Trusting Love

 

1315 Relax and Succeed - Adults can choose where they goWhy do so many young women have a lack of faith in the love of their partners? There are many reasons for that, but almost all women do face at least one common enemy.

Due to many of the thought-shaping forces in society being quite blunt and broad, many of us end up impacted by the same social memes, advertising techniques, fashions, trends, tropes and clichés. We all share many constructs in society, and in fact society itself is a construct. But it would be good if it could be a helpful one.

Of course these forces all hit us slightly differently, but the ones that are designed as marketing and propaganda will have been built to capitalize on insecurities that many of us share. For this reason we can see patterns of behaviour in various marketing demographics, and one of the groups in which these effects are easiest to see, is in girls and young women aged 14-30.

Women overall take a beating in the marketing and advertising world. They are subjected to messages about being too fat, not curvy enough, their hair’s all wrong, their skin and breath are bad, they have a poor diet and they’re not sexy enough. Let’s see, what do we have there? A too, a not, a wrong, a bad, a poor, and a not enough. How’s a girl to survive?

The worst places an insecure self-view can take us is into unhealthy relationships where we are too focused on pleasing the other person and not enough on nurturing what’s healthy for us –which would hopefully include the behaviour of our romantic partners. That sort of inferior sense can cause people to stay in relationships they would be better to leave.

The worst places an insecure self-view can take us is into unhealthy relationships where we are too focused on pleasing the other person and not on nurturing what’s healthy for us —

Almost as bad, those same forces can mean that even people who find healthy relationships can have trouble accepting the idea that they truly deserve love. I have a former student who is a classic example of this.

She says she’s shy but really she’s just a little bit, and just when she meets someone. But then almost everyone is a little bit, they just hide it in different ways. She’s also very smart and she thinks thoughtfully about things, so she’s very interesting to talk to.

I can’t say if you’d think she was pretty or the ‘right’ weight, because those are subjective personal opinions. All I can say is that she seems pretty to me and her weight seems right in every way but one: she doesn’t like it.

If you saw her most people would find her thin, yet she’s noted she goes through phases of worrying about her weight. This absolutely breaks my heart. We are talking about an amazing person here. She could really go anywhere with her future, she’s trying to be as wise as a person can be about living.

She also has a mother that, like all mothers and daughters, she has struggles with sometimes. But that’s also the same mother that brought her to me a few years ago when she was worried about her, so clearly she cares, even if they have some trouble connecting at this stage in their lives. That is hardly uncommon.

In addition to the backstop of her own background and capability, she also has only praise for her boyfriend, and her descriptions of him are the sort that genuinely make me happy. He treats her well, and with respect.

She’s not a showpiece or a doormat. He admires her but he is confused by her insecurities. He doesn’t understand how she can be so smart and not calculate that she must be impressive just by looking at the evidence in her life. And he would have a point.

Obviously he’s dating her because he thinks out of all of the women he could pursue, she is the most amazing. Guys are not known for aiming for second best. We’ll either go for first or torture ourselves waiting for the courage to try. Bottom line, if he’s with her it’s because he wants to be.

1315 Relax and Succeed - Even if we find love will we accept

Now don’t get me wrong, even if she has some understandable insecurities, they still have a wonderful relationship. She’s stunningly helpful to him –I doubt he can know how fortunate he is having so little to compare to at his age.

If she’s extremely emotional and inclined to be unreasonable, she actually lets him know that she can’t discuss the issue until later because she knows she’ll be unreasonable. To many people, that’s a dream girl right there.

Of course, once she calms down, 90% of the time they have nothing to discuss, which might explain why the relationship is much more appreciation than drama. What I like most about it is they usually seem to either discuss interesting ideas or have fun. They are young and have much to learn like all of us, but it sounds like a really good match –if only she could accept that she deserves it.

So here we have a pretty, slim, smart, strong, wise young woman with support coming in different ways from both family and her boyfriend and circle of friends, plus she’s very mature about how she approaches both her career and her relationships, yet when she feels weak she feels all too, and not, and wrong, and bad, and poor, and lacking, and just not sexy enough.

She has every indication that she is incredible, leaving the only reason she feels that way is largely because of advertising and marketing campaigns that swirl around people’s heads and that get traded between young ladies like dark whirling Pig Pen-like tornadoes of thought. Their social media can be horrifying.

It was tiny little her against an army of highly paid psychologists and advertising specialists. It is that haze of external sales pitches that has brainwashed her to the point where it prevents her from seeing who I see, who her friends see, and who her boyfriend sees. A totally 100% acceptable person. Just like everyone reading this.

We did make a lot of headway in that she continues to be remarkably helpful to her relationship and she’s now found ways to finish school despite facing some bullying, and show now has at least part of her post-school life sorted out in a way that excites her.

Like everyone, she will still have life struggles, but by learning more about how she participates in her own creation of her reality she has already freed herself from constraints that many adults still strongly feel held back by.

All that said, her realizations won’t be complete until she reaches one key point. She currently cannot fully appreciate the reasons why her boyfriend loves her, or why her friends love her, or why I admire her as a person, and why her mother sees her as loaded with potential. There’s too many marketing ideas poisoning those facts.

It is a process, but one she has begun in earnest. If she didn’t, he would be forever trapped having to build her up when he would rather just enjoy his time with a woman that he already sees as complete.

Sure, finishing school, fostering a healthy relationship and finding a career path are no small things to accomplish. But it is important that she continue to watch for examples that help to prove to herself that she truly deserves the love she gets, and that her boyfriend really does think she’s perfect just the way she is.

It is a process, but one she has begun in earnest. If she didn’t, he would be forever trapped having to build her up when he would rather just enjoy his time with a woman that he already sees as complete. That would eventually wear him out, so she’s on the right path and so far it’s going well.

By the time we were officially done she actually already was where she wanted to be. She’s a great person who’s finished school, has a job she’s happy about, and she has a supportive and loving boyfriend. All she has to do now is make that final leap to believing that she’s really worthy of everyone’s love. That’s where everyone is waiting for her.

Of course, the same goes for everyone reading this. An amazing collection of natural forces needed to occur for each person to exist as an individual. The universe wanted us to be yet so many of us question our value.

We should waste no time questioning the universe. Instead, we should join my student in accepting ourselves so that we too can get on to the business of offering our courage, compassion and love to all those we share this world with.

Other people loving us does not have its full effect unless we feel worthy. Only thoughts keep us from that naturally receptive state. We do not need to build ourselves up to be good enough for the love we get, we simply must lower the thought barrier we have between us and our knowledge that we, along with everyone everywhere, is born  worthy of love we receive.

peace, s

 

Resting the Soul

1313 Relax and Succeed - Resting the Soul

We can be kind to ourselves with our thoughts, but we can also be kinder to ourselves with our lives.

Whether it’s what we eat, how and when and with whom we eat it, or if it’s walks outside or time with a book, we must ensure that we are not expecting our minds to compensate for a life that is drastically out of a balance in terms of expenditures of energy versus opportunities for rejuvenation.

If we are under stress, then it will feel like it and we must simply accept that there are times in life where rest and good nutrition is not really possible. We can generally endure far more than we suspect but, despite that, we must ensure we make room to rest or else everything will become stressful.

Rest is not a selfish luxury of ego, that is sloth. Rest is what a healthy mind needs to sustain their hold on equanimity. Sloth is when we deny the world the benefits of our inherent value.

What makes this challenging is that no one desires the hardships of life so it makes sense we will often feel resistance to needing to react. At the same time if we don’t react we naturally feel uncomfortable because our nature moves us to contribute meaningfully to our society because that is actually a selfish, self-preserving approach. We are better together. Knowing that, we need to nurture our value to the larger world.

1313 Relax and Succeed - True silence is the rest of the mind

In the end, all we need to contribute is some wisdom and some enthusiasm. The former comes through experience, but the latter is more a matter of us getting out of the way of our nature. In many cases, we really do find the tougher jobs more rewarding. But in order to take them, we must feel we have the energy to succeed.

Do not feel guilty about needing real rest. Deep down, we all know when we really need it versus when we’re simply seeking to avoid a responsibility we feel inside. By spending more time with the difference between the feelings we can learn to tell one from the other more quickly, which allows us to accomplish more, while also ensuring that we’re rested enough to do so.

Let us all balance our weeks as much as we can. With the right attitude, we can make a huge impact on how our days feel. Enjoy.

peace, s

Secular Sundays: Souls in Nature

1312 Relax and Succeed - Nature is generous to the soul

Time together in nature. It’s good for us if we’re able to achieve it. Our souls know the sky. And it’s a very nice temple to walk in.

Whether it’s what we eat, or how and when and with whom we eat it, or if it’s walks outside or time with a book, we must ensure that we are not expecting our minds to compensate for a life that is drastically out of a balance in terms of expenditures of energy versus opportunities for rejuvenation.

I too am expending a lot of life energy in balancing many serious responsibilities so I can relate to the need to find opportunities to actively cultivate peace. As hard as it can be at times, we all must make room to rest or else everything will become even more stressful.

Rest is not a selfish luxury of ego; that’s called sloth. That’s what we do when we deny the world our love and capability. Contrary to that, rest is what a healthy mind needs to sustain its hold on equanimity and enthusiasm for life.

To that end, for those readers who are located in Edmonton, I am looking at doing Sunday walks that would be around various trails in the city, with the walks built around the idea of shared experience with our natural world. These might be 90 minutes in length, with maybe 20-30 minutes spent lingering here or there before or after for some discussion. It will be very informal.

Depending on whether there’s just a few of us or more, maybe a short talk might start the process, but it would be more to walk and Be together, and maybe I can answer some questions along the way.

I suspect they would start some time in June. If you’re in Edmonton and would like to be part of these proposed Sunday spiritual walks, send me an email to the address below and on the first Sunday that I start the walks I will let you know where we can meet to begin.

scottis@relaxandsucceed.com

Whether there are many or I pick the wrong week and end up walking alone, even if only for a short time, I am very much looking forward to getting back into Edmonton’s forest system to reconnect with all that is around us. Maybe I’ll see you there. Happy trails.

peace, s

Exhale Your Ego

1310 Relax and Succeed - Surrendering into ourselves

A lot of our stress comes from us being engaged in striving for perfection. Even by definition it’s an impossible problem. Who defines perfection?

Playing an instrument. Dancing, painting. Cooking. Parenting. A religion; yoga; even the Japanese tea ceremony. These are all activities that are best done with an active, creative, present focus. If there’s a precise ‘way’ to do anything, then that’s just another form of expectation.

Even in Buddhist tea ceremony, the precise actions shouldn’t create the headspace, the headspace and the precise actions should become one. Yes, one is designed like a meditation to lead to the other, but in practice they are not one in the same. That’s missing the point. When a wise person points to the moon, we’re not supposed to look at their finger.

Every one of us; let’s all forget our ideas for how we’re supposed to be. Let us just be who we are instead. It’s easier. Surrendering into ourselves is like performing a spiritually relaxing exhale of ego.

Maybe we’re experienced and have a slow steady flow to life, maybe we’re new and are lost but wild with enthusiasm. Neither person is right or failing or doing it ‘the right way.’ We’re all just individuals climbing around on the terrain of life.

Everyone is already living their lives perfectly, we just keep telling ourselves otherwise because we each imagined a different story. But do you see? That is a part of our story too –that we tell ourselves stories that aren’t true.

1310 Relax and Succeed - Doing anything really well

We don’t need to fix anything, we don’t need to improve or be perfect. We just need to realize that the way we already are is totally fine if we maintain a healthy headspace of knowing who we are, and by avoiding the act of telling ourselves that we should be someone different. If we’re not self-talking we can remain fully present for action.

It is unhealthy to be so rigidly focused on rituals, rules and history that we fail to notice our opportunities to make our lives and the world around us into a better place for all. Doing anything really well is not defined by how we do the thing itself, it’s defined by how conscious we are when we do whatever we do.

Without consciousness, we are left to be crippled by our own insecurities. This unnatural over-thinking state leads us to feel discomfort, as the universe naturally urges us to go quiet and come alive.

The universe sees no value having any aspect of itself spin in on any other aspect of itself. That is spiritually unproductive. Self-absorbed self-criticism is unproductive and worse, it can lead us to deny the universe the value of our creative and social contributions to it.

We must get our thoughts out of our way in order to enact our lives. Why not start right now?

peace, s

The Performance

1044-relax-and-succeed-half-of-life-is-lost-in-charming-othersMost people believe it all their lives. We think people are being figurative when they tell us that reality happens in our imagination. But we’re not, and until we face that absolute fact (that ties us all together), we will suffer because we will spend all of our time trying to satisfy a bunch of other people’s opinions when that’s impossible because they all see us in their own way.

Instead, our belief is that our reality is formed by society, and the events and practices of our lives. This means we can’t be happy at work because it’s called work and we reserve our happiness for the word play, or leisure, or vacation.

We can even be like that to the point where we can even dislike other people for the fact that they love their job. Or maybe it’s not our work; maybe we believe we can only be happy if we’re with one particular person because the definition of we have of ourselves is as half of a partnership. This of course means that any time we are single we deem ourselves as having failed.

1044-relax-and-succeed-anxiety-is-the-worst-use-of-imaginationOften, we’ll subconsciously let our society tell us what’s good and what’s bad and we live up to it without question. A lot of the time that makes society work better. But sometimes it makes individuals unhealthy.

For the vast majority of us, any unknown food is also an unwanted one. Pregnancy has to be an awful, painful experience you need drugs for. Or if someone in your family is afraid of heights they can teach you to be too. But does it really seem likely that heights themselves are dangerous? Of course not, people stand at the edge of substantial heights all the time.

Could we find people who like unpopular things? Could we find people who love their job? Can we find women who valued pregnancy and went through it without drugs? Due to simply no other choice, that would be more than half the women on Earth, so we can definitely find them. And as noted, there’s no shortage of people walking in places featuring extremely high heights.

Maybe we believe these people are working with more than we are. Maybe we really just aren’t that good. Maybe they are, maybe not. But more importantly, it’s unfortunate that that terrible idea of ourselves is all too believable to many of us.

Our life is not our actions, it is an emotional experience. We list it as things that made us happy and things that made us sad, when really it’s things we allowed ourselves to think gratefully about, versus things that we wished were different. We don’t really need to gain the difference between our ideals and ourselves, we need to lose the desire to do so.

1044-relax-and-succeed-you-were-born-an-originalWe all perform so much of our lives to please others it’s ridiculous. Every life has challenges and it is experience that helps us each find where our line is between things we should accept versus things we should put our energy into changing. But it should be us deciding that.

If we want to change ourselves every time someone else wants us to act this or that way then we’re not even living our own lives, we’re just reading off of a bunch of other people’s unique scripts.

We are better to be ourselves. The people who will respond most positively to it are our people and we don’t need anything to earn their love and support other than to be the people we already are at that time.

That simple focus is much more relaxing than second-guessing ourselves into insanity. If we don’t do that, it leaves us tons of extra energy that we can use to become even better versions of ourselves.

We need to stop wanting life to be different. We need to appreciate how it is. Because the appreciation happens inside our head, meaning the act of appreciation is always within our control. And if you’ve got that, you’ve got happiness no matter where we are.

peace. s

The Freedom of Possibility

1006-relax-and-succeed-this-is-just-not-going-to-work-out

Provided they haven’t experienced powerful trauma, kids are naturally very skillful at enjoying life. In the healthiest situations they are excited by their fears; they want to stay up and hear the scary campfire story that will keep them up all night terrified. They believe they can do anything. And every experience is met with wonder. And they grow and grow and grow.

We don’t limit ourselves to the expected when we’re a kid. Those expectations haven’t been reinforced enough yet, so we see more possibility at those ages. This is natural.

As we age we could argue that the odds of the unexpected happening are long, and yet it is also true that even long odds are ultimately true sometimes, so the kids always have the chance that they’re right.

We can live in a boring adult world where the boarded-up houses we walk by are presumed to be the result of a death or bankruptcy, or we can live where kids live; where houses are boarded up because they’re haunted. Waves are sea serpents, basements contain boogeymen, and all meteor’s are spaceships. When we’re young we go into every situation anticipating adventure. And doing so, we find more of them.

As we age repetitive experiences limit our imagination. If we’re abused long enough we’ll start to actually seek out abuse because that’s all we can fit into our highly limited imagination. We start to think that’s how life is, rather than how we allowed it to be. Yet still, our child-mind is still alive within us. We still maintain the ability to see things another way.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-idea-is-to-die-young

Think of the people you know. The freest ones are the ones who are willing to offer the craziest solutions. They just never say die. There’s always good news somewhere and they’re just as pleased to search for it as find it.

Other friends see gloom and doom at every corner. They see the worst in others. They see lots of limits; lots of reasons that things can’t happen. Which group feels like they actually contribute to making the world better? The dark truth-tellers, or the excited and creative?

If we don’t believe something’s possible we won’t take the steps to see that thing happen in our life. If we think you’ll never have friends because everyone hates us, then we’ll never have friends because we’ll never meet anyone –because we’d guessed they’d all hate us when only some of them would. But even they would only hate us out of confusion.

In the deepest spiritual sense, our friends wouldn’t love us more than our enemies, they would just see us more clearly. It’s their thoughts about the other people that make them their enemy. But kids don’t judge that much.

Friendship is a childlike thing that we do less of as we age. When we’re young we’re more prepared to assume someone might be the source of good experiences but, by the time we’re older we just sit in judgment all the time. We disregard more and more kinds of people unlike us, and then we wonder why we don’t have more fun.

1006-relax-and-succeed-the-soul-is-healed-by-being-with-children

Our life is a set of beliefs about things we think can’t happen or have to happen, but those beliefs are not the actual world they’re just our idea of it.

People’s lives change every day, but in most cases it’s when we actually begin to do things differently. The first different thing we can do is truly monitor our judgments about things and find our own limits within those judgments. Again: those limitations are not the world, those are ideas we have and they prevent us from experiencing all that life has to offer. We will all be healthier if we’re more childlike.

It’s a worthy thing to study the fabric of own limits. We need to ask ourselves, how have we actually changed since we were children? What things did we think were possible that we’ve talked ourselves out of since?

We benefit from being open to more possibility. There is nothing wrong with imagining a life bigger than our current ego would allow us to ever feel we deserved. That is the only place those lives come from, the rest of people were held back by their own self-imposed limits.

We can have something bigger. For whatever ‘faults’ he may have, people call Elon Musk’s dreams crazy, but does he care? He doesn’t have the time or thought-space available to waste time thinking about other people’s judgments: he’s too busy building a spaceship! And if his lack of limits can get him to Mars, where can ours get us?

peace. s

Internal Interventions

We have done the meditations and we’ve started to learn: 1) the act of switching emotions; 2) the act of patience taken in order to decide if an emotion should be changed or experienced; and 3) we’ve gotten to know how our emotions impact our physical self so that we have clear indications of when we’re happy and when we’re otherwise.

872 Relax and Succeed - Dear uncertaintyWe use our posture, a smile, our tone of voice, or a manner of walking–anything that is likely to incite activity in the parts of our brain where we’re better wired-up for easy happiness. This is like when we teach little kids to have a happy place.

As we’ve discussed, we can have some go-to thoughts that we like, but if we don’t manage to grab those better thoughts in the heat of a moment, we must make sure not to add to our negative narrative by scolding ourselves for having missed the opportunity to take those emotional reigns.

We have to learn several things: a general awareness of ourselves; an emerging understanding of how our psychological self emerges within our physical being; and the wisdom necessary to know when to change to how we feel, versus the wisdom of knowing when to accept things as they are.

It is perfectly useful to us to become aware of an emotion and still not do anything about it. If we’re initially upset that we didn’t escape a ‘technically unnecessary’ bad feeling, then that means we have fully accepted that we can change them. We just haven’t refined the skills associated with switching, or our acceptance in cases where we don’t switch.

Just our awareness alone is a bigger part of this than we realize at the start.

When we change emotional tones it does feel really nice pretty much immediately. But even when we succeed at that, we’ll still be on tilted ground and we’ll have to stay conscious to stay balanced. If we sense that an external source did anything that we felt exacerbated our issue, then our recovery might well slide backwards into ego emotions immediately.

But that’s fine too. We have to come to know this landscape in order to master it.

872 Relax and Succeed - Those who don't

We don’t need to change or alter our emotions as much as we need to just slow them all down so we can see how they form more naturally. Our emotional state is effectively where we live so we should know our own currents and eddies.

As we study ourselves our knowledge grows and we will find ourselves intervening with ourselves and others –sometimes in surprising and seemingly unintentional ways. It’s as though wisdom is speaking or acting through us.

These aren’t pieces of wisdom we calculate using brain knowledge, these are more the things we know through a more immediate wisdom. These are those moments where we suddenly ‘get’ something, or the way we know we’ve fallen in love.

Even in less profound situations than finding love, by quieting our thought-based emotions, our wise self often knows what to do in a profound way. But it does need access to the steering wheel of our mind.

If our ego is busy trying to steer around pain then it can dominate the steering wheel for so long that the real us falls asleep –which is problematic, because in the end our ego won’t really avoid any pain, but all its useless swerving will create a lot of unnecessary suffering.

We can benefit by seeing the ’emotional us’ as someone who is very simply addicted to the chemistry for our Dominant Negative Emotion. It’s why people with an abusive parent will date abusive people, or even why people will go to horror films to intentionally frighten themselves, or date perpetually sad people.

Everyone’s hunger for each chemical varies, but our Dominant Negative Emotion is one worth knowing because we will subconsciously seek it whether it is good for us or not.

By changing or even muting that emotion some percentage of the time we will instill in ourselves this capability. Over time it will become so ordinary that someone else is likely to eventually describe our ability as our personality. We’ll be referred to as extremely patient, or extraordinarily compassionate or forgiving, and that will feel good.

But again, this isn’t about us looking good to others, it’s about us seeing the truth and being selfishly authentic. We act in accordance with feeling ‘right’ with ourselves. The byproduct happens to be that it leads us to generally be good others. But that part was up to the universe, not us.

872 Relax and Succeed - If you want to liveIf we’re truly free then we won’t be as willing to bow to counter-productive social norms. Others might see us as difficult or arrogant, but really what’s happening inside is that we’re focusing on the things that matter instead of pleasing others to no meaningful end.

Yes, the wrapping paper on anything says something. Politeness has value. But that’s messaging. The contents are what ultimately count. It’s fine to wrap something up beautifully, but only if it isn’t to disguise the fact that it’s not really what it purports to be. People’s wisdom will eventually spot the fakes.

We should see our ego as more distinct from us. We should see it as a literal other person. Enhance that distance. It will help us see that our ego is only our shadow. We can’t do things by changing the shape of our shadow, we must alter what is happening within us. When we see the world differently we behave in a different way and thereby we cast a different shadow.

Let’s all spend the next few days focused on body awareness and listening to our ego as a separate entity. If we can catch ourselves a few times doing each, then we’ll have done well. Even if we need some post-it notes to remind us of our objective, if we’re serious about doing these meditations then we will already have advanced our awareness considerably. We deserve to feel very good about that.

Let’s go have a great day.

peace. s

Basic Choices

749 Relax and Succeed - We were all humans

This one day, I look out my back window and I see a guy I’ve never seen before and he’s hurling my neighbour’s blue bag contents all over the alley. This is somewhat ironic considering that the blue bag is where we’re supposed put things that are designed to be recycled because they can very easily be re-purposed.

I walked out and said a friendly hello but the guy was immediately concerned. Many homeowners will immediately assume a person has no morals because they have no home. I don’t think that, plus—even if he is a total jerk—I’m at least smart enough to make friends with any potential troublemakers in my neighbourhood.

Many people live on the street because of a mental illness or a lack of self control manifested as hostility. They get cared for up until eighteen and then —boom— now they live on our streets, with us. This guy isn’t mentally ill but I do know he has a bad temper problem from previous experience, so I’m not surprised that he blows up when I nicely ask him to just put the stuff back in the bag when he’s done.

“What are you going to do, make me do it?”

“Make you do it? What? You mean physically force you? You think I would fight you over recycling? Dude. You do bad math. It would be infinitely easier for me to just re-load the bag myself than it would be to fight you, even if I beat you the first punch…. then police and jail and losing work. And that’s if I win the fight. That blows me away. You don’t look like you’re jonesing and I know you well enough from the diner that I know you aren’t mentally ill. Is that quick temper the only reason you’re out here?”

“Fuck you.”749 Relax and Succeed - For every minute you are angry“Yeah, that the anger I meant. What’s that for? I’m trying to be nice.” I’m still really calm. I start putting the stuff back in the bag. I’m acting almost offended because that will be unexpected and it’ll force him to rethink things to try to figure it out. I continue.

“You whip that anger out at strange times buddy. I get that it can be useful to protect ourselves sometimes, but I’m a pretty nice and helpful guy. Your angry approach makes you treat me like an enemy. What, is all that just out of habit? Is this what frustration or a lack of trust looks like for you?” I point to the bag as a reference. “Anyone who loses track of their choices is going to lose track of their life.”

“I’m not angry, people are fucking dumb.”

“That is what most angry people assume, yes. We all think that sometimes. And it’s true. I myself am an excellent representative of being fucking dumb sometimes.” I can tell he’s got a lot of us-and-them going on. He sees me as above him so I take the opportunity to mimic his language and concede some weakness. “I am fucking dumb so much more regularly than I’d like. But hey, we all have our thing right? That’s my thing. That’s my version of your anger. That’s my dumb choice.”

He starts to help with the bag. “I don’t choose being angry.” He says it angrily, but there we go. Now at least we’re rolling.749 Relax and Succeed - Remember thisI slowly look over at him like he’s crazy. “Uhh, duhhh. If it’s not you choosing it who is?” I can see he doesn’t have a good answer. “Dude, everyone’s got a personality and a personality is nothing more than a collection of how we respond to life. Tortured people try to make challenges go away. Being healthy just means accepting that crap and finding the best way available. I agree. It sucks a lot of times, but that’s how it works. I’ve never met the person who thinks their life went all-good. But your responses are in your control. You can still accomplish a lot with that. You can be less angry.”

He challenged me. “And you think my problem’s anger…?” It took me a second to realize he meant it as a question hidden by pride.

“I just don’t get why you would chemically torture your own mind by thinking such angry thoughts when there’s a zillion other things you could have thought of instead. I mean it’s not like the angry thoughts or words ever changed anything right? Or if they do they were most likely to change me from coming out to be nice to me feeling threatened, which doesn’t do you any good. Angry thoughts just get the angry brain chemistry flowing. We all do it, but you can’t blame people for thinking it’s a little strange that you would pick that response so often. Sure, occasionally. But not all the time. Not out of habit.”

“It’s not my fault, people are fucking assholes.”749 Relax and Succeed - Today was the absolute worst day“Duh. Do you think? I just told you I’m one pretty routinely. You are too.” I motion to the alley around us where the stuff was scattered. “But what? You figure you’re the only person who has to deal with that? No offense buddy but it’s time to put on your big-boy pants. You’re not talking about avoiding assholes, you’re talking about avoiding life.

“I’m on the road every day with assholes who aren’t even looking at the road. Sometimes I even have to pick up recycling that some asshole has hurled around my alley for no good reason.” He’s quiet until we’re done. He just stands there as I re-tie the bag and put it back.

He very obviously has a question but isn’t sure how to ask it so I kill a ton of time tying. Finally he speaks. “I can’t help it if I’m angry.”

“Look buddy I’m seriously sympathetic. I am. I’m sure some ugly experiences lead you to use that for protection and I’m sorry whatever that shit was ever happened. But again: you pick how you feel. Don’t be less angry for other people. Be that way for you. The world won’t need to punish you for it. The being angry part is the punishment.”

Almost as an afterthought I add, “You need to get more aware of how you’re choosing to feel.” I say this like it’s some key everyone got that he somehow missed out on. And this works because I know he genuinely feels that the rest of us have some special thing inside us that he doesn’t –so many homeless have told me that.

If he’s like them, he’ll want to know the thing that keeps us off the street. The thing that he’s missing. The thing that keeps him down. So for maybe the first time I feel he’s really listening, like it’s now just a plain old conversation between equals. He finally says, “Pick how I feel..?”

“Yeah, you know –using your emotions. That’s what they’re for.” I’m casual as hell because I’m lying. What I’m telling him is actual what enlightened people do, which is currently a tiny percentage of the population. But hey, why make him just functional when we can make him healthy? So I tell him this is what “people” do.

749 Relax and Succeed - If you listen to your body“Getting angry feels crappy, right? The crappy part is what’s telling you to stop thinking the crappy thoughts. That’s why I’m confused. It’s a pretty simple system and you almost function as though someone never explained that part to you before. If it feels painful, stop doing it/thinking it/saying it. Even if we’re just talking to ourselves. If the thoughts hurt we should stop thinking them. Suffering = stop thinking. If you try it and practice it, it’s pretty easy. I’m sure you can do it.”

By this point I’ve made my point and he needs to keep his pride, so I can’t leave him to exit the conversation or he’ll have to rise back up again somehow to prove he’s stronger and that’s what I’m trying to avoid, so I end it. “Hey, look, uh… I’d like to keep talking but I’ve got a friend who’s gonna show up right away. Thanks for the help with the bag. Have a good one buddy.” I shake his hand which really surprises him. As I head back to the house he waves and says a nice goodbye.

Every time I’ve seen him since he’s looked a bit less angry and at the very least he’s always nice to me. And I’m sympathetic because we’re all variations of him. We all have some simple choice we could make that would massively change our lives. The question is, what is it and do we feel it’s really worth it for us to change it?

Figure that out and if it’s really worth it, then whenever we can we should just make that choice instead of what we were choosing and we should practice that until its our new habit. Voila. And yes, it really is that easy. It’s staying conscious of the choosing that’s the trick because emotions can blind us to our wisdom.

So, knowing that, let’s all go have an awesome day as much as we’re able, let’s try not to hurl our emotions towards others for no good reason. When we can, let us lead by example. And let’s all appreciate the roofs over our heads. Many in this world are not so fortunate.

peace. s

Other Perspectives #52

606R Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Magic is all around you

Quotes like this can seem fanciful and silly to people who see themselves as realists. They would talk about science etc., but of course most of modern science involves a great deal of inference, so our imagination plays a major role.

Some of the newer discoveries—as has always been the case—will be proven slightly  wrong and will be replaced by more complete theories later (in science, a ‘theory’ means they feel as certain as we could ever hope to be). But we will never come to the end of knowledge because our expansion breeds more expansion so, the more we know, the larger the universe of things-to-know gets.

So even in science we must always keep our minds open to possibility. If we do, then the world can know “scientific miracles” that revolutionize science itself—and that will happen simply because someone believed they could do something outside of the bounds of current science, which is also sometimes known as magic up until we learn how they did it.

606R Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - All men dream but not equally

Tribal cultures who still live their original ways are comfortable with the idea of a Shaman’s knowledge being born out of magic. A supposed example played out in the film What the Bleep?! makes the case for how their magic can be been seen by us as the sort of logical conclusion that science is. But it needs the Shaman’s imagination and willingness to believe to happen.

In this story, the native north american’s couldn’t see Columbus’s ships because they didn’t know what ships were. It was said that, until the Shaman had seen them and told the tribe that ships exist, no one else in the tribe even tried to see a ship. They just saw a blob on the horizon and they settled for that.

Because the Shaman believes he can know he keeps staring at those shapes until he slowly forms the brand new idea of what is vaguely a big canoe, and then eventually clipper ship. Once he has it in his mind he carries the necessary authority with the tribe to convince them something is true. Believing it, they they actually try to see it and, believing it’s possible, the ships sail into their consciousness.

That is no different than the remarkable story of Daniel Kish, except he’s a shaman for the entire world. If you haven’t listened to the detailed story of Daniel that was featured in the most recent Friday Dose, then please take a little less than an hour out of your life and spend some time really meditating on what this documentary is saying. Because this is a documentary about a blind boy with literally no eyes who neurologists agree can see. 

Read that again. Science agrees that; because this mother believed that her son could make his way in the world —because she just blindly believed there was some way that he would be able to make his way safely and comfortably— Daniel was allowed to simply follow his nature and that alone lead him to the miracle. It wasn’t that she taught him something miraculous —it’s that her fears didn’t impede a miracle from naturally happening.

606-relax-and-succeed-any-meaningful-thing

His abusive estranged father was what lead Daniel’s mother to decide to never operate out of fear again. And so because of that mother —and even strangely because of that father too— Daniel became the first known blind person who could literally see. He’s even better than you. He has no colour or distance vision but he does have night vision.

So the real question is, what is anyone’s parenting saying to their child? Are we constantly steeling them against, and preparing them for, fears and worries in life? Or is our parenting just assuming kids are capable and that success is virtually inevitable?

Do we understand that there is no reason to parent toward success? There should only be an effort to not have the parent’s fears invade and shape the lives of their children. From there their own version of success will emerge from the ensuing confidence of the child.

Please listen to the documentary and please really do consider how our parenting is shaping children. Because fear-based parenting only does one thing: it breeds fearful, incapable and very very small people who constantly feel overwhelmed by the world.

Let’s not teach our fears to our children, because a fear of heights or water or dogs doesn’t start at a young age, it gets taught at a young age by a person or an experience. One and a half of those is avoidable, so it’s worthwhile slowing down to look at each bit of parenting we’re doing and ask ourselves what is it really teaching a child?

Are we teaching children to be safe, or did we just teach them to think of themselves in painfully limited ways? For kid’s sakes, please listen to the documentary. She had every reason to worry, but because she didn’t let that stop him, he became great precisely because he needed to be. And that power lives in all of us.

peace. s

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The Friday Dose #52

605FD Relax and Succeed - The greatest thing you'll ever learn

This is one powerful Dose. This is unusual in that usually I use the Doses to distract our painful thinking with fascinating things, but if we’re looking for something short and inspirational just shoot straight to the last video. But…

The first three entries work as a group and they’re there to demonstrate that children will shrink or expand to suit our expectations and that the difference between the two can be incredible.

These postings are longer in nature, but collectively they are extremely powerful and the one on blindness will almost be unbelievable to you. You can listen online or download the podcasts. This combination of offerings is brilliant and they’re designed to intersect in such a way as to have the sum equal more than the total of the parts, thereby exposing a larger idea about belief and its importance in all of our lives (even the non-religious).

This coming week I’ll be talking about the parenting process and how many adults get so caught up in superficial details and general busy-ness that they forget what parenting itself actually is.

Parents are teaching us quite literally how to be in the world. Kids don’t learn these things as word-based concepts, they simply learn it by watching their parents in the world and by believing what their parents tell them. So in the case below, some kids parents allowed their kids to walk to school but some other kid’s parents felt that that was too dangerous and so they called the police. It’s quite the discussion:

The Debate Over Free Range Parenting

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Next we’ll meet the least fearful parent ever. But that lack of fear resulted in a bonafide miracle. And I mean an actual miracle. Because if a parent can smother a child’s life with the belief that they’re constantly in danger, this incredible mother helped create an actual miracle by believing in her son so much that he became the first blind person that ever developed the ability to actually see. And he’s taught other people to believe it too.

Now, when science watches them navigate very clearly around a room just like a sighted person, despite that their eyes do not work, the scientists see that it is their visual cortex that’s guiding them just as it would for a sighted person!

What we believe about ourselves changes us for better or for worse. So we need to be be extremely careful about how we talk to ourselves.  Please take the time to download the podcast or online stream this incredibly inspirational documentary that just gets more and more amazing the longer it goes:

How a mother’s belief literally made a blind boy see

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If you’ve listened to that documentary already then you know how amazing it is. And that stuff doesn’t just happen with blindness. World-famous percussionist Evelyn Glennie was deaf by the time she was a teenager. But all hearing really is, is your brain interpreting the vibrations of the bones in your ears.

Evelyn couldn’t do that, she learned to listen with her entire body and that turned her into the first-ever “deaf” student to attend Britain’s top music school. Fortunately, along with challenging our definition of “deaf,” Evelyn also plays for during the talk. Enjoy:

We’ve all had a turn at feeling like we don’t fit in. Well here is a wonderfully inspirational video about how one small change in what we believe about ourselves can make a massive change in our lives. You could do something like this in your life today. You’re worth it. The only question is, what’s it going to be and when are you going to start? 🙂

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Don’t forget you’re awesome. And so is everyone else. So have a great one. All the best.

peace. s

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