The other day I was talking with my daughter about my latest ensnared drama. She politely listened, and then wise beyond her years, said, “Mom, not your circus, not your monkeys.” I chuckled at the time at this Polish proverb. She then reminded me that I have my own circus and my own monkeys.
I thought about my circus with a sigh. Despite being the ringleader, I felt a failure at dealing with my monkeys. The lure of another circus where the solutions seem so obvious, fixable and tidy draws me close.
Still, if I were to be honest, nothing is ever so tidy, it just seems thus without the facts, history and complexities that make each situation unique. While my solution may have tangible results, rarely would it be sustainable. Immersed, I feel important, critical to the show.
In a quest to help, I walk away from my own circus where the monkeys are now running amok. I rob the ability for others to learn how to deal with their own monkeys, to create their own unique solutions, where they are aware of all the angles. Its nice to help, though when we become the central ringleader as opposed to a mere bit player and in effect care more, we take away their ability to learn, to grow. Too soon, the monkeys act up and we find ourselves the ringleader of several circuses in town. Large portions of our day are consumed.
We all like to be included and part of the circus, though I’m now content to sit in the bleachers, enjoy my popcorn and learn a novel approach to tackle a situation as I watch the situation unfold.
When the lights dim, I’ll go back to my own circus, whose monkeys I’ve known so very long with a new skill. The show must go on!