Michelle’s Understanding

This is the second part of a post started yesterday.
Michelle was already busy working when Alex got into the office. Knowing she was having a freakout the day before, Alex had dropped by to see how she was today. “You’re in early!”

“As you know, there is too much to do.”

“I cancelled my yoga tonight. Thank goodness this only happens once in awhile.”

“Oh, hey, I tried your trick yesterday but it drove me crazy.”

“What drove you crazy?”

“Thinking about how this cohesive whole–this potentially amazing project–got reduced to little pieces by someone’s impatience.”

“Not impatience, aggressiveness. We don’t call an early bird impatient. He just wants the worm more.”

“Yes. She was a worm and she dug us right into the ground.”

Eee. Alex isn’t sure if clarification is a good idea. “Uh… in that analogy our boss is the bird, not the worm.”

“What. Ever. Can’t I just hate her?”

“Sure. I’ll save you some time. I’ll just put some poison in a bottle with her name on it.”

Michelle eyerolls. “It did not work. My thoughts were bouncing all over the place.”

“Okay, first off that’s not what I said I did. FedEx does not load a truck to go to the West End and then the North Side and then the South Side, and then back to the North Side and then back to the South SIde”

“Okay I get it.”

“Half their day is spent between where they really need to be. I didn’t mean spend all of your time between everything. Our fluid department was compressed by time and responsibility into a gas where all the molecules now have space between them. You just find the most important molecule and handle it. Then find the next most important and handle it. But yeah, bouncing between them and never actually settling in? That feels awful when I do it.”

“Well it felt awful yesterday.”

“At least that should keep you from doing it again today.” Michelle looks at her lamely. “Sorry.”

Michelle sits back in her chair and regards her friend. It’s a statement, not a question: “So instead of bouncing between all of these worries I pick the most important one and just deal with it.”

“That’s what I do, yes.”

“And that’ll make me feel better?”

“Why wouldn’t you  feel okay if you did that?”

“Because all of that stuff still needs to be done.”

“That’s just you drifting between different responsibilities with your thoughts. That’s the thing you said you wouldn’t do.”

“That’s it?”

Alex almost feels bad. As though she’s really let Michelle down. “Yeah.”

“So these responsibilities are just… ideas, and me thinking about one, then the other, then another–that is what I’m doing that you’re not? You’re just not drifting between the gaps? You’re just staying on your molecule? And then you go molecule to molecule. None of the worrying…” Michelle started to seem buoyed by the idea. “Hmmm.”

Alex looked like she’s about to say something, but when she looked at Michelle something subtle had changed. There was now a certainty to her, as though Michelle’s posture itself is some kind of highly balanced yoga movement. Her voice sounds less uncertain and more confident the longer her realisation lasted. It seemed that she has gotten what she wanted the day before. So Alex just stepped back and grabbed her briefcase. “Have a great day Michelle.”

Michelle looked up, looking entirely unperturbed. “Thanks Alex. You too. Why don’t you come over for dinner on next week, when this haze has all blown past?”

“That sounds good Michelle. That sounds really good.”

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.

MoK: Patience as Kindness

Thank you for bearing with my late posts while I traverse a few challenging days on the family health front. Fortunately, today’s act in the March of Kindness is one that suits your willingness to wait perfectly. Patience is all too often invisible when it should be seen as the loving act of kindness that it truly is.

From letting little passive aggressive statements go by unchallenged, to taking care of something that was someone else’s duty, we all express a lot of quiet patience each day. The problem is that we often only note our behaviour when it feels beneath us, meaning you’ll notice the few times you’re impatient far more than the times you are patient.

Even knowing that everyday life requires all kinds of patience, it is nevertheless a kind and generous act, and so adding one more act of conscious patience can do nothing but good for all involved.

Today your March of Kindness assignment is simple: Keep your awareness up, and find just one opportunity today where you feel an impulse to offer a suggestion or you feel you’re going to react in an impatient way, and then divert that impulse into non-action. Let your action be stillness.

Interestingly, the time we choose to show extra patience might coincide perfectly with when a person really needed something to go well or they’d snap. We all know how good it feels when someone shows us patience when we know we didn’t act in a way that encouraged it. We might as well create more opportunities for those things to happen.

Make your own displays of patience more conscious, and find a way to add just one more act of patient kindness to today and you will have made the world better with your presence. Thank you for that. And thank you for your patience in receiving these last few posts. Enjoy your day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Angry Souls

235 Relax and Succeed - If you are thinking

Here’s the deal: no matter how we live it, life will absolutely have the duality of Yin and Yang. Just as every coin has two sides, hot weather means there is cold weather, light means there is dark, and if there are things we enjoy then there are things we won’t enjoy. This is the essential nature of existence.

The universe represents everything, and we are playing out an aspect of that infiniteness. That role will certainly take us into both sides of existence. And if that is the case, then we can see that it’s possible to take what’s happening to us personally. We are not in control, we are more actors on the universe’s stage.

Those aren’t our problems, they are aspects of the universe’s script and we’re merely the ones playing that scene out. We simply shouldn’t take our identity or beliefs very seriously. We are enacting them, but they are not us. That’s why the real us can be at odds with our own actions.

We can think this is a complex, deep, foreign idea but it’s not. We encounter it all the time. Whether we choose to attempt to remember them or not, everyone dreams because that’s how our brain builds the ideas it uses to navigate the world.

In our dreams we are totally okay with being disappointed, or scared, or hurt because we wake up and write the feelings off as a dream. The question then is, why don’t we do that with the same feelings when we’re awake? We’ve already proven to ourselves that we can.

235 Relax and Succeed - Life is 10%
The difference will be that we believe we were just dreaming, whereas you call the other experiences you have: reality. But fear is fear. Joy is joy. The border between dreaming and reality is pretty thin. The difference is in what we believe. Ideas that are too far removed from our belief system simply get called crazy. Those are other people’s reality-dreams that are too far removed from our own.

For instance, there were many people who looked at the world and thought it certainly appeared flat so they thought the people who said it was round were crazy. That’s how belief works, whether we’re awake or asleep. Despite all of the evidence the contrary, people today prove that you can still earnestly believe it’s flat, and that the ’rounders’ are crazy.

There are two primary ways to navigate moving through this universe. The first is to self-reinforce your own beliefs and rigidly call them reality. From that perspective you will be disappointed or angry or upset by anyone who chooses not to share your beliefs regarding your priorities.

These people are easy to spot—they’re always angry or upset about something. They’ve got hundreds of ways for other people to be wrong, or immoral, or lacking in character. If they’re divorced, rather than their ex’s being good people that they couldn’t make it work with, they’ll be idiots or bitches or jerks or losers.

In essence, these people’s rigidness about what constitutes proper behaviour is what keeps them perpetually tense and angry and it’s why they can’t form the sort of strong bonds that real unconditional love creates.

235 Relax and Succeed - 7 Billion people experience

Another way to be is; open and flexible regarding what you feel reality is. Then very little is outside of the boundaries of acceptability to you. If a dog barks and wakes you up, you accept that dogs bark, you accept that not everyone was raised to learn to teach their dog not to bark very early in the morning, and you accept that the event has already happened.

With a healthy perspective, the person can then wake up and go about their day under the assumption that something good will happen—and maybe even because they’re up earlier than they planned. They will find that good thing simply because they are looking for it. The duality is always there, it’s simply a matter of which side of the coin you choose to look at.

That other person is angry about the dog. The dog shouldn’t bark. That person in their past should have taught it differently. Therefore the dog is pissing the person off, and the owner is labelled an idiot. Meanwhile the healthy person is up having a tea or coffee, enjoying the day because that’s their mindset.

Without all of those rules and lines in their head, they are free to take in and absorb the magnificence of creation because that is what they are looking to find, just as the angry person was looking for reasons to think the thoughts that will dose them with the chemistry for their addictions: disappointment, frustration and anger.

That’s also why the angry person will still be talking or thinking angrily about being woken up by the dog even hours or days later. They’re like pushers, using their amygdala to dose their brain with angry chemistry.

Learn from angry people. Watch how much they are puppeted around by events in their lives. If it rains on their camping weekend it rained on them. If someone runs a red light, then they hit them. It’s as though the person who did the hitting was literally waiting for a specific driver to run into.

If they have a terrible new boss, then the boss is being a jerk to them rather than just being someone who is impacting everyone as they learn their new job . Their ex’s are all terrible people, and any ex-friend too. And they will have a lot of ex-friends, because with all of those rules and lines about what is acceptable and unacceptable it’s virtually impossible for them not to be let down.

235 Relax and Succeed - To all the people

Essentially, an angry person thinks every unmet expectation is a failure of the world’s, whereas a healthy person sees an unmet expectation as a mistake on the part of themselves, the thinker. Had they never used their power of thought to build that expectation then they couldn’t possibly be let down by it not happening.

Angry people are teachers. Far from bothering us, we should watch them intently. We should try to genuinely understand how they come into so much conflict and anger. Why are they always frustrated and disappointed? (Except in those cases where things are, by fluke, going exactly the way they want.) Witness the connection between their ugly feelings and their rigid expectations.

We can know ourselves by knowing them. Because in the end, we’re using the same tool to build our realities, and we’re only marginally better because we by chance got healthier programming. But we’re generally just as blind to enlightenment as they are.

Let’s make good from bad and use their extreme qualities to help us see exactly how they come into such a remarkable amount of conflict both inside and out. This not only increases our emotional skill set, but it also increases our empathy for the suffering of angry people.

Let us consider it a spiritual exercise to stop being bothered by angry or sad people. Instead let us learn from them. As the Dalai Lama has said many times, they are our very best teachers and we should be grateful for the lessons they so painfully deliver to us at such a high cost to themselves.

So with thanks to them, let’s all go out and enjoy our day, and let’s do it by choice. 😉

peace. s