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Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self  in education

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  • Mick Scott

I got out of the car and starting filling the gas tank. I then looked out across the parking lot to the busy road and to the cars driving by. I heard the noise of engines, felt the bite of a chill breeze, and I couldn’t see any plant life.

Yet I saw beauty. I heard beauty. I felt beauty. The colors, shapes, textures. They all occurred to me as beautiful.

I experienced perfect peace and harmony. There was nothing misplaced, wrong, or off about the scene, about the world, about other people, or about myself. Everything was perfect. Even in the motion and the sounds around me, there was a stillness, a clarity, and a perfection.

That moment was perfect.


And then I saw it, moving in from the sides of my vision. I saw the filter of my judgment. The “this place is ugly” judgment, the “we’re wrecking the planet” judgment, and the “what an unhealthy place to live” judgment. And like raindrops falling upon the windshield, they blurred my vision of the scene a bit.


If not for my critical thinking, I would perhaps see it everything as perfect a bit more easily, a bit more clearly.

The unseen truth is that everything is already perfect. If not for my critical and judgmental thinking, it is indeed all perfect all the time. That moment was perfect, and this moment is perfect too.


“Whenever you are suffering, your suffering is contained in a single thought: ‘I don’t like this.’” - Rupert Spira

Everything about my past is perfect. Everything in my present is perfect. My future will be perfect. I am perfect.


This is true for you too, dear reader. You are perfect.


Yet perhaps you’ll shrug this off. Perhaps you’ll think it’s woo woo, naive, or incorrect. After all, nobody’s perfect, right?

And through the lens of critical thought, I’d agree! How could we progress if we think things are already perfect? Isn’t it condoning injustice, inequality, inequity, and iniquity if we buy into the notion that all is already perfect?


Except…it is perfect. I am perfect. You are perfect. We’ve simply bought into someone else’s notion that we’re not. We’ve bought into someone else’s thinking that experiencing perfection would make us lazy, that it would make us arrogant, that it would stop progress, that it would condone the unethical, that we’d never want to change if we thought we were perfect.

Here’s what experiencing myself and others as perfect does to me: it fills me with love, gratitude, and inspiration. It inspires me to care more. It inspires me to give more. And it untethers me from conventional thinking that only shows me conventional pathways.


I’m going to be unconventional. If unconditional love is what I’m committed to, then I’m going to start there. I will love this moment as it is, in all its colors, sounds, and expressions. And I will love me too, just as I am. I will love you too, just as you are.


Someone made up that nobody is perfect. I'm making up that everybody is perfect.


So what do I do about my critical thinking that sometimes clouds my vision? I love my critical thinking too. It's also perfect - I’m grateful for it! It has one job that it does relentlessly: keep me safe. It’s looking out for me and my well-being, assessing and evaluating, describing and labeling.


I thank it for sharing, and I refocus on my commitments.


Critical thinking is a helpful tool that every school aims to train its students in. Let’s not think that it’s the only thinking tool we’re capable of. What might society look like if students were trained to see beauty and perfection in what’s right in front of them? To find evidence for the perfection in others? To look forward, imagine worlds never before envisioned, and create beautiful, enjoyable, and satisfying paths to get there?


Relax your body and relax your mind. See the perfection in yourself, my friend. See your perfection, and then give that $#!t away.


Than you so much for reading. ❤️


P.S. If you'd like to see beyond your critical thinking to a whole new world of possibility and creativity, let's talk.



Good reasons aren't good enough

In the fall of 2020, when our kids’ school went back full-time and masked, all students and their families had to agree to a community agreement. The agreement stated that we would follow certain guidelines in our personal lives to ensure the safety of our school community.


All parents of students in one of my son’s classes received an email from a couple other parents. Their families had broken the community agreement by participating in activities outside of school in ways that the agreement prohibited.


Their first sentence was clear and straightforward: we broke the community agreement, and we apologize for putting the community at risk.


The following three paragraphs of the email, however, went on to justify why they did what they did. They had excuses. They had reasons. Those excuses and reasons were valid enough to them to break the agreement.


Here’s what they were saying without really saying it directly:

“We broke the community agreement and put the community at risk. We apologize for getting caught. We were much more interested in having a good time than in honoring the agreement. In truth, we don’t value our word enough, and neither do we value this community enough, to adhere to an agreement that we promised to uphold. Our desires to have fun are worth more to us than our personal integrity and the integrity of this community.”


That would have been a great email! It would have been honest. Instead, they pretty much said all of that without saying it directly. Their actual email was a bunch of pretense intended to tug at our humanity and have us see them as sincere parents trying their best.


Instead of restoring integrity in the situation, the message propagated a message we've been swimming through in our culture since we were born: it's okay to dishonor your agreements, ignore promises, and cheapen the value of your word, as long as you've got good reasons to back it up. Our culture has a small view of integrity and responsibility, and it has consequences.


I'm not judging the parents who wrote the email. These are great parents - successful, loving, extremely generous. It's not immoral that they didn't really take honest responsibility. It's completely normal that their message sounded like it did. Normal and ordinary.


The challenge it brings up, however, is that ordinary being gives us ordinary results. The opportunity of living with integrity is extraordinary being which gives us extraordinary results.



Feeling bad about it doesn't restore integrity

Often we feel bad when we dishonor our agreements. We somehow think that feeling bad, guilty, or stressed makes up for not honoring our agreements. It doesn't.


The flip side of this is that many of us do things we don't want to do because we don't want to feel guilty about it. We'd rather sell out on ourselves and our own sense of integrity than to risk hurting someone else's feelings. We'd rather feel ashamed than guilty.


This leads to people-pleasing.

This leads to martyrdom.

This leads to passive-aggression.



A different perspective on integrity

I think of integrity as an alignment of my inner and outer worlds. It’s truthfulness at the level of being.


Being honest with myself. Being true to myself. Being authentic and courageous and honorable with myself.


AND being honest, true, authentic, courageous, and honorable in my words, in my actions, and in my relationships.


None of that has integrity in the personal realm:

  • When we resist or avoid our actual feelings, we’re lying to ourselves.

  • When we justify our actions with excuses, we’re not honoring ourselves or our word.

  • When we hold onto regret, we’re imprisoning ourselves.

  • When we continue to reinforce disempowering stories about ourselves, we’re lying to ourselves.

None of this has integrity in the realm of relationships:

  • When we agree to things that we don’t really mean, we’re lying to others.

  • When we come up with excuses for not honoring our word, we’re lying to others.

  • When we buy into others’ excuses for not honoring their word, we’re selling out on our relationship and our community.

Integrity makes possible the extraordinary.


It allows us to rely on ourselves and the word we give to others.


It allows us to rely on others and the word they give to us.


Acting with integrity seals up the cracks and gaps in who we've been to ourselves and to others. It reinforces a foundation of self-respect and respect of others. It's solid ground from which we can propel ourselves into the future - a that matters to us, the people we care about, and the world - empowered and unbounded.


A future of the extraordinary.


Talk isn't cheap, my friends - we cheapen talk. And that's exactly what our excuses and justifications do: they paint a picture of inevitability and helplessness when it comes to honoring our agreements.


Living a life of integrity may at first seem challenging and hard, but you'll find after a little practice that it's not. Try it and experience the fuel it feeds your actions, your results, and your soul.


Thank you so much for engaging with my work. ❤️


P.S. If you're inspired by what breakthroughs that integrity might cause in your experience, relationships, and results, reach out and let's see what clarity and power that working together might awaken for you.

  • Mick Scott

Over the last year, I’ve uncovered an extremely powerful tool to eliminate suffering and cultivate love, compassion, ease, and enjoyment. I call it The Ladder to Unconditional Love. It’s based loosely on the Hawaiian prayer Ho’oponopono.

When we're dealing with a situation, person, or thought that leaves us with a stuck or uncomfortable feeling - like fear, anxiety, despair, frustration, anger, resignation, or hatred - we can place ourselves on one of the rungs of this ladder to increase our awareness and open us to a more compassionate and loving feeling.


It doesn’t matter which rung we go to, though I find that the lower rungs are easier than the higher rungs when it comes to dealing with stronger emotional reactions.

Here’s the ladder and the reasoning behind the first few rungs (there's an example of my use of the ladder at the bottom of this post):


“Forgiveness of Other”

We hold onto things that cause us suffering! We feel crappy, and then we blame others for it. It’s like drinking a poison and hoping the other person dies. This rung of the ladder loosens the grip on us of our judgments of others, and allows us to put the past in the past. A powerful result is that we open up to compassion no matter how other people show up. This creates space for us to engage with others intentionally by being responsible for our own feelings.

“Forgiveness of Self”

We hold ourselves to high standards, and we beat ourselves up in small and large ways when we don’t show up the way we think we should. We don’t realize it, but throughout our lives we’ve been building a stack of evidence for how we’re not enough. This rung of the ladder opens us up to self-compassion no matter how we've shown up in life. This creates space for us to show up authentically and responsible in our lives, and it gives us access to living a new narrative.

(Here’s a slightly deeper dive on forgiveness that I wrote last May.)

“Gratitude”

Most of us can imagine the value of gratitude. It not only opens us emotionally to a more loving feeling, but it also triggers our brain to release dopamine in even the most challenging situations. It trains our brain to associate challenging experiences as a reward, and it warms us to others and ourselves while moving us from being a victim to being a creative agent in our lives.


(Here's a slightly deeper dive on acknowledgment that I wrote in April 2021.)

This ladder isn’t meant to condone inappropriate actions. It’s not meant to let others or ourselves off the hook. It’s not meant to make things easier and more positive (though that usually happens). It’s not meant to avoid dealing with uncomfortable, awkward, or inappropriate situations. It’s not meant to keep us small and safe.

This ladder is meant to put us in a place of personal power. It’s meant to help us let go of what bothers us so we can access the deeper parts of ourselves - what we really want, what we really value, and what we’re really committed to.


As long as we live our lives as a reaction to situations, people, thoughts, or feelings, we are living our lives at the effect of our circumstances. Living at the effect of our circumstances is living a life of suffering.


The Ladder of Unconditional Love puts us in the driver's seat of our experience, and it invites us to generate positive emotions. Our mood affects our perception, so loosening the grip our circumstances have on our mood is a way to bring more of ourselves - our brilliance, our creativity, and our innate wholeness - to our circumstances.


Pick a rung, any rung. There's no right place to start. No rung is better than another.


The people in your life are worth it. You are worth it. Unconditionally.


Thank you so much for reading. ❤️

 

Here’s an example of how I might use the ladder:


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