friend may be, and as much as they will know things about you that you do not, they still can’t ever know you well enough to make the decisions for you unless it’s a “No Not Resuscitate Order” in a hospital.

703 Relax and Succeed - Just keep swimmingYou can get thinking in such whirling circles that you fly off onto dry land where your mouth gapes for you to breathe as you drown in an ocean of air—and ocean of thought. Meanwhile the water is right next to the rock you’re laying on. The only difference is your thinking. Eventually that dies down and you recover your awareness, realize where you are, and then you can easily just flop this way then that way and you’re back and swimming free.

Don’t ground yourself with thought. You’re clumsy on land. Your ego is a flopping grounded fish. You are a sentient and compassionate human being. Stop handing your life off to your thinking and start by simply paying attention to your life before you. Don’t flop in thought, swim in existence.

I’d suggest starting right this awareness thing right away. It brings remarkable peace of mind. But to do that you have to stop leaving now—stop leaving the verb of swimming through the water to sit still, flopping around instead in the choking air of too much thought. Life is not thinking. Life is living. Less judgment. More action. Be a human who is fully being. It is such a privilege to get that chance.

Just swim. You’re awesome.

peace. s

The Roller Coaster

We’ve all had them. We’re all likely to have more too. There’s even a huge twist just before the ride ends. Everyone eventually comes to know those roller coaster periods of life where it seems like more is up in the air than is settled. Where gravity is iffy and our stomach is all over the place and one minute we’re squealing with glee and the next we’re plummeting into terror.

702 Relax and Succeed - Just because it's notWe can think we’re going nuts but we’re really not. We’re just becoming. Roller coasters are generally only created when we’re either initiating a change already—like when we initiate a divorce; or when we’ve avoided changing—like when we find out we’re getting divorced. If you look closely at your life you’ll see that you live in about 7-9 year cycles. It’s why Shakespeare talked about the seven ages of man.

Life is as good as we think it is, but there are certainly times where we’re tipped toward exciting, courageous choices that make us feel bigger and stronger. It’s great when we feel like that but—as much as it’s a great place to work from, I rarely get a new student in that State of Mind. People usually call me when they find themselves on the roller coaster unexpectedly.

They call thinking I’ll tell them how to get off it so they’re a bit surprised in sessions when instead we start turning the roller coaster into an event unto itself. The people that volunteered to get on are still going for the same wild ride—but they’re enthusiastic about it. And you can be too even if you’re not right now.

702 Relax and Succeed - Never let the sadness of your pastI’ve been waiting to be in the position myself so I could write about it with more impact. But of course those only happen every eight years or so, so it took until now before I found myself in one of those periods.

In my own case it was fortunate that, by the time a really big one happened to me—I already knew what to do.

Acceptance is when you don’t argue with life. Acceptance is quietly living in your circumstances with minimal comparisons or complaints. So now when these times hit I remember that I knew these would happen and so rather than lament the roller coaster’s existence I’m immediately trying to line up just right so I get a good seat.

If I’m going to ride this thing then I want to be at the front where I can basically guess where I’m going and the twists and turns and drops don’t seem anywhere near as dangerous. Instead you sense the design of the coaster a bit better. You can feel the engineering. You can tell that despite the loops and the twists and sudden drops (plus the fact that it drops you off right where it left you), you get the sense that it was engineered just for you. Yes you may get off at the same point you’ll get on, but it’ll be a different person getting off the ride. You’ll have grown in a major way. Knowing that is why I like the roller coaster. I understand what it means.

702 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you will never knowThis is where there are phrases like the second spouse gets what the first one paid for.  So in my case every woman after my wife was treated with more care and attention than I had previously had invested. I did a lot of loving things and I would have died for my wife, but that didn’t mean I was respecting her the way I should—and at our ages who knows, maybe she wasn’t respecting enough of how I was either, I don’t know. But I know that’s her journey not mine. I just know it made me better and I like who I became and I was sorry I couldn’t have been that guy for her.

If you jumped on the roller coaster you’ll love the huge chain-clinking ride up that first huge hill. You chose this ride and you’re determined to love it. And while it will scare you much more than you anticipated, and the excitement dies down over the course of the ride, you’ll still feel like you came out on top. For those who were pushed on—you can either close your eyes even tighter, hold on and end up being too much like the person you were, or you can open them up, accept the twists and turns as a part of the ride and then just relax as much as you can and you will become a new and better version of yourself.

702 Relax and Succeed - The reason peopleThe ride is inevitable but you have a lot of control over how it feels. But to do that you have to stay conscious of your thinking. Because the ride isn’t really made up of the tracks and where they go, they’re made up of how excited or how afraid you are of the twists and turns. It’s what happens inside your head that counts. So spend less time trying to manage the outside and invest a bit more time on your accounting of things. Life may be tumultuous but you can still have a lot of fun while it’s happening.

If you’re on a roller coaster right now just relax as much as you can. Yes you’ll get jostled. Yes you’ll scream and cry. Sometimes you’ll wish it was over but some parts you’ll love like crazy. Just don’t get on and bitch that it exists. If you have to ride it, ride it your way.

Have a great time. And a great day. All the best.

peace. s

Intentional Being

It’s actually pretty likely that the person reading this is not the person you’d actually planned to be when you grew up. I’m not sure it happens to some Masai guy on the Serengeti but if you live in the modern world then it’s very likely you’re going to end up accidentally being someone. I know. Weird eh? But that’s what people do. They wake up at some time in the next seven or eight years and go, what the…? Whose life is this?!

Let’s pick the art-forms of dance or acting because these are two of the toughest professional challenges there are. A writer can pay his bills by day and dedicate his nights to writing. Professional acting and professional dance understandably and invariably require full day-time and full night-time commitments, so those artists can hold temporary jobs but they can’t climb up any ladders because they’re always leaving when they get a gig. And they will always leave. Artists know their jobs allow them to more fully be themselves than most of life does and so they’ll pretty much die before they’ll give that up. In fact if they do give it up, something has died.

People need to survive. They finish school, they’ve got their school debt and likely a car payment and some insurance and a chunk of some rent somewhere. And eventually you want to date, maybe get married and think about maybe having enough resources to support a family. And all of a sudden your life vanishes and you replace it bit by bit with surviving. You just hope by the end of the month to be able to make ends meet. The ends. You stop living and you start making a living. It can get a bit desperate.

You’ll do your best, so you’ll work to become a better salesman, a better people-manager, a better task-manager, being more organized—whatever. You’ll start developing and competing as that instead of offering the world who you are. So you’ll be more interested in the best sales technique, which isn’t finding the person the best product, but rather it’s the most effective and quick way to get people’s money.

To have a more fulfilling life, instead of just getting their money we can seek what Robert Pirsig called the moment of Quality. The Now moment, when cannot care about the sale itself because there is no subject and object. There is no act and result. Everything is combined. All attention and focus is on the enthusiastic creation of anything original, whether it’s some brand new choreography or an oft-repeated tea ceremony. It all comes from us.

If we continue to care about Quality we won’t lose track of who we are. But if we want to satisfy our ego by trying to be good, or if we just seek to make money, then the blinders go on and invisibly we climb onto a kind of autopilot treadmill. That’s why everyone looks half-dead today. They’re not adding any real value to the world. And if it’s happening to you, what makes you notice it is the monotony and the futility. See? Even those things have advantages.

One day you wake up and realize, whose life is this? When did I become this person? It’s not like you had to get on Broadway or TV, you could have just done community theatre and enjoyed your major in school like a hobby. A lot of places in the world would think that quite sane. It’s less so now, but I like how European students were propelled to be who they wanted to be through their studies, whereas in North America it’s always felt more about training for what you’ll do. That’s a hard thing to define, but there’s something rich about pouring a bunch of education into yourself and not a career you might hate in a few years.

I’ve written it before—your life will go in roughly 7-9 year stretches. That’s about as long as I see people being anyone before they’ll eventually stumble into being someone else. There are those moments of becoming. It’s hard to remember those early ones—where you got your first real independence, or went into puberty, or shifted into young adulthood—but by 25 or 27 years old you’re getting a bit more conscious and you notice the change into actual699 Relax and Succeed - If you don't build adulthood (which is about when your brain stops growing—no joke intended).

So one of the people you will become is a person with a job trying to stay ahead. Not get ahead in many cases. Just keep the wolves at the door for another 30 days. Some people watched their parents resign themselves to that too, but that’s like handing over your life to slavery. Your work day is 50% of your waking life. If you can’t turn it into something meaningful then you’re surrendering way too much.

Fulfill yourself. Change jobs. Create your own value-based company. Or if that feels impossible at least go to your job as a salesman invigorated by the standing ovation you got last night in your community theatre production. Start a dance class for the disabled where you work as an orderly. Teach singing to poor kids at the school where you’re the custodian. There are a lot of ways to be the thing you imagined in university. It doesn’t have to be your work. It can be a big and nourishing part of your life though. We have to stop dividing those two things up as though they’re different. They’re all you being you.

There was wisdom in your youth. Before you were told about responsibilities and obligations etc., you were free. You had ideas about how you would expand the world, not fit into it. What were those dreams? And is some aspect of them still alive? Do you still want to write that novel? Do you still want 699 Relax and Succeed - If you aren't making a differenceto learn to build a computer, or ride a unicycle, or play on the sports teams you had dreaded as a kid? Then do it. Because any pain you feel—any boredom or frustration or lost-ness all stems from you doing and not being. Shakespeare talked about the seven ages of man, and he also said “To be or not to be,” not “To do or not to do.”

Don’t trade your life for money. Don’t do work you can’t invest in. Do things that allow you to genuinely enjoy your day, even if that’s via your customers and co-workers versus the work itself. Because as long as a lot of your days are spent joyfully creating worthwhile things or experiences, then you will continue to expand as is your nature.

Don’t be someone accidentally. Be intentional about your life. Choose your life, choose how to act and choose to be okay with however you feel. Those are all trickier than they sound, but they are all also ultimately answers that are hard to find precisely because they’re so easy and obvious.

Don’t complicate things. Just be yourself. That would be perfect. And have yourself a stupendous day.

peace. s

I’ve posted it on a past Friday Dose but despite some of the language it’s just too appropriate not to re-post, so here’s Joe Rogan’s video The Society Trap. I recommend taking the time to take a look: