The Friday Dose #86

790 FD Relax and Succeed - The eye sees only what the mindThis week the Dose is all about how you see things. We’ve got instructions on changing your perspective, we share a new look at an old world, we see how art can expose our sense of perception and we’ll end with an ad-man talking about perceived value. We’ll start off first with WikiHow’s instructions on changing your mind:

WikiHow on Changing your Perspective


Next we’ll take a look at the world through a variety of perspectives that you may never before have considered. It’s pretty fascinating stuff:

Strange Maps of the World by Buzzfeed


Next we’ll check out a short of video of a sculpture that I can only assume was done by the filmmaker, Gary Bruno Schmid. It really shows you that your perspective can change reality quite a bit:

And for those who are dedicated to the idea of exploring their perspectives and how they might be manipulated, I offer you this TED Talk by sociologist-ad-man Rory Sutherland:

We are swimming in a sea of ideas with a varying perspective. There’s just too much up for grabs for you to be able to have any certainty about what to do so you might as well relax, be yourself and become active in life and see where that leads. You are the genius of your own life. Don’t be penned in by limiting thoughts.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

Healthy Body Healthy Mind

In previous blogs I’ve discussed how the unusual thinking that resulted from my accident caused me to be confused by people’s fear of death and their distaste for being wrong. I also find people approach their physical health in a rather strange way.

789 Relax and Succeed - I workout because I love my bodyWhy is exercise seen as work? Or an obligation? Or that it’s done to stave off aging or to prevent a loss of beauty? Why can’t it be an act of love?

Imagine you have two brains in a drawer that goes through the middle of your head. If you pull it to the one side you’re using one brain, pull it to the other side and you’re using the other brain. It’s called changing your mind. Absolutely anyone can do it at any time.

Now imagine that these two brains are filled with stories. One brain has wiring to take the world and process it as either painful, wounded, debilitating, or sad, and it can lead to feelings of isolation and a loss of enthusiasm for life in general.

The other brain is wired to see everything as a plus. So whatever is input gets processed in a grateful, strong, respectful and happy way. And you choose which drawer to use for every single thought you think.

789 Relax and Succeed - I feel energized and happySo do you want to see your food and your daily exercise as a diet and a workout? Is a restricting word and almost violent one the best way to describe something you do every day? What if you ate and were active as a part of loving yourself? Of loving your body?

What does a quadriplegic miss? What can’t they do in their chairs? These are things you currently take for granted. They see the basic movement of a human body as a gift–as something to be enjoyed. Don’t go to the gym because you hate your body, go because you love it. Treat it like Yoga. Get your mind fully immersed in the movement rather than the stillness.

And why do people find it easy to stick to healthy diets after years of junk food? Because very shortly after changing their diets they’ll notice all kinds of health benefits from how they sleep to how they use a bathroom. Their vision and hearing appears sharper. They feel stronger and they have more balance. And they crave things like carrots and spinach and yes maybe some meat too if in their own experience they reacted positively to it. Don’t let your food be a source of guilt. Honour your body and honour the food. You’re both worthy.

789 Relax and Succeed - You are what you eatDon’t turn your health regime into a cruel dictatorship. Don’t look at food as an enemy, but rather as a lover. Don’t look at exercise as working anything out, it’s instead an exploration of your own physical being. If you were an alien given a space ship you’d want to take it out for a spin and have fun with it. Same for your consciousness inside your body. Take it for a spin. Have some fun with it.

Love yourself like you love no other. And make eating, activity and sleep an honoured part of your day. These are not the things you squeeze in around work. These are fundamental human experiences and for you to be healthy they must be too. Have a wonderful day.

peas. s

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

The Subtlety of Racism

A while back I was contacted by a very conscious individual. She was a blog reader of mine and she had managed to make many changes in her life that were very beneficial. One of the things she had gotten quite good at was feeling her day. Every student has their own way inside what I’m teaching them and that was hers. She was good at ignoring her word-based illusory thoughts in favour of focusing on her feelings.

788 Relax and Succeed - Love and compassion are necessitiesThat ability to sense herself and her emotional reaction to her day lead her to an awareness. What initiated her call was that she was developing a consistently negative reaction to any Muslim woman wearing a niqab (the face and head scarf), or for that matter even a hijab (the head and neck scarf).

She knew the feelings were coming from her thoughts but she felt so strongly about the subject that she was unable to alter the course of her anger. It’s no secret to anyone that world tensions are a bit high and that in the most general terms Islam is seen as some sort of general threat. This plays out in big and obvious ways as in the case of governments or even armies. In smaller ways it plays out in everyday life, as with this woman.

I started off by noting the very un-racist-like reaction she had to her concern that she might be racist. She’s a very conscious mother and she didn’t want to teach her children to judge others based on appearances and she knew they learn from your actions not your words. Wise mom.

788 Relax and Succeed - Darkness cannot drive out darknessI simply explained that she had a firm narrative about the scarves and that we needed to replace it with a natural, real empathetic connection. The woman was clearly a feminist and so I offered examples of two feminists I know who have chosen to cover their faces with a niqab.

The first is a very classically beautiful, slim, high-cheekboned elegant woman who was raised by very spiritual parents. Back at home her parents would have been considered hippies. And her husband will laugh if you suggest he has any sort of control over his wife. He’s not that keen on her wearing a niqab himself but he respects his wife and he knows she takes her spirituality very seriously–and one aspect of it is humility. Inner beauty is what is valued and the ego is to be suppressed. On top of that, as a beautiful woman she wants to be sure she is succeeding by her abilities and not her appearance. That all sounds pretty healthy, doesn’t it?

Like the liberated woman sitting in front of me, the friend who wears the niqab does not believe that a woman should be judged based on her appearance and yet study after study proves that from dating to job prospects, that still happens. She also wants to respect herself as a creation of God. If you’ve read my previous post Loving Balpreet you’ll know that this is similar to the Sikh practice of allowing the body to exist as a creation of God’s, without any intervention–including haircutting or shaving. It’s a sign of respect for inner beauty and natural holiness.

I also added that my friend never needs to purchase or apply makeup when she goes out. That raised some eyebrows in envy.

788 Relax and Succeed - The cultural icebergThen I also told her about another friend who left Canada to move to the arabian peninsula. I told my student about how I asked that friend why she chose to wear her niqab. She very confidently noted that as a 240lb woman in Canada she found men never paid any attention to her, but where she lived she was often asked on dates and treated very respectfully. She felt she was being valued for her personality and not her appearance.

In both cases the women subscribed to the idea of the niqab as an expression of their values, not of oppression. It wasn’t that their husband wanted them covered, it was that they valued human spirit and expression more than appearances–these are the exact same values my student extolled to her children and the same ones most of us say are noble.

In the end the niqab is much thinner than a winter scarf. It’s certainly not a barrier to these women being able to see each other for what many of them really are: true feminists. Once my student could see that connection between her and these seemingly different women, her veil of thought made no more sense and she dropped it in favour of her new awareness.

788 Relax and Succeed - Before you assumeIt’s important to note–had we not intervened in that thinking when we did she could easily have expanded the narrative of her incorrect assumption into a full blown story that would result in bigotry and hatred. And she would then have taught that to her kids. It’s that easy. We all need to be vigilant.

We all love everyone. If you think you can’t love and respect someone and you really want to grow spiritually then I would suggest you look more closely at their life. Because if you do so honestly and openly you are certain to find someone just like you. Someone who’s had to overcome great hardship and who has felt great love. Our differences exist only in our thoughts.

The woman left feeling comfortable that she would no longer create the negative reaction that had been attached to her thoughts. With better understanding came empathy and from that came connection and a lack of desire to judge. It’s really that easy. You’ll see that if you try it. ;-)

peace. s

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

Living vs Happening

Nina and Dani work together. Both are attractive single women in their mid-30’s. Nina’s not very focused on a relationship and yet it seems she’s constantly dating. Dani wants nothing more than a relationship and she barely leaves her house. What’s going on?

787 Relax and Succeed - Too blessed to be stressedThe simple answer is: Nina appreciates and Dani wants. Nina feels lucky every day. She moved to Canada from a very poor country so for her turning on a tap and getting clean water is a pleasure. She’s warm and safe, there’s a police force, the government isn’t dangerous, and she’s never worried about her little sister getting raped and yet that was her main fear growing up back home.

Nina feels lucky and it’s written all over her face. As she looks to and fro she sees things she is so grateful for that it lights her face and voice right up. She has bountiful amounts of energy and she’s always volunteering for charity groups at work, she’s very active in her community, and she invites her friends over often and it’s rare when she doesn’t accept an invitation too.

Nina’s life is busy but it brings her into contact with so many people that–even though she’s not really looking for a relationship right now–she still accepts most offers for dates because you never know. She’s always ready for her life to get better.

Dani’s family integrated a long time ago. Clean water and safe streets are nothing new to Dani and so she takes all of that for granted. In fact, she’ll even go so far as to mock people who try to value those things because she’s never walked down a street or slept in her bed and felt terrified. To her safe, warm and fed are normal.

787 Relax and Succeed - Your mantra is thank youDani’s dream isn’t something vague like freedom. Hers is detailed. She knows exactly what kind of guy she’s looking for. She knows what kind of ambition he has, what kind of personal look, and she definitely wants someone her friends and family will consider a good catch.

Dani however is frustrated that she hasn’t been able to find a match to her dream. And as she’s aged she’s watched some lines creep across her eyes, her naturally svelte figure is now a bit more lumpy, and her mid-level administration job has turned her wardrobe into little more than a source of pockets.

For Dani it’s the same monotony every day. Her same dull uninspiring boss, the same tasks, the same drive home, the same packaged dinner and then she’ll exhaustedly tour through a few dating websites in the hopes of finding someone for Friday or Saturday.

Meanwhile Nina finishes work and then races over for her free meal at a nearby hotel where the social team is putting together the company Christmas party–even though Nina’s not even Christian. She laughed when she got there because the meal was the exact same thing she ate last week when a guy from the volunteer association in her neighbourhood took her out to thank her for her hard work.

787 Relax and Succeed - Plant your own gardenWhen men look at Nina they see a vital, engaged and awake human being. Someone who lives each moment as fully as she can. She says yes a lot. Meanwhile Dani says no a lot. She’s always got reasons that she can’t enjoy her life. She’s an expert at providing them to the point where she can not enjoy it even when it would be easy to enjoy.

Nina goes out with men because it seems like it would be fun and it’s rarely unpleasant. Dani sits at her computer looking at profiles wishing she had a life. While Nina is living Dani is wishing. Nina moves past her sometimes initially tired reactions and she goes toward life. Dani always champions her tiredness and says no.

Your life is beautiful because you make it that way. Appreciation is an act not a result. If you’re complaining about your life it’s time you looked at it for the opportunities you are almost certainly squandering every day. The question is, will you find them and will you do anything about them?

Start today. Make fun a priority in your life. That’s how it happens.

peace. s

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