The degree that you allow someone or something to affect your thinking and therefore your life is the degree to which you are influenced. Gregge Tiffen (Open Secrets: One Original Thought — September, 2011)
On its surface, Gregge’s quote seems simple, obvious, and perhaps, even superficial. That’s the way with truth ‘simple but not easy’ and always, in all ways inviting us to be aware right now, in the present moment.
When I first shared about influencers in a post (http://cindyreinhardt.com/blog/influencers), I wrote about the people who’ve most influenced me in life. I found a common thread among them: they did not follow the pack. Each in their own way lived life on their terms. They didn’t choose a path that the world suggested was what they should do.
And, that is what we are each here to do: discover and follow our individual path, despite the pulls and prompts of family, friends, gurus, politicians, corporations and many other things competing to influence us. To do so demands that we sharpen our awareness of external influences and that we make choices that affirm our path.
Stop for a moment. Inquire and notice who or what is influencing you right now? Then explore. Are those influences supporting you, blocking you, or thwarting you in what you are aiming to accomplish? Did you consciously choose to allow it, or did it creep in without you choosing?
Our challenge is to be mindful and at choice about who and what we allow to affect us.
As I’ve aimed to rise to that challenge, I’ve worked at being able to stay informed of news events without getting caught up in the drama and negative pull that so many in the media tend to project. I’ve explored various media and observed how each impact me. When I overload or discover that I’m influenced in ways that go beyond being informed, I stop and turn to nature (including Cool Hand Luke) to remind me to be at choice.
This week as I’ve experienced a number of breakdowns — appliances stopping in the middle of a project, repair folks not responding to my calls — I’ve aimed to simply handle what needed to be handled, to take the next step, and to let it go. Rather than relying on the world, I’m engaging my trust in the unfolding of life to influence and guide me. Simple, but not always easy.
In the midst of those, a friend called to tell me about something that they want to change in our community. As I listened to the concern and noticed the intensity with which it was being shared, I was grateful for the awareness that I could choose whether to engage AND whether the conversation would influence me after the call ended. I chose ‘no’ on both.
I’ve also experienced calls to ‘come out and play’. A frequent guest at the Dragonfly House who’s in town for a house sitting gig elsewhere invited me to lunch at a time when I was thinking about emailing him to inquire if he would house-sit for me later in the fall. That’s an influence to say ‘yes’ to!
This week I invite you to notice external influences and to make conscious choices about who and what you allow in — moment by moment, day to day, and beyond.