Your Local Identity

What did yesterday’s meditation teach you that you didn’t know about yourself? Because that awareness is important: meditation is a study, and it should ultimately be a disassembly of the self.

875 Relax and Succeed - Within each of usWe’ll continue today from how you were affected by your nation and on to how your region and city and daily life function and how that impacts your daily thinking. It also starts to hint at the things you chose in life, like where you go and why. And that hints at who you’ve already become.

Your nation is an identity you experience rarely, whereas you live inside the culture and society of your area every day. There will a tone there. Regardless of what government wins, the majority of the people’s politics will tilt one direction or another. They’ll have certain beliefs and push certain ideals. What is your area known for and how do you fit into that identity? Are you a cheerleader or critic? Why?

If you grew up somewhere else then what you miss and what you wouldn’t go back for will tell you a lot. If you’re in your home town location will have been affected more subtly.

To know yourself through where you live just look at what is on your walls.  If there’s lots of pictures of sports stars or sexy girls but none of your children then that says something. If you’re married but your bedroom is decorated in a way that decidedly tilts toward the masculine or the feminine, that says something. Are you extremely neat and orderly or are you comfortable being scattered? This is all useful info regarding clear indicators of how you’ll react to people and situations. What you do, where you go and what you purchase is why Google can predict you.

875 Relax and Succeed - A man is notWhat do you keep as mementos? What do these say about you? What videos do you keep? What websites to you bookmark? What music do you listen to and why?

Also look at the places you like to go. What do they have in common? Yes, people aren’t usually too dull–they’ll have some outliers in their calendar, but for the most part people like the same restaurants etc. for the atmosphere and staff. So what is the atmosphere at your favourite places? What is it that these things conjure for you? Are you trying to look grown up and business-like or like a laissez-faire hipster bohemian…?

Stores spend a lot of time on their branding. Do you value your hard work and then work hard to make sure your money is going as far as it can, or do you value free time and keep a job that keeps you flexible over maximizing income? Each ownership group will usually have three stores in each mall that all progressively increase in price and status. Which one is yours and why?

875 Relax and Succeed - How you do anything

How do you drive in your city? Do you leave early and avoid rushes and if you have to wait once you’re there that’s okay, or are you perpetually scanning for a faster route even if that’s by seconds? That’s two very different people and you could answer a lot of questions about them and get them right from just that bit of information. So what do people really conclude about you and why?

Look more closely at where you live. Do you have the littlest house in a posh neighbourhood? Or maybe it’s the nicest or the neatest place in a rougher one. Maybe you chose your house for security reasons. Maybe privacy. Maybe view. Maybe schools. What was your ego secretly responding to when you chose that house? Even if you didn’t choose it you can still known what you like and don’t like about it.

Learn these things, add them to yesterday’s meditation and you should be learning a lot of things you didn’t know about yourselves. I appreciate a lot of you writing to tell me what you’ve learned–isn’t it shocking what we don’t know about ourselves? Feel free to put that stuff in the comments section if it’s easier.

Stay aware. Have a great day, discover more about yourself, make obvious use of that new knowledge and then tomorrow we’ll delve into one of the most important things that you ever had impact you. Enjoy your days!

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.

Elements of Ego

874 Relax and Succeed - Tree of lifeThere will be ideas within you that you will mistake or misunderstand as being you. These are those central foundations on which your values rest. Maybe it’s fairness, maybe it’s fighting for underdogs, maybe it’s being a pacifist or a rescuing cop or soldier. Whatever that identity is it will have its advantages and disadvantages and those will adjust as the times around you do.

Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak suddenly found they were no longer nerdy computer geniuses–instead the times had turned them into some of the wealthiest and most powerful people anywhere. Suddenly their geeky knowledge was very important to all of us. Yet give us one giant solar storm that wipes out any electronics on Earth and they suddenly might find themselves as terrible farmers and hunters in need of a tremendous amount of favours.

There is no way to be a permanent success. Even the concept of success is entirely open to interpretation. A business manager might idolize the abstract brilliance of a clever banker or accountant and yet that same person could be seen as a dangerous villain by a large percentage of the same nation. There are no real crooks–there are only people who do not feel that the same rules that apply to others apply to them. Rules live in our head. So does the Law, but the law has muscle that can lock you behind bars if it disagrees with your thinking (although it still has zero power to change that thinking.)

874 Relax and Succeed - A society is definedSociety is essentially a set of rules. How to drive, talk, act, eat, meet, leave etc. etc. Societies are fictitious guidelines about how we will all interact. Politeness, honesty, kindness, fairness etc. etc. are all agreements we’re making about how we’ll act in the future. But as I’ve discussed before, you’re only ever alive now so your promises regarding the future will rely more on your sense of duty to your ego than anything else.

The aggressiveness of your defence of yourself will depend on your dedication to your belief of the idea of you. The more certainty you require in life the more pain you will endure. Everyone likes to think of themselves as open-minded but only the most peaceful people truly are. You will find hints at your need for this kind of stability just by looking closely at yourself.

Societies are formed by each culture based on what it collectively values most–hence the law, mathematics, and sciences will be shared by developed societies around the world (e.g. The Rule of Law). At the same time some customs will be exclusively national, or even quasi-continental like bowing in Asia to illustrate status or shaking hands in the countries that used to carry swords.

874 Relax and Succeed - The only limitationsCollective cultures can clash directly with the societies they try and function in. For instance, most of the hyper-localized community of Wall Street was fine with breaking society’s rules as long as most people were making lots of material gains, and no one really even looked until their beliefs clashed too much with the average person’s ability to live in alignment with them.

Start to know who you are by finding the broad strokes. You grew up in a few key societies: your times, your nation, your region, your city, your neighbourhood and even your family. Let’s start with the times and your nation: what is the current zeitgeist (the spirit of the times) of the Earth? What is the current zeitgeist of your nation? What’s first? For instance, the times currently include more fear than previously, but some nations will change their values to suit their fears and others feel that values set in calmer times should be trusted and that it’s fears that must be controlled. Where do you live and what is that place’s priorities?

Find out how you see yourself in the largest possible sense. Even two similar people can have quite different views on how to act upon their beliefs based on the nation they live in. So they might tilt toward the collective like Japan or they can tilt toward the individualism of the US, but in both places there will be people who personally tilt every direction. Societies are like averages.

874 Relax and Succeed - When the winds of change blowStereotypes simply emerge from the most common collective choices and while they’re potentially at the core of every war they can also be relatively useful tools. As always, it depends on how they’re used. So what are the spirit of your times? What is your nation famous for and do you agree with that or despise it?

Find yourself. Learn what these silent preferences are. Because they are far more powerful than can imagine. They can literally change the taste of food, they can create words other cultures don’t have or need, and they will certainly choose different sorts of governments and wars.

Start this week with your nation. Know yourself as a simple exercise in seeing how subtly your choices have been shaped in a way where you believe them to be yours when in fact they were simply what was taught and modeled to you. Find yourself. We’ll hone that as the week progresses. This is an important exercise. Have a great day everyone!

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.

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.