Before getting involved in someone else’s life we need to ask ourselves, is this my business?

Detachment is simply watching the events that are unfolding around you, getting involved only when your journey is part of the experience.  Not reacting to the people or the situations that so easily attract our attention is not an easy skill to develop.  And skill it is.  We must practice driving and chipping and putting a ball to be a good golfer.  We have to hit thousands of tennis balls against a backdrop to play tennis competitively.  And we have to sit for long, long hours at a keyboard to become proficient at piano.  We would not expect to be very good at any one of these activities without practice.  Lots of it.

But we seldom grasp, until after many failures, sometimes years of failures, that we have to practice and rehearse, again and again, the “art” of not reacting, of “detaching,” from the actions of those around us.  How often we hear or worse yet, say, “ he made me do it!”  WRONG.  No one can make us do any thing.  We have the power to do or not do what ever we do.  That’s the good news, in fact.  We are in charge of ourselves.  No one else.  And no one else is in charge of us, either.  The freedom that accompanies that realization will lift our spirits throughout the day.

Sadly, I spent years being focused on the behavior of others.  I had two things in mind.  One, I wanted to make sure they were not about to do something that would leave me out and second, I wanted to make sure that what they were planning to do wouldn’t embarrass me.  I remember all too well the dozen years of my first marriage.  I was caught up with his every act to the point that my own life barely got attention.  It’s amazing that during that time I did manage to teach school and function almost sanely.  The inner turmoil was the locus of my pain.  And it festered 24/ seven.  When that relationship ended, I still stayed too focused on others.  I had many miles to go before I grasped a different way to step through life.

I live differently now.  I celebrate the journey of others.  I watch and smile, but don’t choose “to coach” the process.  The relief is palpable.  My joy is too.  And the others on my path seem to appreciate my presence much more.  Funny how that works.




  1. You will~ I’m following your blog ~Your writings are a inspiration to me~

  2. I just want to say that all of your blogs resonate with me. I found your book in a thrift shop laying on top of a pile yesterday.It was your first page a day book from 1982. I had a big bill, needed to break it, so I asked the clerk at the counter if he could. I knew i had to have the book, was short on time as well, with a lot of errands to run, and out of the blue he gave me he book, I started reading it, but then I was curious to find out who you were, so that led me here. God works in mysterious ways, and every thing has been laid out for me. All the books I need for this journey, all the people I need to hear, I’m very grateful for your writings.

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