Minding My Business

I’m new to The Work of Byron Katie, but the little I do know about her philosophies on life has stuck with me.

I was recently advised by my mentor that during times of worry and stress, I must stop and consider whose business I am actually concerning myself with. Is it mine? That of others? Or is it God’s?

My personality and experiences have somehow shaped me to become a naturally worried person, constantly fixated on people and circumstances which are mostly out of my control. I seem to have a heightened awareness of people who need help and situations that need to be managed, whether or not I’m responsible and even if I’m under-qualified. Ironically, being a passionate problem-solver often burdens me with problems.

In the times I cannot find solutions, provide support or unintentionally make things worse, I worry about falling short of the moment. I worry about what others think of my failure to serve when the moment (or person) needed it most.

I wonder if this is something most creatively-driven people experience. Because creative people by nature are curious, introspective and yearn to contribute and have their voices heard. We seek validation for the skills and ideas we bring to the table. We want our involvement to have an impact, we want to feel like we matter.

Perhaps it’s also because those of us pursuing creative ambitions are taking the road less travelled. There’s uncertainty in the unconventional. There’s risk in non-conformity. There’s fear in the unknown. We become more susceptible to judgement and criticism because success isn’t as commonplace in our ventures; well, society’s typical understanding of success anyway.

Just the other day, I logged in my Facebook account to check in on friends and past acquaintances. It’s a dangerous activity for a part-time insomniac (or maybe for us all, in general).

Of course, there was many a life update to peruse: engagements, anniversaries, new babies and travel adventures. Some photos so effortlessly candid, others so intentionally beautiful as though in a magazine.

I found myself leaning more into self-pity rather than contentment for people I once called good friends, with whom I interacted every day, with whom promises to keep in touch were made but never kept. A spiral I’m sure many of us are familiar with. Theodore Roosevelt meant it and was so very right, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

In this headspace, I questioned why I was battling these emotions, especially when I know there is much to be grateful for in my life. The answer: I had been unnecessarily occupying myself with the business of others.

Not one thing appearing on my feed as I scrolled mindlessly and endlessly, was of direct relevance to me. There was no substantial reason for me be on Facebook. I was expending my time and energy without intention – no post idea, no specific message to send or person to connect with. At that particular moment, I simply had no business being there.

The path of creative entrepreneurship can feel very lonely and desolate, but if it’s the business you’re meant to be in, you’ll discover the reasons why it’s worth the journey. You only have to keep walking, step by step.

The rest, well, I’ll leave that up to God.

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