Not my Circus, not my monkeys: words to live by

Not my Circus, not my monkeys: words to live by

When you feel yourself getting pulled into other people’s nonsense, repeat these words:
Not my Monkeys!
Not my circus!


I shared this polish saying on Facebook the other day and got a cracking response.

This really resonated with me, as it is something at was taught to be, by a small Gypsy boy, in a zoo in Edinburgh over 7 years ago. Let me explain…..

I used to work on cracking little projects with Gypsy and Traveller young people, as a consultant, for Save the Children Scotland. On one of these projects, we took the project participants (otherwise known as a bunch of kids) to Edinburgh zoo as a reward for a lot of hard work on a project we were doing. On this trip, evidence of little Meg growing inside of me was definitely reaching button-straining notice-ability. It was little talked of with the young people as it was “women’s business” and a taboo with Gypsy Traveller cultures to discuss such things. It was remarkably brave act then for this boy to ask me how I was doing and feeling. I was honest with him and said I was a little scared after my son had died a few years earlier (something that was talked about in very hushed tones amongst the group at the time, as many of their mothers, aunties and grandmothers had experienced loss of their children, as they live in poor and often dangerous conditions that are far from medical help).

So this boy, breaking all taboos, looked me fiercely in the eye and said:

This is a different baby”.

I was struck to the core. In the weeks and months to come, whenever I started to freak out about what “might” happen to my new baby daughter, I would repeat: “this is a different baby” and a sense of calmness would come over me.

Years later, a business coach introduced me to Bryon Katie who proposes a very powerful question:

Mentally, whose business am I in?

Bryon Katie, in “Loving what is” says “I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours and God’s. Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our business. When I think, “You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,” I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business”.

What makes this remarkable is that when you really start to look at your worries and problems, so much of your “stuff” is not your stuff at all! It is usually someone else’s or even god’s/the universe’s. Read more about this.

Can I control what happens to my daughter when she is not with me? No, as that is not under my control, it is god’s/the universe’s business and quite simply, not my circus. If I see it as belonging to me, in a realm where I have zero power to keep her safe, I shall be doing myself mental harm. I will be constantly anxious: trying to use my mind to control the flow of the universe and bend it in my favour: funnily enough this doesn’t really work well! So I chose, as much as I can, not to think those thoughts that harm me.

And you? Whose business are you in? Whose drama/whose circus, have you misidentified as your business? Of course: empathise and be there for them, be they your children, your partner or your friends but do so with a clear head and heart. Don’t mistake their monkeys for yours because hell, we have enough to worry about with our own little monkeys, don’t we?!!!!
In Gratitude

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