Other Perspectives #71

701 OP Relax and Succeed - Don't flirt with someone else

As you get older you can read quotes like this and you can usually guess the age of the writer within five years. That shows you how much the same we all are. We’re all moving through patterns of behaviour as we move through our seven ages of man. Listen, I know that seeing someone you love being with someone else is something that really hurts. But there’s a great lesson in that. Because I promise you that the pain is not coming from seeing them. It’s about looking at them and then thinking. It’s the thoughts that hurt. Because if they’re happily with someone else, you can’t go quickly get someone and make them jealous. Because if they left they left for a reason of theirs and they went to this other person for a reason of theirs. So they might look over at you and feel a short temporary jab, but because their thoughts will shift to the better position they themselves feel they are in, they will feel fine. That’s why the leaver always does better than the leavee. The leaver either wanted someone else or they wanted more freedom but either way their thoughts will be less commonly on the past and more on the future, whereas the leavee has to rip themselves away from the future they’d imagined so they can start living in the present moment they’re in. So if someone’s flaunting just to hurt you then that’s just childish. Maybe in the future when they’re more mature, but for now, if someone is vindictive or possessive then they’re still immature and you don’t want to be in a relationship with an immature person. So just live your own life. Don’t keep your thoughts on inappropriate things. Learn to do this early in life and you will bring yourself great salvation later, I promise. Good luck.

Much love, s

Other Perspectives #68

686 OP-R Relax and Succeed - When you start seeing your worthIt’s a holiday here in Canada so I hope you have the day off and can spend it with your loved ones. In today’s Other Perspectives I discuss that very thing—how to spend healthy time with your loved ones. Because a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about what a good, healthy, long-lasting relationship looks like.

Enjoy.

peace. s

Conditional vs Unconditional Love

What’s the difference between a partner looking at you with conditional versus unconditional love? It’s all the difference in the world. It’s the difference between someone who wants to guide you to look like something that will adorn them, versus someone who thinks you are gorgeous the way you already are. You don’t want someone who thinks you look great because you’re all decked out for some important event. You want someone who thinks 638 Relax and Succeed - You can't really rely on how you lookyou’re the most gorgeous thing on the planet because you’re the mother of their beloved children—that whole new people that were created by your intense attraction to one another. It’s a totally different thing and you can look like anything and be from anywhere and have unconditional love happen to you.

Below are two examples. The first is common and was easy for me to create. The second is concocted from an amalgamation of things that either happened to couples I know or they’re things that couples have told me about in their process with me. But everything in each example is actually something that I’ve either witnessed or it’s something that someone told me they’ve experienced or done. So if you’re in the first group and want to be in the second, know that there are people walking all around you who have achieved that status, and if you stop looking at all of the people that conform to advertising standards you’ll end up seeing a lot of the people who have found true, unconditional love.

Conditional Love

He looked carefully at each of the ladies there and yes, there were some extremely impressive figures moving about the room but in comparing them he felt his fiance was indeed the most beautiful there that night. She was waiting on the other side of the theatre lobby for him 638 Relax and Succeed - Never chase lovewhen their eyes met. When he looked at her his eyes snaked up her body, starting at her shiny super-high spiked heels, on past the long straight and narrow legs that her diet and daily jogging had helped to maintain.

He motioned for her to twirl in the dress he’d chosen for her and she did, and that twirl showed off that ass she worked so hard on every day. Her stomach was perfectly anorexia-flat and yet gave way to large, perfectly placed, absolutely identical breasts that cooperated perfectly to create substantial cleavage that she further used makeup to enhance. She wore the very large and prominent diamond he gave her on her left hand, the matching earrings dangled from her delicate ears like neon signs pointing at his wealth. She was relived about the earrings. He had always told her the story about how he had broken up with his first girlfriend because of the weird shape of her ears. He used to tease her all time time about them but she never wore hairstyles that covered them, which embarrassed him. His fiance was another story. Her ears were perfect little Disney Princess ears, drawn as a perfect set by the universe. Her voice was 638 Relax and Succeed - Real love beginsbeautiful, her jawline sharp and very sexy.

Her father was a wealthy dentist and every single tooth was a perfectly shaped electric-white chiclet. She smiled, knowing he approved of her extremely provocative dress. He liked to show her off and that made him feel good. Her high cheekbones and perfectly shaped, symmetrical eyes looked back at him, pleased that he liked how she looked. She’d just changed her hair to style he’d asked her to switch to and it made her happy that it turned out the way he wanted. For his part, he took her all in and felt as though every other man in the room must be incredibly jealous of him for having such a Playboy-bunny girlfriend. He walked up to her, pushed a bit of hair off her face, smiled and he lead her back into the darkness of the theatre.

Unconditional Love

They were on opposite sides of the theatre lobby. She was waiting in a line to get them wine and he was in another to get her something to eat. The moment their eyes met the whole 638 Relax and Succeed - One big universeroom disappeared for him. That always happened as he fell into her beauty. Her smile lit up a room, and she had such a warm and gentle spirit that she made everyone around her comfortable. Whenever he looked at her he could see the faces of their beloved children, each who had emerged not out of a plan, but directly out of love. She was the only woman he had ever slept with where he felt his love was so intense, so massive, that his orgasms would need to create an entirely new human being just to contain the amount of love he felt.

Despite her colourful and artful attire, on her finger was a plain old rubber O-ring—a match for the engagement ring she had given him one day when she spontaneously proposed to him in the aisle of a hardware store. Every time he looked at her smile his heart leaped. His eyes welled with tears as he tried to contain how much he loved her. How her skin seemed to glow from within, and how it was oddly magnetic. He couldn’t stop himself from touching it. When they made love he wiggled and worked to position himself as though his goal was to get as many molecules as possible of him to touch as many molecules as possible of her. He wanted to be near her cells. He wanted to embrace her so deeply that the border between them would melt and waver in that beautiful way that always 638 Relax and Succeed - The greatest complimenttook her breath away. He loved how in bed he could snuggle behind her and reach around and his hand would fit perfectly around the wrinkly roll of post-pregnancy skin on her belly. He loved how it allowed for even more molecules of him to touch even more molecules of her.

He loved how she smelled, how she tasted and it was as though Mozart has written a lullaby based on her breathing. She enchanted him. She had taught him so much and she had always brought out the best in him. Just her smile alone would have him basking in how fortunate he felt to be with her. And whenever he was, it was as though there was no one else in the room. And every woman in the room who saw him looking at her thought to herself, “if only a man looked at me like that…” And as everyone headed back into the theatre for the start of the second act, instead he turned to her and said, “The play’s fantastic I know. But would you mind if we skipped the second act? I’d really rather just be with you.” And together they walked out of the theatre and off into the darkness, together, with the hopes and wishes of every other woman there trailing off behind them.

*

638 Relax and Succeed - Find someone who knows that you're not perfectWhat kind of relationship does your partner want? What kind of relationship do you foster with your words and behaviour? You can pose for the world with an ego-based relationship, or you can dive deeply into the world of unconditional love. It’s really only a matter of which search you enact with the way you live your life.

For your sake I hope you get to feel the intense approval and acceptance that goes with unconditional love. It is a wonderful environment in which to thrive. At the very least I hope you will join me in creating for yourself a life in which your qualities are being acknowledged regularly, even if that’s the unconditional self-love that we should all be giving ourselves. Be kind to you and you will model the behaviour for others. If we all lower our ego-expectations it becomes much easier to see that there is a large number of people with whom we can meaningfully connect. Here’s to you creating more of those sorts of connections in your life.

With love, s

2013’s Blog of the Year #9

About a third of my clients are companies working on employee and management issues. Another third would be individuals dealing with depression, stress, an addiction, or some are looking for career or life counselling. The final third would be couples. Some are couples that are essentially broken up and they’re wondering if they can maybe make it work again. Some are thinking about breaking up and aren’t sure. Some start as a single then turn into a couple. Some come as couples272 Relax and Succeed - You know what's the one wrong thing right from the start. And when they come, they talk in a very in-depth about their relationships.

Because there are only so many ways of being there are also only so many ways in which two people can mix. There are only so many fundamental routes for a relationship to take. So after a time you start to see very strong patterns in peoples life experiences.

Almost all of relationships I work on have the problem of perfection. Expectations are too high. People say they don’t need their partner to be perfect, but then a minute later they’ll angrily yell at that same partner about how they’re not doing something the same way they would. This is often referred to as “the right way.”

Perfect relationships aren’t about two perfect people. They’re about two Human Beings sharing a perfect understanding that they want their partner to be no one but themselves. Anything else is to request that they live an otherwise unnecessarily stressed existence. Sure, maybe for a dinner with your parents here or there—but no one wants to live that way full time. If you love someone you love them as they arenot with conditions.

In a way I’m not surprised to see this blog in the number nine spot on the countdown. It’s a popular subject with a lot of people. Hopefully it’s popularity also points to its usefulness. You can find out for yourself when you read the 9th Most Popular Blog of the Year:

The Perfect Relationship

Movies books and fairy tales have everyone imagining romantic love in a completely unrealistic way. Sure, in a film Prince Charming can appear to meet all of a woman’s desires, but let’s face it—those desires are pretty lame when it comes to picking an actual partner. You can’t really marry rich, and you can’t marry handsome. Those are things that affect what you look at 272 Relax and Succeed - I love you not because of who you areand touch etc., but your experience of being with someone comes from how they treat you, and that’s always motivated by how much they value your perspective. So the point isn’t whether the Prince lives in the castle or has a nice horse, it’s whether he’s got a good sense of humour, or if he can find a way to enjoy going shopping with you, or if he’ll massage your back—even when you’re bitchy . Those are the qualities that actually affect your life. Not what someone wears, or drives or does for a living.

Can you see how different you are with your friendships? You don’t have qualifications like that. And you don’t look for promises or commitments. No one needed to buy a ring or any other gift to hold you. You were held by your own interest. And so it should be with our romantic partners too. Our partners should be people who are completely free to go wherever they choose and they choose to be around us because that is their favourite place. It might not always be their favourite place, but out of the seven billion people on the planet, if they’re choosing to spend their time with you—that’s the real commitment. The commitment of choice.

Since nature generally motivates our initial attractions we can usually spot the major reasons why we’re with someone. Maybe our family was very serious and stern and our partner is good at being lighthearted. Maybe our family was very disorganized and our partner always has everything carefully planned. Maybe our family had no sense of creativity but our partner is spontaneous and artistic. There will be reasons we find people attractive. We should keep in touch with those attractions lest we take them for granted. 272 Relax and Succeed - Never chase loveBecause if we do that we are unwittingly moving toward perfection, which is as unattainable for our partner as it is for ourselves.

Do not expect perfection from your partner. The question is only: when you are calm and content, is that the person you would most often choose to be with? If the answer to that is most often “yes,” then simply be with them when you both feel that way, and give each other space when you don’t. It is entirely natural to need the input of different kinds of human beings in our lives. We can’t be all things to all people nor can they expect us to fulfil all of their needs. Again, the relationship must be a choice, not a expectation, obligation, or demand.

If your relationship is floundering and you value it then there is only one response. Go back to having fun. Go back to being yourself. That’s who attracted your partner in the first place. Maybe they’ve changed and are looking for something else, but you can’t do anything about that—you’re you. You can’t become someone else for someone else. They are either fundamentally attracted or they’re not. So in the end the only thing that makes a relationship worthwhile is the fact that it’s voluntary.

272 Relax and Succeed - How do I improveForget perfection. Instead of complaints, consider appreciation and acceptance. Because if you keep complaining about the same things in your partner, that’s a sure sign that a major part of the issue is with you and not with them. Meaning either you should leave, or you should accept that the person you’re with includes the quality you keep complaining about. Either accept it or leave. That’s the only choice. Their job isn’t to change into who you want them to be. Their job is to simply be themselves so they can be identified by the people that will naturally love them in an unconditional way. And the very same goes for you

People aren’t right for you or wrong for you. It’s not the people, it’s the behaviour. So pay less attention to how rich, beautiful or sexy some one is and start caring about whether or not they’re rich in character, beautiful in spirit, and sexy because they truly care about you. And after that, the only thing you have to remember is that relationships are two way streets. So don’t start telling other people to change or they’ll get out their list for you. Better that you just love each other as you are, imperfections and all.

Enjoy your day by enjoying the people in it. That choice is always yours.

hugs. s

Friend-Ships

256 Relax and Succeed - Great what do I getBecause I know how to lead an enlightened life people will often assume that I never struggle or face the same serious adversities that they do. But of course my life—like any other—includes challenges that are far too heavy to be lifted by one person alone. No amount of understanding can handle that. The understanding removes the resistance to the experience, not the experience itself. Like you, my friends are profoundly important to me, and no more than when things are at their worst. Like you, my life includes both Yin and Yang and during difficult times I too will lean on others heavily.

When we’re young we imagine our life like a graph that constantly rises as we age. We imagine more freedom, more money, more prestige, more success. When we are young there is no outside world, there is only a strong sense of self. We’re not really looking very closely at what’s going on around us—we’re just doing what we’re doing. We just notice that we’ve felt more independent as we’ve aged so we imagine that trajectory continuing. In fact we never really were all that independent and regardless, what we are almost sure to encounter is forms of increased dependency.

If we did stop to look we would see that many of the menial workers around us are seniors. Did we imagine we would be sweeping up at McDonald’s when we were 60? And despite a 50% divorce rate did we assume that somehow we wouldn’t encounter the often overwhelming expense of family law? Did we think we would never be ripped off by an employer, or that we would never have an addiction, or that we may spend decades nursing either a sick parent or a child with a disability? Did we think cancer was only for other people?

256 Relax and Succeed - Five good friendsWe walk past these people every day and yet we never imagine we will be them. When we imagine our lives we imagine perfect TV lives—lives without hassles. But that is an impossible idea. And salvation comes when we stop resisting those experiences as though they do not belong to us. Salvation comes when we fully accept that our life, like every life, will have those heavy days.

When we’re young we make friends easily and school sees us surrounded by many people we call friends even though most are merely only classmates. As we move through our 20’s we gather even more friends through either college, university or our first jobs. Life has a lot of space in it so we’re able to see those people often at places like bars and parties and on weekends at beaches.

In reality, as we succeed in our jobs we are given more responsibility. With that goes more money, but that generally gets us to buy things like cars or homes. But while those may be nice things to own, they also represent even more responsibility. You can’t not-like your banker and just stop paying your mortgage. This is a permanent marriage. The same with your responsibilities at work. When you’re young you come home after work and then you go out. When you’re older you come home later and you bring work with you. By then there’s likely children too, so you don’t come home to fun and relaxation, you come home to the greatest responsibility you will ever have—the responsibility of raising a fellow human being.

256 Relax and Succeed - A friend walks inOf course, because children take a lot of time energy and money, around our 30’s we start seeing our friendship circles drastically shrink simply due to time. We still say we have lots of friends but we don’t really stop to notice that we only see them here and there at parties and we really don’t know much of what’s going on in their lives at all. We might be fond of them but they have become acquaintances more than active friendships.

It’s almost as though when we’re young we’re in the harbour near lots of other little boats and when we first leave all of the boats are fairly near each other. But as we sail through life and we chart our own course we eventually find that there are only a few other boats that we could say are genuinely close to ours, and that is primarily because they are on complimentary courses. Even those people will sometimes tack against the wind at different times than us, so we will be going completely different directions. But we’ll still always be close to those particular friends because individual routes aside, we are all at least fundamentally travelling in the same direction.

We call all of the people we collect through life our “friends” and that’s fine as a term. But we should not be mistaken about the true nature of friendship. Because acquaintances are mostly what we have. Friends are the people that are ready, willing and able to sail through the roughest seas with us. They are the ones who we turn to in the middle of our personal storms. And even if we don’t turn to them, they will turn to us.

256 Relax and Succeed - Remember anyone can love youWhat’s important to remember is that these are the times when we have the least to give. When life is presenting us with steep and overwhelming challenges is precisely when we will be low on energy, low on patience, our health might be bad, and all of that means we are simply less fun to be around. We may be short of money, we may need a lot of physical help, and we will almost certainly be exhausted by just the sheer weight of moving through the experience. Life will deal some hard blows to all of us and when we’re in the midst of that we will be at our worst. We will be impatient and demanding and often unrewarding to spend time with. At these times we won’t have much to offer our friends. And so that is when we will find out who the friends truly are.

The simple fact is that most people will abandon you if you add weight to their lives. They’re present because it’s fun, rewarding and enriching. But when the relationship starts to get taxing, that’s when most people will disappear. The boats too far away from us will not sail over to rescue us when that distance exists. They are too far away to appreciate the intensity of our personal storm. Only the boats very close to us will have an awareness of and an appreciation for the challenges we are having in merely keeping our boat afloat at all.

256 Relax and Succeed - The most memorable peopleAt these times we will often be harsh with those who are helping us most. Our fears and desperation will bring out the worst in us. And that will scare the timid, youthful, and weak away. And that is perfectly fine, because that leaves room for the broad shoulders of those who remain with us through these unrewarding parts of life: when we need rides, or emergency childcare, or someone to push our wheelchair, or loan us money. That is when the friends are fully known. That is when our perspective rises high enough that we can see which boats are truly with us. These are the boats that will provide the rafts and ropes and life preservers that will keep us going until our storm passes. Even in the thick of it, our friends will be there with us, bailing and facing the lashing rains, and otherwise dedicating themselves to our lives as much as their own.

Those friends are your tribe. Those friends take you over the long haul. Those friends calculate your value differently. They don’t need you to always be bringing something to their life. They will also be fine with taking something from their own. Sometimes we are married to these people, sometimes we are related, but often times their connection is entirely voluntary. And it is that very quality that makes it so beautiful.

Like everyone, I have faced my own hard and heavy times. Because I know how to live this way does not mean that I do not face the same challenges that every life has. It merely means I face those challenges from a different perspective—a perspective that primarily focuses on an256 Relax and Succeed - And I think to myselfappreciation for what is, rather than a want for what is not. And in the deepest, darkest storms the lights of the closest boats shine even brighter. And it becomes very easy to appreciate how remarkably valuable they are to our journey. For without them, none of us would ever make it.

Take a moment today to appreciate the boats nearest to yours. Whether life is currently great or whether it’s mired in a storm so dark that you can barely make out the lights of those nearby ships, never lose sight of the fact that they are there regardless. They are there by their own nature. And there will never be any way to repay the many ways in which they will rescue you—the ways that impact your heart and your soul. Instead what will happen is that the tempests eventually lift. The lightning burns itself out and the rain cries down all its tears, and what remains—sparkling and glinting in the sun—are the boats you clung to when things were at their worst. And they will appear to you as the most remarkable things you have ever seen. And you will realize that words do not even exist for you to describe the breadth and depth of their incredible beauty.

peace. s

True Friends

Winner: 2014’s Blog of the Year #2

I hear a lot of people spending a lot of time standing around discussing how other people didn’t live up to their expectations. Of course, they don’t describe it that way. They say the person let them down, or that they weren’t who they thought they were. (I especially love that last one. That’s hilarious.)

114 Relax and Succeed - Not all those who wanderWhere exactly were these people letting you down from? Was there some place they were supposed to be? Did you build some castle in the sky for them to live in? Are they an actor in your play who missed their mark? And does this mean that anything that you don’t want is automatically wrong? Is that possible? Can you always have your way? Is a friend not a friend unless they are doing what you want?

Or what about that funny second one—they weren’t who you thought they were?! Well no kidding. Even with your spouse you witness a small fraction of a person’s life and almost none of their history, so why would you think you could truly know them? Sure, you’ll share some ideas with them, but the rest is like an iceberg—90% of it is below the water.

Most of my clients with serious, expensive, long-term addictions have spouses that have absolutely no idea. I knew a guy eons ago who would watch Jeopardy at work and then at night he would go home and watch the second showing later in the day with his wife. Despite the fact that they’d been married over three decades, this habit had convinced his wife that he was one of the smartest men ever. She had no idea he had watched it hours earlier on another station.

So every person you know has an identity that is simply an invented story that is some combination of what they’ve told you, and what you tell yourself about them. The whole story is only based on a few facts, so no, they can’t live up to your story because they have no idea who you think they are or what you think they should say or do. They can’t be who you want them to be because they are busy living out the story of who they believe they are.

114 Relax and Succeed - A friend is someoneSo a real friend isn’t someone who does what you want them to, or who does things you judge as good or acceptable. A real friend is someone who can see you clearly and so they love you unconditionally. Real friends are either highly conscious people who see everyone clearly, or they’re people whose icebergs are flowing in a very similar current to yours. That means your own personal psychologies mix well, which in turn translates to your intense sense of empathy and connection with them. And because that feeling is the feeling of home or oneness to our spirit, that feeling ends up superseding any judgments. With no judgment and the resulting sense of strong connection, we’re left in a state of best friendship.

This means that “real friends” love us despite what they know about us and despite what we’ve done or do. So there will be people who will dislike either of two friends for various reasons, and the friends could honestly recognize those reasons as valid, and yet they choose to look past those things because they are focused on the value the other person brings into their life. By not thinking about those other qualities, they are left in a forgiving state of mind. If you’re not thinking about something it can’t bother you. Likewise, if you are thinking about what you do like about someone, you will feel great.

What that translates to in real terms is that we can only truly be ourselves in front of friends who truly love us, or highly conscious people who will also offer unconditional love. Everyone else will be conditional: Maybe you can’t yell. Maybe you can’t kick something when you’re scared or hurt (and that might look like anger, but those people who truly love us can see that anger is actual fear or pain). Maybe you can’t be friends with someone. Or maybe you can’t even talk to someone. Maybe you have to like certain music or have certain interests. Maybe you have to be smart. Or cool. Or rich. Or thin. Or sexy. Maybe you cannot even disagree. While at the same time, your best friends are the ones that think you’re perfect just the way you already are.

114 Relax and Succeed - Do you wanna knowSo if you want to know who your very best friends are, they are the ones who forgive you no matter what. Even if you’re tired and scared and alone and that drives you to act like a total ass, where you cause tons of forever-lasting trouble and other people pay for your mistakes and yada yada yada—even if you’re at your absolute lowest, worst and most pathetic, the people who truly love you will still see the goodness in you and, in doing so, they will forgive you. In fact, far from abandoning you they will recognize your suffering and respond with compassion. Rather than turn their backs, they will rush in to help and it will be through their unconditional love that you will be restored.

And should you feel badly about the other people who deserted you in tough times? Not at all. They either aren’t enlightened yet, or they’re simply not able to love you purely enough to do so unconditionally. Yet. But that’s not a problem. That just is. They will be able to unconditionally love someone—just not you. And that’s important. Because in the end, the people we unconditionally love are like windows into enlightenment. They are where our personal thoughts are silenced by love. Through our loving connection to them, we can invest ourselves in learning to love all of creation with an open, enlightened, unconditional awareness.

The people that let you make mistakes and still love you; those people really love you. Appreciate them. Everyone’s only got a few of them in their life and our loving connection to them is an aspect of our own spirituality. They’re certainly relationships worth nurturing.

So go nurture yours.

And have an awesome day.

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.