Tending our own garden is to focus our energy on what we can do to make our life better. Over my own life, I have spent countless hours worrying about other people lives. I thought I was helping others but what I was really doing was neglecting my own life. I also realized that people will change in their own time and that meddling in other peoples lives is both a waste of energy and can ruin friendships. I truly believe that people love positive changes but hate being changed by others. We know this intuitively when we see the joy in someones face when they lose weight or learn a new skill. The two most valuable commodities in our lives are time and attention. If we spend our time and attention on meddling in others lives, we lose out on living our own life.
Like I have said before, we must become the beacon of light for others to follow. For example, if we want others to eat a healthy and nutritious diet we have to first evaluate our own diet and see how we can improve it. Let’s focus our energy on fulfilling our potential with the wisdom that others will follow suit in their own time. Forcing others to change is unskillful because it usually alienates people, sometimes pushing them further away from your advice.
“Flowers only bloom when they are ready. People are the same way. You cannot rush or force them to open just because you think it’s time. Be patient.” -Timber Hawkeye
Be patient. Focus on your life. Accept others how they are today and not how they should be according to your standards.
Love does not judge.
Love is not obsessed, attached, or needing of monetary reward.
Love does not keep score.
Love is freeing and open.
Unconditional love forgives even the worst of actions. This doesn’t mean you have to tolerate harmful behavior or allow that person in your life. You can unconditional love someone without them being part of your life.
Love can soothe hatred & fear.
Love is all you need.
“Love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
There is a simple Buddhist parable that I enjoy titled “The Second Arrow”. I really enjoy parables because they pack a ton of wisdom in a simple and easily understandable story. Imagine a warrior being shot with an arrow on the battle field. The warrior can’t avoid the pain that the arrow is causing; what they can control is how they react to the arrow. The reaction to the pain of the first arrow is the second arrow.
“In life, we cannot always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. And with this second arrow comes the possibility of choice.” -Buddha
The first arrow represents the inevitable pain that will be cast upon us throughout life. For example, this pain might be the death of a family member or the loss of a relationship. The second arrow is our reaction to the pain, which brings us the possibility of choice. I find that having a choice in my reaction to pain is both exciting and freeing! We can feel the pain but not react emotionally to it. Instead of complaining, wallowing, or fighting the pain we can accept the pain as impermanent and move on from it. In my experience, this change in mindset can allow us to live a more meaningful and content life. Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it.