Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Learning to be interdependent

I realized today that, despite yesterday's post, I still have concepts about being independent. I don't like to receive something unless I am working for it or giving something back in exchange. Otherwise I feel the burden of indebtedness, and I am not willing to be in dept to anyone.

This morning a close friend called me, who knows that money is tight for me right now. Like me, he has written a book about his journey, that is about to be published. Like me, he wants to start a career as a speaker. He was discussing how we could support each other in moving forward. One thing I know that he can use help with is editing, and that's something I can offer. When he offered to help me out by giving me money, I assumed that he wanted to consider it payment for editing. I wanted to feel that I was working for the money.

He didn't agree. He explained to me that with his friends, if one person has money and the other one doesn't, the one with the money helps out. There are no strings attached. The time will come when the tables are reversed and the other person will help. Our relationship, he explained, goes far beyond money. He does not want to lend me the money, nor does he want to give me payment for editing. He is helping me out with no strings attached, and as friends we will support each other in our careers.

Is that the way communities work? I am so used to feeling on my own when I'm struggling with money. In the Matrix you are taught that you are on your own. If you can't pay the bills, it's your problem. You're not working hard enough, you should have gone to school, you're irresponsible, you're not willing to do work you hate, so you suffer the consequences. Friends who have money do not consider helping you, as that would just be co-dependent. So you keep your money worries to yourself, put on a happy face, and say that you're fine when people ask how you are. And more and more you feel isolated, as if you are left adrift on an ice float to die.

My friend doesn't come from an upper middle class "Matrix" background. He comes from a poor background. It seems to me that poor people have more of a sense of community, as they don't have the illusion of being independent. They know what it's like to struggle to pay the bills, and so they have empathy for those who are struggling.

I am no longer afraid of not having money. This is a huge relief. I don't feel ashamed, I don't feel like a loser, I don't feel that I need to apologize for the situation I'm in. I also don't feel that anyone owes me anything. What seems to be left is clarity. Seeing how I bought into the Matrix belief that I need to be independent, and that supporting others or being supported by others is a negative thing and co-dependent. What a clever way to keep us separate and in chains.

Rather than feeling indebted towards my friend, I feel a great deal of gratitude. He cares about me and he is offering to share without getting anything in return. He is showing me a different way of being. Having unplugged from the Matrix, I am not alone. I am surrounded by support that is showing up in many ways. And there are no strings attached.

1 comment:

Mark said...

In reading this the thought occurred to me that love is another word for interdependence. The mechanical nature of the Matrix is really appropriate here, after all it does not understand anything like love and it makes me think of the logic of an eye for an eye, or in this case a buck for ... whatever! But I think everyone in our group would agree with me when I say that true friendship is priceless.