On doing an afternoon gig, I encouraged people in the audience who wanted to sing to “sit in” with me. I learned a lot about following amateurs; however, they were able to enjoy some of what I call “sparkle time” and it increased my following which also solidified my employment.
At some point Ernie showed up. He was a professional musician and played piano and sang. He did a good job and it was nice to sit down and let him do a couple of tunes.
The audience came to be like a family with each supporting the other despite any degree of expertise.
As it went along, a few of us decided to go to a buffet restaurant called Morrisons to eat dinner and continue the camaraderie and the happy feelings we had created together at my gig.
And as it evolved, there was a wonderful black band that played at a hotel called the LaPlaya from 9 – 1 am and they allowed “sit ins” also; so we extended the joy even later. I had the opportunity to sit in on bass, the piano and also sing in front of the band without needing to play. We also had some great music to dance to.
This continued for years and Ernie traveled with us. But as is the way of not I’s and how they can take over the mind and influence how we see others, Ernie started finding fault with the people, the music and some circumstances at the LaPlaya. And so he made the choice to leave us after the buffet.
I didn’t think too much about it until he began to find fault with the buffet. The food didn’t suit him even though there was many choices. And so he stopped going with us after the gig.
Now I was starting to get interested in seeing the probability of what would happen next. Sure enough, he then started finding fault with my gig or the audience or whatever the not I’s found to make him miserable. He only kept one friend named Jim. Jim told me that Ernie would call every day with something that he didn’t like.
Jim said he didn’t know what to do about it because when Ernie finished with him, he always had a big headache and now he had a bunch of not I’s talking to him too.
I mentioned to him something I had heard Dr. Bob say which was — tell the not I’s to ‘SHUT UP’!
So the next time Ernie called with his sad and blaming tales; and after they hung up, Jim remembered. He said he stood up with this head full of all he had heard from Ernie and screamed at the top of his lungs…………….”SHUT UP”!
And they did!
From that experience, I have continued to observe people through the years. So often the not I’s start out with some tiny little judgement. When they (the not I’s) have one convinced of that, the one right after that is bigger and this judging and blaming grows and grows until the person has stopped relationships with so many people that his world gets smaller and smaller devoid of people who are much much more than some ideal we have set for how they look, dress, behave, think and believe. I can only apply what I’ve learned to how I am seeing the world I live in from day to day and ignore the petty judgements I hear within so as to see others with agape and understanding.