MoK: The Rarest Kindness

By this point we will all have contributed a lot of positivity to the world through our actions in the March of Kindness. Congratulations. Collectively we’ve done a lot. Now it’s time we remembered to include ourselves in that process.

Just as everyone around us benefits equally from kindness, we do too, and in this often fast-paced world too many of us are either so focused on what we’re doing, or we’re too focused on caring for others, to have the time or energy left to care for ourselves.

The greatest kindness anyone can pay to anyone is simply to be present. These are those times when the person feels seen or heard or understood or that a strong connection exists. But most of us have a much better sense of when that’s happening with other people than with ourselves.

When we sense conflict with others we feel an automatic impulse to repair it because in the end, the deepest part of us knows we need each other. This brings the other person or people into focus our awareness and our impulse is to act. Unfortunately, when we have conflict within ourselves we attempt to resolve the conflict by trying to “improve” rather than by making a stronger connection.

You know that improvement feeling. That’s those times where you talk to yourself critically and talk about what you should have done or should do. You spend a painfully large percentage of your life doing that and it’s all for naught. You don’t get better by “improving” yourself, you expand by being present with the world and acting on your nature. When you help others is a great example of that. So today it’s time to shine that same light upon ourselves.

Your act today in the March of Kindness is very simple. Immediately after reading this (or as soon as you have at least 10 full minutes to focus on it), take about five to ten deep breaths. Fill your lungs. Oxygenate your mind and body. Give it part of the fuel that will power your perception.

First, look at your life. Not in that critical, judgmental way you usually do, but look at yourself like you would view a friend or relative you love a great deal. Now imagine someone loving you the same way you love that friend. Imagine that friend just got back from a year away and they’d been in a monastery or something–you couldn’t talk.

Now imagine that they’ve just heard about what’s been going–and I mean literally do this, not brush your way through it quickly like it’s silly. Caring for yourself is not silly. Remember, this friend just heard about your life and they love you. This person that loves you comes back from the monastery all peaceful and caring. They don’t have a lot of money available and they understand you have some real responsibilities, but they know and love you. What act of kindness do they suggest?

Maybe it’s simple–they take you out for your favourite meal. Maybe it’s that they convince you to skip the gym to see a beloved childhood movie. Maybe it’s extra sleep. Maybe they take you for a walk and they discuss with you all of your good times, all of your achievements, all the times you felt proud of yourself. Wouldn’t that be different from all of that self-criticism!

Or here’s a a couple rare ones: Say no to someone when you usually wouldn’t. Or here’s the most challenging one of all. They help you with something. But you’re thinking, Scott, there’s no actual friend. This is me and me. I get it. What I mean is that you find something you need help with and you actually ask for the help you never ask for. Now there’s a rare one.

That’s it. Easy. Be a present open, aware and loving friend to you. But you have to take this seriously. Do you get it? This one’s very important. You can’t shortcut it, cheat it, downplay it or dismiss it–this friend loves you and they’re wise. Take what they suggest you do and then do it. You’re worth that. I’m absolutely certain of it. Do it. I love you.

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.

Meditating on Awareness

Okay, so far we’ve done meditations on gratitude, judgment and our physical selves. Now we going to make you aware of where you non-physical self touches your physical self. This is where your thoughts become your biology and your biology becomes your emotional day.

Where we have to start is in finding your dominant emotion and where it sits. So essentially we’re looking for the end of the equation. After you’ve thought something and your system talks to your hypothalamus and you get a complex chemical dump that rushes through your body and in you it tends to go…. where?

Once you slow your thinking down it will be easier to find these sensations but right now we’re just getting you back in touch with yourself so you can start to take control yoverself–over your determination or your eating or your anxiety etc. If you’re over 30 you’re starting to develop a face from your common chemistry. Meaning you think a certain type of thought so commonly that the emotion associated with it is starting to form how your face naturally sits.

Many people easily know their dominant emotions but if you don’t then your face will be a clue. Figure out if you spend more time worried, angry, hurt, anxious, sad, superior, curious, happy or loving. If you look mostly loving then you probably don’t need to read this blog but that’s very low odds–I can go years without seeing a new person who truly spends most of their time loving.

856 Relax and Succeed - Any fool can run toward the lightAfter we have the emotion we want to know where it goes. Of course it goes to your face and everywhere else, but where’s it sit. Do worry and it tightens your gut? Do you get angry and your chest tightens? Are you sad and your shoulders are heavy and your head is down? How about anxious and something’s always twitching? Spend a day homing in on yours.

Once you have that you have your most obvious signaling system. Once you know that your nervousness sits in your gut you can be at your desk and think to yourself, “Oh my God I have that new client this afternoon. I hate new clients. I always do something awkward and look dumb in front of all these new people who are just meeting me… ugh.” And then maybe you touch your stomach or reach for your antacid. Boom. There’s your clue.

So let’s say it’s anxiety in the stomach. Well–that just used to be it. You’d feel that and then you’d request more of that chemistry by continuing that anxious narrative about the job and the worries and predictions of how it will go and what they will think. Truly wildly speculative stuff that only seems valid because you only pay attention to your life in ways that self-reinforce these ideas. So you’ll only notice when you’re anxious so it’ll seem like you’re always anxious which will validate the narratives you’re exchanging.

856 Relax and Succeed - Keep up the good workRemember, in the end this is all just you volunteering to talk to yourself. Now that we’ve found the result of the common type of conversation, rather than continue on to a chain reaction of other thoughts you can use this blog as a signpost to say–hey wait a second: is this emotion valid? In many cases it won’t be.

The question is, what can you do about that? How does that help? That’s what we’ll cover tomorrow. Today’s about finding that emotion and where it sits. Do that and you are progressing just fine young grasshopper. 😉

You guys have a fantastic day getting more in touch and closer to your natural health. I look forward to the next step tomorrow. It’s a big one.

peace. s
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

You Feel The Love You Give

70a Relax and Succeed - Be curious not judgmentalI’ve lead an extremely fortunate life. Because of the accident I had when I was young I had the chance to learn that life in and of itself has tremendous value. And because that brain injury caused kids to relentlessly tease me in grade one, I gave up caring what other people thought of me very early on. I noticed that their opinions weren’t influenced much by my actions, so it was exposed as being largely pointless to try to change someone else’s mind.

That meant that I wasn’t spending much time contemplating the views others had of me, I was more interested in the world. After my accident, my experience in the hospital taught me that all any human being truly wanted was more contentment and joy, and less pain and suffering. Because of that lesson, I didn’t spend my life pursuing anything but happiness.

Because I wasn’t motivated to try to do things to change others views of me all that often (I certainly did sometimes), I primarily focused on the interests that generated happiness the most easily. My friends would tell you I’m perpetually fascinated. I can tell you weird facts about all kinds of strange things. I’m not into this or that. I’m into everything.

70 Relax and Succeed - Stop thinkingUnbeknowst to me, it was a very healthy thing to focus on things outside myself rather than wondering what others were thinking about me. It’s why I enjoyed my own life so much. There wasn’t much critical self-talk based on other people’s views of me. I was mostly in intake mode, absorbing the world around me.

When I did go through the most challenging experiences of my life, I eventually noticed that during those times I did do a lot of thinking about me. I focused on how to make me better, which I didn’t immediately realize was another way of saying that the way I currently am is somehow wrong. The fact is, no one is wrong about how they are. We are all simply moving through life.

We often have to deal with things before we learn how, so it makes perfect sense that we’ll make lots of choices that lead to all kinds of unpleasant consequences. We’ll even make some with huge and catastrophic effects. That’s a normal life. But when I was in those lower states of consciousness I spent a lot of time thinking about how to avoid consequences for me. There were prices I didn’t want to pay. In short, I started to notice that I always felt worst when I was doing a lot of thinking about I, and I felt better when I was invested in caring for others.

70 Relax and Succeed - When we sacrifice our selfish desiresNoticing that, I immediately began becoming super conscious of other people’s needs rather than my own. If I was walking down the street and I was going to cross at a crosswalk, if there was only a few cars coming, rather than impede their progress for a few minutes and cause all of that energy to be wasted stopping and starting the car, I would just act like I wasn’t going to cross so they would just drive by, and then without pressing the button for the light, I would just dart across the crosswalk. Likewise, when I shovel my neighbours walks, I always think about the relief they’ll feel when they realize they don’t have to do it. And because we live what we think, I end up experiencing the same wonderful feelings they will. And that makes the shovelling seem easy, not hard.

The simple fact is, as Baba Ram Das says, “The game is not about becoming somebody; it’s about becoming nobody.” So if you’re busy thinking about others needs, then you aren’t bringing an ego-you into existence with thoughts about it. To the contrary, sharing love expands the love, and so authentic experiences end up being overwhelmingly enriching and beautiful. People will sense that you are truly invested in them and they will open up to you. That feeling of connection is the most beautiful feeling the universe provides. Don’t just leave it unrealized. Plug yourself in through genuine acts of love.

There is no You if you don’t think one into existence. As much as possible, focus on things and people outside of yourself and you will avoid having weak, critical, or otherwise negative thoughts about yourself. If you do that then any work you do will feel wonderful. If you don’t believe me, check out the amazing video below about a man who learned that the more he gives, the more joy he feels.

Check out this CNN Heroes Video:

CNN Heroes – Krishnan

Go be loving. And do that for your own sake. All you surrender is suffering. But you gain is love.

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.

.