How ya doin'? How's the world treating you? It's all up to you, you know. Some folks will look into the garden, the garden that is our world, and see flowers. Others just see manure. The secret is that a person will probably see what they expect to see. The world is like that, like a mirror. It will reflect what you show it. What you're really seeing out there is you.
I wander around now and then peddling some of the books I've written. Something I've done in restaurants, where management will allow it, is put books on the tables with a label on the cover, "Placed here courtesy of - etc." and that "Books are available for purchase." Many people tell me they enjoy reading my books while having coffee or lunch. Great. Some may buy a book for themselves or maybe as a gift for someone else. Some don't but they enjoyed reading them anyway. Enough books have been sold so that I am not in the hole publishing them and I get satisfaction from having people read and enjoy what I have written. I guess it inflates my ego.
I once proposed leaving some labeled books in a motel-restaurant that had my books for sale. The person I suggested this too said, "Don't leave them lying around. People will take them." Maybe they were right. There are folks who, in spite of the label saying "please do not remove," will take a book. It's been my experience though that, although some books have disappeared, there hasn't been that many. I usually wind up replacing books because they get dog-eared and worn looking. (I must be a heck of a good writer?)
If you look for manure in life's garden, that's what you'll see. If you look for flowers, you'll see flowers. That mirror out there is a reflection of what you're expecting, what you're showing it. Now we're not gonna be Pollyannish about this. There are folks who are more akin to the world of raw nature, of animals, believing that life is dog-eat-dog and the first bite counts. Somewhere along the way that was the lesson they learned. That's too bad. That sets them up to fail as human beings. They'll never attain real happiness. True down-deep happiness, real satisfaction comes from what you do FOR other people, not to them.
All human progress occurs when we cooperate with one another. When the Declaration of Independence stated "all men are created equal . . . with certain inalienable rights . . . Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness," that's what the "equality" refers to, the right to seek out life, liberty and happiness. All men - and women - are not actually created "equal." I might be better lookin' than you are. You might be smarter than I am. Your daddy or momma might have more money than mine. In the spirit of "equality" though, of keeping us all on a level playing field, we have agreed to laws that discourage some of us from taking advantage of others of us.
Laws can't cover everything though so we also have generally accepted standards of behavior; taking turns, standing in line, holding the door for someone, respecting one another's right to privacy, you get the idea. We don't choose to live by the dog-eat-dog rules of raw nature. As Katherine Hepburn said to Humphrey Bogart in C.S. Forester's movie, "The African Queen," "Nature, Mr. Allnutt, is what we were put here to rise above."
Just because a rogue few of us bend - or break - our accepted laws or standards of behavior shouldn't condemn the rest of us to live that way. Success in life comes from the enjoyment of living, of cooperating with each other for the common good, from gaining the respect of intelligent people and earning the affection of children, by creating a flower garden or redeeming some social condition and always, always remembering to laugh. Each of us should strive to do what we can where we are with what we have. Try your best to make the world a better place. Look for the flowers and you'll discover that image you see in life's mirror will be a whole lot better lookin.'
Editors note: Ben Mukkala is a local author whose several books on life and living are available in bookstores and gift shops or through his web site, www.benmukkala.com. You can contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.