A very very interesting life experience went down just the other day and I feel compelled to share it with all of you.
My best friend asked me for some help moving a “room within a room” drum booth for soundproofing and home practice. Our appointment was set, a van was rented, arrangements were made.
Two days preceeding this big job, some family members blew into town and dinner arrangements were made for 6pm the same evening as the equipment move. The invited guests were NY based family (6 people, myself included) and the 2 out of town family members.
We started the move at 10am, figuring we’d be done in time.
Well, guess again…we arrived and were looking at a booth consisting of 15 200lb panels that had to be disassembled, loaded down a flight of stairs, into a van, out of the van, and into another apartment.
I could see at 2pm that I was in trouble. This task exploded into something infinitely bigger than we had anticipated. I called someone who would be there to let them know what was going on, and that I would do my best to be at dinner, but most likely be late.
My choices were, well – leave my best friend stranded with 2000lb of materials and possibly continue the job the next day (impossible because I had a gig that night and this was murder on my hands, and would be another day of $150 van rental) or explain to my family that I was very sorry about the situation and I’d meet them as soon as I could get there.
I figured that my family would say – “Hey, that’s his best friend. We’ll miss him here but he’s doing the right thing.”
Much to my temporary dismay, I became the black sheep. In their eyes, I was the one who dissed the family. I was talked badly about at the table before my arrival. In their eyes they were slighted, and they thought I put a little task and hanging out with a friend before “family”.
I arrived after dessert, to make good on my commitment in a situation that was truly out of my control, and walked into a room with double and triple scoops of dissaproval. I must say, I am dissapointed that “family” would actually delight in my feeling bad or guilty.
Here’s the beauty – the gem – the fruit of meditation and my contemplations. I know my self worth and know I am good. I know I did something out of love for a friend in need. And I know, without the shadow of a doubt that I can live without the approval of my family.
I say this not in a defiant, egotistical, adolescent way; I say it nobly, becasue I sat down at the table feeling good, feeling right – honestly! I looked at the elders and said to myself “it is ok if this person does not approve. I’m ok.”
And then for the 24 hours following, as I reviewed the situation I saw only one viable possibility for dealing with my family. I can sit and breathe in, breathe out and allow them to be who they are. And I can forgive 100% their shortcomings, and see that this event served to push everyone’s emotional buttons, and 8 different points of view regarding the situation churned in these 8 minds.
What they are failing to see is that I would do the same for them – and they might one day be very happy to have a guy with my integrity in their lives. Simply put, their egos got banged up a tad.
It’s as if all of a sudden all these psycho-spiritual things made sense to me. Forgive them. Pray for them. Love them. Even if they are disagreeing with my choices, dissaproving of me, criticizing me. I saw that this was the only intelligent alternative. Allow them to simply be.
I’m free. What used to plague me is losing it’s grip on me. The true SELF that I know watched in awareness of all this, even saw to a future time when all this would be forgotten, and in full intelligence and integrity I knew the right thing had gone down.
The next day I recieved this text message from my best friend on my phone – “You’re a very good friend, Thank You Again”. He and I are always sarcastic and to receive a message this straight brought me to tears – because I know the person behind the message. This is a friend of 30 years who is family to me as well.
The reward is that I am free from the plague of needing their approval. Doesn’t mean I don’t love them, it just means I have my freedom.