What I wrote yesterday about not being able to make the optimum choice – of course it’s not so simple, and there are a million varying degrees of disempowerment.
Say I’m doing a job that bores me, but the people I work with love me and treat me and each other with respect. Or say I’m doing something because I believe it will lead to what I desire. How do you weigh up the pros and cons? How do you leave something that is half working for you, or sometimes working? How do you know whether the part that wants to leave is the healthy and empowered part, or the part that doesn’t want to meet challenges?
I don’t know the answer to that for anybody else. I just know that for myself I’ve spent most of my life doing work that was everything from distasteful and boring to abusive and nightmarish (no, it wasn’t prostitution, thank God, although I nearly got sucked into it once). And I can’t do it any more. I can take it for a short period, but I can’t sustain it. If you can imagine being dragged down a dirt road, tied to a rope. The dust choking you, your skin being rasped off your body. Imagine how you’d struggle to free yourself, how intolerably painful it would be. That’s what it’s like for me emotionally when my need gets exploited, or I’m doing something that doesn’t stimulate me. I want to jump over a cliff.
And the older I get, the more unbelievably precious time becomes.
I also know – and I’m not saying this is true of anybody else – that my choices have been dictated by my not knowing I could engage in the world at a level that thrilled and fulfilled me, by not believing that the people who did engage at that level would want to know me or even interact with me. I presumed – and I wasn’t aware of any of this – that the world and all the people in it would despise me and treat me the way I’d been treated as a child. So I drew into my world those kind of people.
People who needed someone like me to step on so they could feel okay. So thank you universe, thank you my own soul and spirit which wanted something different already, I found my way out of that existential conundrum.
But man, have I had my fill of exploitative, boring and unfulfilling jobs! For the rest of my universal existence I don’t want another one. Not for a second. I’d rather face my fear of starvation and absolute material deprivation. Because – here’s the thing – it’s just a fear, it’s not a reality. And every time I face my fear, let myself feel the emotion, express it, etc. my fear doesn’t become a reality.
How do you get to experience something unless you claim it? When I was first introduced to the idea that I’d made choices even as a child to accept emotional deprivation and abuse I rebelled like a wild animal, spitting and snarling – I didn’tHow choose anything, I couldn’t help it. Same thing with everything that “happened” to me from then on until only a few years ago. All the bankruptcy stuff, none of it was my fault, it certainly wasn’t my choice. Are you kidding? I didn’t ask for it.
Then slowly, as I developed the capacity to not judge myself, and as I began to really understand what causes behaviour, I began to be able to see. I did make choices. Nothing happens until we make a choice, one way or the other. I wasn’t able to make different choices than the ones I made – not as a child or as an adult – but the ones I made were mine. They stemmed from my own ignorance.
It’s not even hard to acknowledge it any more. It’s just what it is. Sometimes I can see it without feeling anything, sometimes it hurts – I want to go back to the child that I was, to the young girl and adult who so desperately tried to make something of her life, I want to give her what she needed back then. But I can’t. That part is over. All I can do now is grieve, and know that it doesn’t have to be like that forever. The past doesn’t have to dictate the rest of my life any more.
Logic tells me that if choices made primarily from fear and ignorance of my worth and entitlement drew abusive circumstances and relationships into my life which reflected very accurately the reality and dynamic of my inner world, choices made now from the knowledge that I have value and worth, and from a broader understanding of how life works will draw nurturing circumstances and relationships into my life.
Choices in small things, because the small things are what accumulate into the big.
I was absolutely wrong about not being welcome here any more. I’m glad I chose not to elaborate on that speculation, it couldn’t have been further from the truth. That fear and the road my imagination was tempted to take, were about me. I’d been very emotional and had let myself risk being truthful, and the assumption which formed in my head was that I’d be punished. I wasn’t.
Instead of choosing to believe the idea that I’d be punished, I chose to believe that I couldn’t look into the future, and that I hadn’t done anything wrong. It’s okay to be emotional. I didn’t use my emotion to abuse anyone, I didn’t dump.
The result was that I had such a fantastic day yesterday. By the time I’d finished writing my blog I was already in a great space. I walked to the internet café via the beach. Tide was out, and the most amazing colours were reflected in the wet sand, it was gorgeous. Families and kids were playing and having fun. There was just a whole lot of happiness and pleasure around and in me.
Then, wait for it, I got to the café to post my blog, and got two divine, affirming responses to my blog! YESSS I did! It was such a stroke, it went straight into my heart and lit up my world even more than it already was. I also realized that just because people aren’t leaving comments doesn’t mean they aren’t reading.
I look at the qualitative difference between the strokes of love and money. Yes I want to earn well from doing work I love, and I’m eternally grateful for being able to ask my mother, and have her say yes, even when she doesn’t want to. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like doing it, I long for it to be over. I long to be in a position to pay her back. But the money itself relieves the pressure and the panic and of course buys me food, but I don’t feel elated by it.
Not the way I felt elated yesterday when I got the two responses which were packed with care. With love.
There’s no comparison.
I haven’t always known this. There was a time when any money, no matter how much abuse I took to earn it, lit up my world when I received it – especially when I was running my paint effects business. I’d work like a slave for anything from three to six months, doing whole huge houses with double volume entrance halls and a million bedrooms completely on my own – walls, ceilings, furniture. Being at the bottom of the pecking order in the décor world, getting very few strokes, utterly physically exhausted. Then at the end I’d get a big check. I’d be wild with excitement for a very short time, but it never lasted. In fact, it got scary real quick – what if this all I ever get? What a nightmare. I thought if I really made a lot of money I’d feel safe. Doesn’t happen, does it?
In those days I didn’t even know what qualitative love was. My experience of it had been so distorted and my own barriers to letting anybody in were too strong.
Now I know. “The quality of love is not strained, It droppeth like the gentle rain upon the place beneath.”
Yes, yes, I know Shakespeare wrote “mercy” instead of “love” but I think it was probably a misprint…