“If it is peace you want, seek to change yourself, not other people. It is easier to protect your feet with slippers than to carpet the whole of the earth.” Anthony de Mello
When I read this during my morning meditation it really hit home. Whenever I get riled up about something it is usually because I can’t control a person, place or thing that I am attempting to. If I only realize in the moment that great childhood toy that riddled me so, and has become a symbol for my life philosophy, the hula hoop. Everything inside my hula hoop, I am responsible for: my thoughts and actions. Everything outside the hula hoop is none of my business. The only thing I need to do is change how I respond (inside) to events (outside) in my life to change how I perceive the world.
I can be as happy as I choose to be, simply because I have control over how I respond to any situation that I am presented with in my life. Usually the times when I am most upset are when people are not living up to my expectations of how I believe they should be acting. It is a dangerous slope to be on, for it gets slippery with the slightest of moisture added, whether by sweat, blood or tears. I’ve been learning that if I want to remain on stable ground, I need to be more aware of where I am at, and a little less concerned with those around me and where I believe they should be.
The times of biggest challenge for me to live out the philosophy of self-awareness and acceptance of everything else are when I am physically not allowing my well-being. After waking up at 6:00 am with my back in a knot, I knew there would be some challenges to maintaining my hula hoop boundary today. But as the day progresses, I realize that it’s ok for me to focus more on self-care today than the care of others. That doesn’t give me a license to me an ass, but it does give me the opportunity to be more inward focused, just for today. And for that realization, I am grateful.