Sunday, February 24, 2013

"Live for an Audience of One."

"You have to live for an audience of one," Rick Warren (from Oprah's Lifeclass). 

I was struggling with finding inspiration or even an idea of what to blog about today, so I opened up Facebook and perused the recent posts.  When I read the quote above I knew that was it. 

The "one" can either be yourself or God, however you choose to look at it.  But the point is obvious.  Live YOUR life for YOU, no one else.  Only YOU have to live with the consequences, after all.  And only YOU will reap the rewards. 

You know those people who seem like their on stage in front of an audience at all times, right?  It's as if they truly believe their daily life is a performance.  They talk a little louder, act a little bigger, and are constantly looking around to see who's watching.  Those people are living for an audience of millions.

Those types of people may seem happy, maybe even happier than you, but are they?  Maybe they really are, but I highly doubt it. 

The thing is, when you get quiet, go within yourself, focus on the love that is inside you, and then act from that love, that is where real peace and happiness are found.  Our true natures, our inner Love, doesn't need an audience.  It doesn't need recognition.  Except from our own selves. 

In fact, the more of an audience you bring in, the louder you try to be, the quieter your true spirit becomes.  Because you're not really listening to your spirit if you're so focused on everyone and everything else around you. 

If you're living for someone else or something else outside yourself, you're not living for YOU.  For your Spirit.  So that Spirit sits inside, patiently waiting.  Waiting for you to quiet the masses, tune everything else out, and tune into you. 

This applies to every aspect of your life.  Jobs, relationships, family, where you choose to live, activities you choose to participate in. 

If you live for a larger audience, living for others, you may likely choose a job or career because it's expected of you.  It may be what your parents and grandparents did before you, or it may simply be your parents' dream for you.  Or you may choose a job because of the status and what you believe other people will think of you if you have that job and work in that field. 

If you live for an audience of one, you'll choose a job or line of work that you feel in your heart.  You'll like what you do (the vast majority of the time).  You won't dread going to work.  Your work will ignite a passion and happiness within you.  You won't care about status because it's what you want to be doing.

This occurred to me a few times since I've been working at the florist.  I've had the thoughts that other people will think I'm "not doing so well" because I'm working at an entry-level, no-higher-education-required job of merely getting flowers and plants for people.  In fact, since working there, a couple people that I went to high school with, and haven't seen since high school (we weren't friends in high school, but our class was small enough that most people at least knew who everyone else was)... Anyway... A couple people I went to high school with came in to get flowers.  For a split second I felt the wave of embarrassment.  Embarrassed that here I was, someone who was considered "smart" in high school (in fact, I graduated 4th in my class of over 250), working at a florist, more than likely earning less than many of my peers.

But then I remembered why I'm working there.  I'm working there because I choose to.  Because it provides me with an income to supplement my writing income.  And most importantly, because I like the job.

There's no shame in any job if it's something you like and want to do.  I've heard garbage collectors make pretty good money, and they get a good shame in that!

The truth is, there are so many jobs out there.  If you're doing one right now that you don't like and don't want to be doing, at least know that you don't have to do it.  You don't have to.  You choose to.  Maybe you're choosing to do it for very good reasons.  That's fine.  But it's still your choice. 

That's what it means to "live for an audience of one."  Everything you do is ultimately your choice and your choice alone.  Others may try to persuade you one way or another, but it's your choice what you decide to do. 

This reminds me of a song.  I can't remember if I've mentioned this song on my blog yet or not, or posted a link to listen to it.  I know I mentioned it in posts on other people's blogs and in response to other people's comments.  Anyway, this song has been an anthem of mine for years.  It's what I listened to nearly every day on my way to work when I worked as teacher.  It played a part in me finally believing and accepting that I didn't have to continue to work as a teacher, and that is was my choice what I did. 

"The Ride of Your Life," by John Gregory. 
Listen/watch here:
(That's actually a YouTube video for a high school.  It's the first time I saw that particular video, but the song is the same.  I actually thought the video was REALLY good, so I decided to post it instead of the "official" video for the song.  Granted, it's geared towards high school kids, but the message is undoubtedly still the same, and they did a great job with the images and scenes in the video.  I still find it inspiring!)  :) 

A specific lyric of the song gets to me every time:
"In your heart you know what you must do.  You've only got yourself to answer to." 

I reminded myself of that every time I drove to a job I hated.  And at the end of the school year, I walked away from that job and never looked back or questioned the decision. 

The entire song is just amazing, seriously probably the best lyrics of any song ever, as far as inspirational songs go, in my opinion (clearly).  Take a listen, or look up the lyrics yourself.

I'm also pondering "living for an audience of one" in regards to my diet for some time now. 
About three years ago I decided to go vegan (for the second time, but that's another story).  I was all gung-ho about it.  I had seen Alicia Silverstone on an Oprah show, read her book, "The Kind Diet," read "The China Study," I was convinced that I couldn't not be vegan.

Flash forward three years, and I'm now "the vegan" everyone knows.  It's my label with my family.  It seems to come up at nearly every family get-together where food is involved.  The thing is, I'm no longer 100% vegan, and I find myself often feeling like a hypocrit or like I'm putting on a false front.  I'm feeling the pressure to "live up to my label" and be how others see me:  The healthy, conscientious one. 

I would say I still eat 95% vegan.  But over the past six months or so I've relaxed about it.  I still read labels and choose to buy vegan when I go grocery shopping.  But have occasionally "let" myself have non-vegan food items from time to time when eating out.  And I'm still struggling with it, to be honest.

I won't go into all the prolific details here, but it's hard when you feel others are watching you, and see you in a certain way.  I get that.  And that is the precise moment you need to tune them out the most, and tune into YOU! 

I'm still working on this, so if you are too, know you're not alone. 

None of us wants to be a hyporcrite.  None of us wants to feel fake.  How do you not do that?  By being true to you.  No matter what.  No matter what others might think.  No matter what others say.  Be true to you.  If I can do it, so can you!

Be your own audience of one!  And make that audience cheer and hoop and holler, and demand an encore! 

Quotes of the Day:

"You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection."  (Buddha)
"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."  (Earl Nightingale)    
"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."  (Friedrich Nietzsche)      

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