I really wanted them to leave me alone.
The other day, I was sitting in a restaurant trying to write and get my work done. It was especially busy and loud. Not the normal chatter that I find comforting and inviting. There seemed to be a group of children who were running around, screaming and hitting each other. Right by my table.
I wanted to say, “leave me alone,” as well as a few other words, but I held back. I didn’t think it was appropriate.
The adults in charge of these children were engrossed in a conversation and completely checked out. At one point, the kids knocked into my table. I was concerned someone was going to get hurt, but since I was the only one who seemed to be worried, I let it go. I didn’t see any blood.
As time passed, I was starting to get annoyed. I was completely distracted. I wanted them to GO AWAY.
Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?
But, then I miraculously remembered I was the one in control of my emotions. It seemed like I had two choices: get up and leave or ignore the situation. I’d already ordered my food and didn’t want to leave. Hopefully, their parents would round them up soon, since it seemed they were done with their meal.
Once, when I was visiting Charleston, SC, I attended a yoga class. We were instructed to focus on our breathing while the teacher led us through a meditation exercise. We were told to let thoughts that entered our mind come and go freely. It was a challenging exercise, but when someone started playing music right outside the door, it became almost impossible to concentrate. The music was very loud and distracting. Forget trying to focus on breathing.
I’ll never forget how the teacher stopped the exercise and asked, “How many people in here are listening to the music instead of focusing on their breathing?” Lots of arms shot up in the air, mine included.
“I know it’s hard,” she said, “but let this be a lesson to you. There will always be external forces that can distract you. Remember, you get to decide what you pay attention to.” The room was quite as we thought about what she said, and then she continued with the exercise.
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I was reminded of this while the children raced around my table.
I decided to think about the wise words spoken to me during that yoga class. I decided not to focus on the noise and distraction from the kids. I decided to focus my thoughts on my writing. Getting upset and saying something to them or their parents wouldn’t do anything except make me more annoyed.
I resolved to control what I could control: my thoughts, my attitude, how much energy I put into concentrating on them.
I encourage you to do this in your own life. Focus on your goals, think about the big picture, and don’t let little annoyances derail you. Don’t let life’s distractions zap your energy. There will always be external distractions. Don’t buy into them.
Remember this the next time someone is annoying you: you can’t control them, but you can control how you react to whatever another person is doing. You can let it get to you, or you can ignore it, walk away, focus on something else. You have choices. You have options. It’s all on you.
While I really did want the kids to leave me alone, shifting my focus helped me get back on track.
Find meaning each day,
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