Intentional Courage

1248 Relax and Succeed - Bethany Hamilton professional surferThis is Bethany Hamilton. You might recognise her. She was thirteen years old when a fourteen foot tiger shark took her left arm while she was surfing with her best friend in Kauai. Beautiful place, best friend, a favourite activity…it was all a dream come true. Even after the shark attack, Bethany used her sense of intention to adjust her dreams and then she made those true.

Bethany was an active young woman who loved surfing and spending time in nature. Today Bethany is an active young championship surfer who loves to spend time in nature with her husband and two children. Note that losing her arm did not change who Bethany is. She was always determined to live deeply and fully and the shark only intensified that drive.

Within two months of losing her arm she was back in the water and not long after that she was competing. The arm didn’t stop her from meeting a man, the fact that it was missing attracted a particularly strong and loving man. She’s written a book, had a film made about her, she’s started a charity, works with many others, and she’s been on countless television programs for her charity work promoting positive mental attitudes, faith and a general outlook of abundance.

1248 Relax and Succeed - Just because today is a terrible dayMany people fall asleep within their own lives and they sleep most of the way through living them. Generally only illness or divorce or the loss of a job or some other tragedy will temporarily wake the person up, but they’ll rarely account for the fact that they feel more alive when they’re struggling to survive than when they are stultified into not even noticing their life is ticking by.

Bethany loses an important limb to a shark and shortly thereafter she’s back in the water, competing on a surfboard, married and pregnant. That’s a lot of belief in a bright future and note it kicked in almost immediately after the injury. In fact, she faced the injury with the same positive attitude she faced the rest of life with.

You can argue for your weariness. We all do it for periods and you can bet she did too. But it’s how much time we spend in which mental states that decide how much control we can maintain throughout our lives. If we see the world as fatalistic and ourselves as unlucky then we have doomed ourselves with a literal intention to have a bad life. But we can use that same force of intention to create a full life like Bethany’s.

1248 Relax and Succeed - ForwardBetween toiling in oblivion and struggling for equality, most people focus on sadness over who they were rather than seizing the opportunities that emerge from who they now are. Bethany’s positivity route is actually the easier and more enjoyable to live, but to get it you must be positive even when the indications urge you to feed a darker aspect of yourself. This is where Bethany takes control and makes her life happen, rather than idly watching it happen and then commenting to herself in her ego, after the fact. A good life is created by action. A bad one by inaction.

Don’t use Bethany’s example to beat yourself up for perceived shortcomings because that is not what Bethany would do. She would not account for what is missing, she would account for what is there. She could have been just another anonymous woman with a missing arm who lead a sad life because of a tragic accident. Or, she could become who she’s been; a rare person who’s both been attacked by a shark and who has survived. Add her positivity on top of that and now she’s so rare that you can see why she can make a living on TV and by doing public speaking on the value of faith and a belief that the universe is working with you and not against you.

Every day you choose a path. Sometimes the choice is conscious, sometimes not. But for our lives to improve, those choices must not only be made more conscious, they must be made with the sort of courage that allows us to step outside of a common narrative so that we can instead continue to be ourselves even in the wake of whatever tragedies we face. None of us are the results of what has happens to us. All of us are the result of how we chose to face what happens to us. Get active. Live consciously. It’s the only way to find your actual life.

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.

The Friday Dose #73

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 1

Today’s Dose is about the remarkable, consistent and unconditional love of animals. Our pets love us in such a pure way. They know everything about us and yet if we’re not conscious enough to do anything about it, they still let us get away with fair amounts of neglect and they will still meet us with love.

Today your mental distraction starts with the brilliant mind and eye of a German photographer who specializes in pets, and in particular Dog photos that could be featured in ways that communicate their personalities. Her work is delightful, it’s gorgeous and it’s very likely to make you happy. Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Elke Vogelsang and her models:

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 2

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 3

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 4

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 5

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 6

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 7

*

710 FD Relax and Succeed - Elke Voglesang 8

Elke Vogelsang Photography

*

And after that bit of lightness we will proceed on to an absolutely beautiful film that will has a great lesson for all of us in life. It’ll make you cry in that way we all love doing, where you feel better afterwards–even you tough guys out there. This is a story narrated by Denali, about his life with cancer, and the living he did with his best friend, Ben Moon. I highly recommend it:

Thanks everyone. If anyone’s interested in any more dog material, here’s the link to my last day with my beloved dog Mo: Mo-ments

Have a great weekend everyone. Love who’s present.

peace and love. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

Wave Energy

Okay, this one’s simple, but it can be tricky to grasp at first. Not difficult—tricky. It would be unreasonable to call tying your shoes difficult but—when you’re first learning—it is tricky. Okay. Ready?

547 Relax and Succeed - Feelings are much like wavesWaves don’t push beach balls towards the shore because the ball is sitting on the water, not on a wave. The weight of the water versus the lightness of the beach ball causes the beach ball to float on the substance that is water. That is how they interact. In this metaphor, the reality of you the ball, and the external reality of the water, are where the two realities come to exist by their very meeting. But just like with the beach, don’t mistake the water for the wave.

The water is neutral. It’s the energy in the wave that acts up0n the water. The energy and frequency will dictate the wave, not the water. Meaning you are better to invest your life in paying attention to the frequency, magnitude and speed of the wave than you are to the temperature or look of the water. To turn the metaphor around, you’re better to invest your life paying attention to the energy behind your thoughts, than you to pay attention to external events. The events, like the water, will be dictated by the energy that’s put into that reality by your thoughts.

You know this energy as your feelings or emotions. These are feelings you know well, and yet you’ve spent almost no time truly considering their origins. Someone can insult you, but if you don’t respect them, then the insult means nothing. Another person can insult you, but if you do respect them, then you will choose to believe that idea by thinking it about yourself, and that act will lead you to suffer. Whatever thought you have generates a kind of energy that creates the wave that either raises or lowers your ball.

547 Relax and Succeed - What a liberationYour sense of being comes from your thinking about the world. You can be in intake mode where you are aware, or output mode where you are creating an ego by having a thought-conversation with yourself. If you think angry or busy or worried ego-thoughts, then you will feel angry, tired and afraid. But if you’re in intake mode, you’ll feel appreciation in some form.

Don’t get caught up in battling with the water. Focus on the wave. Feel its energy. And steer yourself accordingly. If one part of the wave is unpleasant, then shift the weight of your thinking onto something more positive and/or enriching. Because there are no perfect waves. There are just waves that get surfed almost perfectly.

Stop treating your egocentric narrative like it’s anyone else’s reality. Those thought-waves are yours and yours alone. Only you feel them. You find reality when you’re not-thinking. When you are open and aware. Then you’re available to feel the universe. You can ride the energy of an experience much like you can a wave. You just have to remember to put more of your weight on catching the flow of the most enriching experiences available. Feel the energy beneath you. You are a part of it. Pay attention. 😉

peace. s