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

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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:

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Elke Vogelsang Photography

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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

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Wave Energy

 

547 Relax and Succeed - Feelings are much like waves

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?

Waves don’t push beach balls towards the shore because the ball is sitting on the water, it’s not riding 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 our metaphor, the reality of us is represented by the ball, and the external reality we live within is the water. Our reality comes into being when the two realities come together. And that’s why it is critical that we learn not to mistake the wave for the water.

The water itself is neutral, much like our consciousness. If there are waves it is due to the energy that acts upon the water. The amount of energy and its frequency will dictate the shape of the wave.

This means we are better to invest your life in paying attention to the frequency, magnitude and speed of the wave than we are to focus on the temperature or look of the water.

To turn the metaphor around, we’re better to invest our life in learning to pay more attention to the energy behind our thoughts than to pay attention to external events. The events, like the water, will be still be dictated by the energy that’s put into that reality by our thoughts. We shape the water with our thinking. Rough seas; troubled thinking, and dead calm achieves little movement.

We all start off perceiving this energy as our feelings or emotions. These are feelings we know well, and yet most of us spend almost no time truly considering their origins.

Someone can insult us, but if we don’t respect them then the insult means nothing. Another person can insult us, and if we have bestowed respect upon them, then we will choose to believe their idea by thinking it about ourselves. It will become our idea, and by comparing it to current self, we lead ourselves to suffer. This is how our ball moves.

Whatever thought we have generates a kind of energy in the world around us, and that energy creates the wave that either raises or lowers our ball. Thoughts that reduce us are like troughs, and thoughts that energize is are like the crests.

547 Relax and Succeed - What a liberationOur sense of being comes from our thinking about the world. We can be in intake mode where we are aware; or we can be in output mode where you are busy using our minds to create an ego by having a thought-conversations with ourselves. We make our own waves.

If we think angry or busy or worried ego-thoughts, then we will feel angry, tired and afraid. But if we’re in intake mode, then we have little choice but to feel appreciation in some form. It’s very natural once we get comfortable in that quiet place.

The world is the world, let’s not get caught up in battling with the water. We need to focus on the wave. We need to feel its energy and to steer ourselves accordingly. If one part of the wave is unpleasant, then we can shift the weight of our thinking onto something that balances us a little more. Because there are no perfect waves. There are just waves that get surfed almost perfectly.

We all need to stop treating our egocentric narratives like they are anyone else’s reality. Those thought-waves are ours and ours alone, people are busy sailing their own seas of thought.

Only when we learn to feel our thoughts more actively will we also find a version of reality where we’re not-thinking. That is when we are truly open and aware. That is when all we are is available to feel the universe.

We’ve all felt it. New babies, big sunsets, the face of someone you love. These are such wondrous experiences precisely because they are too big for our minds to make personal. Some of life is that, and other parts of life involve us fighting the rough water of a busy mind. But through either, our role is the same.

We must not battle the water itself. Our energy should be focused on riding and creating the energy of any experience much like a wave. This is how we play our role in the universe. In a world of roiling currents of being, we are an integral part of All. We should that; we should feel the energy beneath and within us. We are a part of it that energy, and it deserves our attention.

peace. s