Making Changes

Hello! It’s a holiday here a student had a very big breakthrough yesterday and it was so inspiring that I felt like writing to you even on a day off. Besides,we’re right in the middle of our discussion about slowing down our moments enough to allow us to escape from unnecessary egotistical suffering. Today we’ll draw meaningful distinction between suffering and pain. The former you can do something about, the latter you simply accept and feel.

869 Relax and Succeed - Be kind to unkind people

Okay let’s say you’re dealing with someone you love and care about a lot, but someone who often makes you angry. Maybe it’s your kid, maybe it’s your parent, maybe it’s a sibling or an important friend. These are the sorts of relationships where no matter when someone asked you, you would always know that in the end you would forgive the person. Maybe not the behaviours, but the person is ultimately accepted without conditions. Despite that they can still be exasperating for any number of valid or invalid reasons.

So you’re in the process of yelling–notice I don’t care about what. No matter why I’m doing it the route out is the same; you must alter the direction of your thoughts. You can’t go somewhere and ask for adrenaline and then take it and complain that you’re all worked up. You asked for it!

Same with the anger you’re feeling. Anger is always masquerading fear, so your anger is really worry that you won’t be able to keep paying these prices. You’re concerned your loved one will go beyond the limit of your life. It makes sense you’re afraid and that you’d have angry thoughts about how the person isn’t cooperating with something so obviously good for everyone involved. And that frustration would impact your voice. Fine. That still doesn’t mean you want to stay there. It’s generally not useful and it’s unpleasant for you. That’s suffering not pain.

869 Relax and Succeed - Be gentle with yourselfIf you’re going to think the sort of thoughts that are resistant to what is, what was or what may be, then you will suffer. To bump harshly into the walls of ego can be helpful though. For instance: you catch yourself yelling at the loved one. Your impulse is that you should make yourself stop, but instead I would suggest that you simply watch yourself getting upset.

Understanding will change your behaviour not effort. Your ego is yelling. With this meditation you’re focused on keeping some consciousness with the watcher–the real you, the creator of your ego. Once you recognize that the story you’re telling yourself is colouring your feelings about it, go back to recalling the connection you have and the person you’re angry with.

Look at them while you yell at them. Know in non-word terms that it’s true that you will always love that person. From there you will naturall realize that the current ugliness between you can only be a portion of your journey together, so why not make it as brief as possible for no other reason than selfishness? For no other reason than it feels better? Why not just take the pain but leave the suffering?

That is personal freedom. Taking responsibility for your thoughts to the point where your selfishness creates increased happiness, which increases gratitude, which in turn makes us generous and then our problems end up being solved in surprising ways by things like love.

869 Relax and Succeed - Yelling silences your message

Once you’re watching yourself semi-regularly you will be able to stay more aware by choice. You’ll have experience over time, so you’ll know with quick confidence that if you’re yelling you must be lost. I know it sounds strange but you can interrupt any emotion just by knowing you don’t want to feel it. Just that desire is like sticking something in the spokes of a moving bike.

If you’re thinking that desire into existence then you can’t be simultaneously using your thoughts to create the undesirable issue. That single step away from your ego allows you to redirect the course of your consciousness onto more productive things, no different than you tune a TV to get different types of shows. You never have problems. Your mind is just sometimes tuned to a painful channel.

As you get better, once you’ve stopped yelling and are in touch with some loving feelings you’ll be more able to take some action like call a friend, cuddle your pet, or dive into a hobby etc. Slowly your wisdom will creep in where the anger was taking up space and you will be able to move toward more thoroughly loving feelings. You’ll also find many more constructive ways to face your challenges.

Yes this benefits the person you’re yelling at, but do this because you love and care about yourself. I’m an action guy. You don’t get better thinking about how to be better, you get better by taking different actions than you have been. These are the actions to take within your consciousness. Fumble through them and learn them until they are entirely natural. That knowledge and practice is the never-ending path to peace and wisdom.

peace. s

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

Angry Words

You’ll see how quickly people are ready to believe bad versus good: someone can date someone for months, they can meet their parents, get to know their friends–but then there’s that day when you see the angry for the first time. The person snaps. Sharp words come out loudly.

818 Relax and Succeed - We build too many wallsThe fears and insecurities drive the brain chemistry that in turn drives everything from the volume of the speaker to the choice of words. And yet despite the fact that the anger is an indication that there is fear, people will tend to say phrases like, I finally saw the real him/her, or when she/he was angry I saw their true personality come out. True personality?

First off, personalities are something we perform, not something we are. So there is no real or hidden us–we are simply one thing for a while and then another thing for another while. You’re this person in this context and this person in another context and that’s what people know as you. But none of those is us. They are things we do and say.

So why then do worried souls concern themselves with waiting until the secret’s out when the same behaviour could easily be seen as she’s usually really nice, I’m not what sure what’s going on right now. In the latter we’re just noting a new or rare behaviour. But how do we make the leap to it’s a secret identity?

Why would we see someone function for maybe 6 months, over 4300 hours, and yet out of those 4300 we see 2 that are unpleasant and we conclude we’ve discovered the person’s secret identity? No. You haven’t found a secret. You’ve just seen how they get mad.

818 Relax and Succeed - The enemy is fearEveryone’s mad looks different. Some people scare you with their look or silence. Others scream and protest. Some hurt themselves and some hurt others. But the vast majority of people just act mean and say terrible things because they feel the need to equalize.

If two people’s vibrations as beings are too far apart then will naturally want to harmonize. This is connected to the reason that women who live together will start seeing the biological alignment of their cycles. It’s why if you see people laughing you’ll eventually laugh, and if you see people concerned you also feel concerned.

The trick comes when one person is vibrating at a healthy rate and the other person has been removed from a context that feels comfortable, and so they are vibrating in a scattered and uneven way. To get the two people into alignment, the scared, angry person will deliberately cause damage not because their secret’s out, but because they will feel safer with that alignment.

Obviously if someone is hitting you or verbally abusing you on a regular basis then that is not healthy for either party and you should make careful plans to escape. But if you just saw your 6 month relationship lose it and you think you’ve exposed some secret personality then you’re paranoid, not keeping yourself safe. Because everyone does this. This only question is how.

Do not see other people’s anger and frustrations as being about you. They are admittedly ugly, aggressive and even scary requests for love. But they are not windows into how the person really is. They’re just really scared. Act accordingly. You’ll both be much better off if you both seek peace rather than trying to calculate whose behaviour was better.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #3

722 BY3-14 Relax and Succeed - I'm sorry for passing

Because I had started the year answering direct questions, that left me only six months to choose from and still it was difficult picking just three favourites. I had to leave out The Master and the Priest, Directing Your Life and Because We Love The Children. But that also means I really love the three I do get to bring you. And we’ll start off with this little piece of practicality: How about if we all just gave each other a little more room to be human? Enjoy.


Winner: Scott’s Favourite Blogs of 2014 #2

peace. s

Scott’s Favourite Questions of 2014 #3

717 SFQ14 Relax and Succeed - You have no idea

The top posts of each year are selected by my readers and they’re posted in December. My selections for my favourites were traditionally posted then but I’ve realized it makes more sense to use my summer break to expose what I feel are some of the most useful pieces I’ve written. Because I took half of 2014 to answer direct questions from readers, I’ll do a week of Top 3 Questions and then next week I’ll do the Top 3 Posts. Today for question number three we deal with anger, tempers and how our family can influence us in extreme states of mind:


Scott’s Top
Questions of 2014 #3

peace. s

Changes of Perspective

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year #8

People are often surprised when I say I don’t change people but that I change their awareness. They wonder how that can help if, for instance, a couple doesn’t change whatever behaviour patterns are leading to their difficulty. I would agree in the cases of physical or emotional abuse, but there’s not always a need for anyone to change their behaviours so long as better understanding exists. Things will never be perfect, so it’s important in any relationship that we have ways of dealing with the harder, darker parts of our partner because every partner will have those, including you and me.

629 Relax and Succeed - The truth is that the more intimately you know someoneI was trying to think of a good example of how this awareness affects your perceptions of what’s really going on and how that awareness makes your responses much wiser and more informed. I was surprised to run into such a good example. A client reminded me of one insight that he and many other clients have noted as being very helpful. In their cases, each of them found their relationships improved a great deal when they had a better understanding of lalochezia (lalia, speech + chezō, to relieve oneself). It’s often used in a medical context, but it’s how–when you’ve hit your finger with a hammer–screaming a swear-word can actually help you feel better.  In those cases, yelling is an attempt to equalize pressure in much the same way that a race-car is designed to have parts fly off to help dissipate accident energy. It can be a good method of quickly getting rid of unpleasant and negative chemistry.

A recent example of where an increased awareness of this helped someone was a very quiet and relatively diminutive boyfriend who was struggling with worry because he found his girlfriend’s angry screaming so threatening. His parents were British and went to the right schools. If anything life was maybe a tad cool, but it was always highly civil. He’d seen plenty of cold shoulders but he had never heard a person yell at their partner until he started dating.

His wife on the other hand came from an embattled house where the parents and children routinely screamed insults at each other. The boyfriend knew her family as much closer and warmer than his, so when they shouted at each other it always felt like violence to him and he would shrink back in fear. I was fortunate enough to be on the phone with him one night when she went off on one of the rants he dreads. Having finally heard one myself I was able to meet with them and help them a great deal.

629 Relax and Succeed - LalocheziaI explained to him that there were two types of yelling and insults. One is cutting and deeply personal and it’s designed to hurt the person listening to it. This is the very lowest and most destructive form of exchange. Fortunately there is also a version of yelling and even insults that is almost therapeutic. I explained the concept of lalochezia to him and then told him about this example:

Before he moved away I used to have a friend who would phone me on occasion. Sometimes he would call and say, “Hey do you have a moment to talk? I’m upset.” And I would ask him if he wanted me to change the course of his thinking or should I let him be angry? Sometimes he would choose the latter.

On those days it felt better to him to express his anger so he was looking for a safe place to do that where no one would get hurt. How respectful. So on those days I would tell him to go ahead and then he would start complaining about whatever had first upset him. If it was bad, he would chain it into other problems and in the worst cases he would even start attacking me. But when I say worst case I don’t mean that I was attacked. I mean that he felt so horrible that he attacked someone I know he knows loves him. That made my heart go out to him. And that is precisely my point. By having this empathetic view, what would make a lot of people angry instead made me even more compassionate.

629 Rel ax and Succeed - Hurt people hurt peopleSo why not demand that he behave better? Because then I’m asking him for something and he’s already in trouble. If I do that I want to be right rather than wanting peace with my friend. I’m not mad. I feel good. By demanding that the other person grow a whole new personality you are throwing away a gift.

There’s a dude yelling at me, bringing up mistakes I made five years earlier and saying those events define me as this ugly thing or that useless person and am I getting angry? Do I feel attacked? No, I’m in love with my friend and I understand. And I know how much he appreciates that he has this freedom with me and that after he calms down he’ll remember I’m the only friend he has that can do that. Eventually he burns the chemistry out of his bloodstream and rather suddenly he’ll shift. We’ll both be able to tell it happened by the sound of his breathing and his voice. I’ll ask him, “Are you good?”

He’ll take a moment to be sure. “Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s it. Thanks. Everything okay for you?”

He wants to make sure he hasn’t hurt my feelings. He hasn’t. “Yeah, hey, no problem, but I gotta go okay? I’ve got a deadline.”

No problem. Thanks again. I owe you one.”

629 Relax and Succeed - try not to confuse attachment with loveWe’d hang up and, despite the fact that I just listened to negativity and anger directed toward me personally, I would still feel good that I had been useful to a friend I love and care about. His day was better because of our friendship. That feels good. The yelling didn’t make my day worse. It made it better. That whole thing took 15 minutes. 15 minutes. Things are what you think they are. And, in a beautifully poetic way, by calling me in that state of mind where I could model the opposite State of Mind, wouldn’t you know—he started absorbing that state himself. So the thing I would have tried to force into him via convincing ended up there naturally through listening. Voila.

So it’s important that I teach a client to take stock of the reality being experienced by the person they’re talking to, because they cannot apply their reality to the other people’s reactions. They have to listen to the type of angry words they’re hearing and make sure that the situation isn’t the opposite of what they’re assuming. Rather than them needing protection it may be that their partner than needs love and support.

Only with practice can the entrance to that process be as clear as with my buddy and I, but if you know this is what to listen for then you can watch for these situations shaping up throughout your day. Once you identify that they’re struggling, you go voluntarily right down there with them and then your natural buoyancy reminds them of their own. You feel where their energy is at and you harmonize with them and invite them higher, to greater perspective and more internal peace. But you do that by simply staying strong in the face of their experience. Just be sanguine and in love with them, regardless of what they say in that crazy State of Mind. I swear, they’ll love you for it. Just make sure you start bowing out as soon as it stops feeling like you’re doing something helpful.

Much love, s