I went for a stroll last night. I thought I was alone, but I wasn’t. As I walked down the sidewalk I heard the sound of munching. I assumed that some type of critter was enjoying an evening meal. It was dark and I wasn’t wearing my glasses, so I didn’t bother looking around. I just ambled toward the community mail box with my Visa payment in hand, ignored my surroundings, and let my brain cycle through its thoughts.
For the most part I enjoy my little musings, just like I enjoy my dreams. But every once in a while my mind gets stuck on an idea or situation that annoys me, and I have trouble shaking loose from it. I was chanting, “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo” and reciting a few affirmations regarding my upcoming book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. In spite of my efforts, a few errant concepts were buzzing around like flies. I shooed them away, but they kept returning, ready to spread their filth on my cleaner intentions.
Part of my annoyance is my impatience with getting my book published. I know that messages of optimism and hope are badly needed, but book publishers have their own agenda and time line. They say later and I say “NOW!” Normally I’m a patient individual, but I am human and I have my limits. Part of my problem is I veered a bit off course with my original intention. The sole purpose of writing the book was to help people, but somewhere along the line, my self esteem got involved in the mix. Every day that I encountered a setback, rejection, or no response at all – I’d get frustrated, angry, or worst of all – sad.
I was making a mistake that I lecture others about – looking outside oneself for validation and acceptance. In my lapse of judgment, I was feeling like a failure because publishers were not jumping up and down to publish my book. The problem is I have no control over what others think or do. If I had good news, I felt great. Bad news and I was upset. This is a very defeating way to look at things because I was handing over my happiness to the whim of others. That’s like handing the car keys over to an impaired driver and then getting upset when the car comes back in a damaged state.
Fortunately, I know better than to indulge in a pity party. Been there, done that, and I know how the story goes. So instead, I reviewed this excerpt from the book (written by my co-author, Jackie.)
"One of the greatest lessons a person must learn is acceptance of self. The acceptance of total responsibility for one's own thoughts, words and actions. This means maturity and loving yourself, filling yourself up with joy. When you have done this acceptance is no longer an issue nor is it important. You have made peace within you and the world around you. You like the person you are, just as you are.
Louie Pasqual, an 18th century philosopher once said "I am concerned about Western man because he could not be alone with himself in an empty room." In effect, this means we need to go inside ourselves and find our acceptance, peace, joy and love and learn to connect with the power within ourselves. Until we are able to do this, we will never truly be happy and whole. This is what releasing negativity is about, starting the journey to find the joy within. The only way to do this is change the way we think and perceive the world and people around us. We must accept the only path that can be changed and improved is through our own efforts and not through the opinion of others."
Back to my stroll (you thought I really wandered off topic and forgot to return, didn’t you?) As I was walking back home, a car was driving slowly by and came to a halt. I thought they were going to ask me for directions. Instead, they asked if I saw the herd of javelina that was in the desert basin. I realized that I had walked by the beasts, but was so intent on my thoughts, that I hadn’t seen them. And it wasn’t one or two of the critters – there was a whole herd – mothers and babies, happily munching on the desert fauna.
I was so caught up in my thoughts (and many of them unhappy thoughts at that!) that I was oblivious to a wondrous sight (and maybe even a potentially dangerous one).
The bottom line is I am more than my back account, my career, my writing, my family and any number of things that I use to identify myself. There are wonderful things within, or right in front of my face, that I can choose to see, or ignore. There is a saying that we can see the moon that is thousands of miles away, but cannot see our own eyebrows without a mirror. The same is true about our inner beauty.
How ironic that it was a stranger in a car and a herd of wild pigs that helped me see the hidden treasure that was there all along.