Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Freedom Train

Sometimes, the silence is deafening.

You think you don't need it, but surprise, surprise! being human, you do. You don't want to need it; you wish you didn't need it, but you do. And instead of receiving it (approval, gratitude, applause) there's just this deafening silence. Oh every now and again someone may throw a word your way, if you're lucky, but mostly there's just silence.

What I've learned over the last five years of caregiving and money managing and money manufacturing (usually by sleight of hand moves), is to applaud myself, to thank myself, to congratulate myself and hope that the Universe sees, knows and understands what I've tried to do. Truth to tell, I only learned the 'pat yourself on the back' trick in the last eighteen months.

I am not about to say that this is easy. I am not about to pretend that it's even enough but I do accept that I have to walk away from the expectations of appreciation. Maybe appreciation is felt, I don't know. Maybe there's no sense of what it is that's being/been done, so there's no belief that appreciation is necessary? Don't know. Maybe this, maybe that, maybe the other. Honestly, I do not know. Frankly, waiting to be appreciated is bad business and it may have caused me to do far more than I should have. You keep doing you see, or at least I did, in the vain hope that someone will notice and commend your efforts. Yeah, well we see how that turned out. Time to cut that loose.

I could wax on about the toxicity that feeling un- or under-appreciated will likely create, but there isn't any real need is there? That's the subscript here that we all know instinctively. It's well researched and documented somewhere....or maybe that's just me?

Some years ago, I tried to *help* my family by making moves to settle an old family estate. A long-dead relative's final will and testament had been probated by my mother and since I was now her legal representative, I thought "Hey, let me finish this up and settle this." Um yeah. Bad idea. Another relative, who didn't appreciate the direction I was taking, threatened legal action. Twice. For the first time, in all my doings, instead of silence, opposition was as loud as a thunderclap. It would be funny if it weren't so unfunny. At least I was assured that I wasn't invisible. I had begun to wonder.

Clearly, there are only two responses to the work some of us do: silence and roars of disapproval. I've had them both. I'm not sure which is better. What I've decided is that I'm going to do the best I can and I'm not waiting for applause. I know what I'm doing, I know what I've already done. I know how much heavy stuff I've already lifted. No one need applaud. No one need think I've shouldered the planet like Atlas. I know what I've done and I know the chaos in which I would now be standing if I hadn't. It's OK.

I think it's a sign of adulthood that I can stop seeking the approval of others. It ain't easy but it must be done. Next stop on this Freedom Train is saying "No. I'm not doing that." That's next. Stand by.

Harriet Tubman is alleged to have once commented that she would have freed thousands more slaves had they but known that they were. Message received Harriet! Now that I know myself to be enslaved by the need for approval and appreciation, I'm singing Marley's Redemption Song and "emancipat[ing myself] from mental slavery". Message received. Choo Choo!! This train is leaving the station.

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