"Mind your own business!"
-- My mother when I was a child
My Life Lessons
This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them to words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.
Life Lesson #10
Pay attention to my work. It is not my work to change anyone.
How prophetic my mother's words sound to me now, but back then I just ignored them and paused until she left the room. Albert K Strong says it a different way: "If you don't want to see, don't look." Thoreau said it a bit differently when he said, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."
I have known many people, some intimately, who pay so much attention to what other people are doing or saying. I was in that club myself as I recall. Usually it was considered negative things like whether or not the neighbor down the street is watering or mowing their lawn, or how long that car has been parked in the driveway without moving, or removing trees, or their kids running around, and the list is pretty much endless.
It seems like the more we focus on what other people are doing that is not what we like, the more of that we see until we are almost constantly upset. But, I chose to not look, or at least not give it any of my focus. I cannot help but see when my eyes are open, because it is light entering my eyes, but I don't have to pay any attention to it, and I have 100% control over what I decide to think about it.
This also applies to how people act in the grocery store or at work, church, the bank, the special place you're at on the weekend, the child crying in the restaurant, and all the everyday kind of situations we go through. What will I choose to focus on? Though I look, what will I choose to see? Do I want to be upset, angry, disappointed, or do I want to enjoy myself, have a good time? Great questions to ask because that is exactly how it is. I get to choose what I see, what I think about it, causing my emotions to tell me how I feel.
My work of minding my own business is to focus on me and how I want to feel. If I put any energy toward all the things that by my own judgment are going wrong in the world, there isn't enough time in my entire life to even know them all. By the same token, if I put any energy toward all the things that by my own judgment are wonderful, or doing well in the world, there isn't enough time in my entire life to even know all of them. But, I know which of those will cause me to enjoy myself, have a good time, and feel good, and which will not. My work is me. Not them.
Why should I spend my life worrying about other people and what they are doing or not doing? Why should I spend my life worrying about all the stuff in the headlines? Or the President and Congress, or the economy, global warming, and a world of problems? What good does it do me? Let me emphasize that phrase, what GOOD does it do me?
My work, my business is my own alignment with me and I have purposely made a decision to want to feel good as much of the time as possible, so I will choose what I decide to see, what I will think about it, and consequently how I will feel.
"You Empower What You Fight. You Withdraw Power From What You Release." -- Alan Cohen
Spread Some Joy Today--"Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy." -- Thich Nhat Hanh