Where Are You Looking?

There is an old story about a drunk who lost his keys.  A policeman sees him searching for something under a streetlight and asks what he lost. He tells the cop he lost his keys, so they both look.  After a few minutes without coming across the keys, the policeman asks if he is sure he lost the keys here, and the drunk replies, “No, I lost them in the park”. Of course the policeman is dumbfounded and asks why he is searching here.  The drunk replies, “This is where the light is.”

Apparently, he chose the simplest place to put his focus in order to find what he wanted.  But it was not even close to where the keys actually were.

How many times do we search for something where it is not?  For instance, if I want a better relationship with my husband, sometimes I focus on what HE is or is not doing that would make my life better.  He takes it for a long time before he finally gets frustrated with me and then we have to talk about what is really going on.

I forget that the answer is not with his behavior.  If I’m upset because he doesn’t pick up his things, it’s not his problem – it’s mine.  And that is very difficult for me.  Somehow I’ve always inherently understood that if I want to have a clear head and heart, it’s much easier if my physical environment is clear.  My husband – doesn’t really care about that.  He literally can sit in a room surrounded by all sorts of “stuff” and be happy.

So occasionally, he has to remind me that it really is my problem.

How do I deal with this?  Sometimes, not well. None of us enjoy to be confronted with our own character defects. But when I am able to feed my spiritual being by exposing myself to information and music that inspires me, physically working out, eating right and meditating, I can usually get myself back to a place where I recognize where my focus needs to be: 1) on my own anxiety that is stimulated by the surrounding “mess” and what I can do differently to make peace with the situation, and 2) on what he DOES do to make my life better in so many ways.  My happiness does not depend on him; it’s up to me to find it where it is – inside me.

When we put our focus on what we DO have in our lives, rather than what we don’t have, we can begin to move forward towards freedom and peace.

Eckhart Tolle says, “It’s almost a joke, how humans live – how they look for something where it can never be found.”

I’m pretty sure my need for a clutter-free house and my husband’s lack of enthusiasm for that may never quite be resolved for me.  But we’ve made it over 49 years together in relative peace (most days), so I think we’ll survive.  As humans we are always under construction.  That’s why we’re here – to experience ALL of life’s little joys and pains, and the bigger ones – and to grow from them.