** A re-post, from November 2012. Still as true, in essence, as it was when I first wrote it (links have been updated).
A dear colleague/friend thanked me extravagantly the other day for who I am & what I do. I’m well aware that I’m a person who is much, much blessed. I have a lot of people in my life who love & appreciate me. I have meaningful work I love – & enjoy so much that I do it without pay!
But you see I am paid: I’m paid in appreciation. The work I’ve done for the past 20+ years (environmental activism & writing) is so engaging to me that I’ve done most of it without a paycheque (& yes, thankfully at times there have also been some paying gigs).
But all along the way, I’ve known that my efforts have always been (still are) much appreciated.
I think some sort of little (or actually big!) miracle happened for me along the way. In the wake of a huge personal life disaster 17 years ago, I took up the gratitude habit (being actively grateful for this, that & the other thing; many postings on this blog about that; many are listed here) – & I am regularly actively grateful for much, much indeed and, I am simultaneously much appreciated.
It’s magic! Or it sure seems that way to me…
None of this has anything whatsoever to do with the official “economy.” It operates outside that realm entirely. And as you can see, it’s a rather magical, circular phenomenon, hmmm?
Unfortunately, I do not have a magic wand at my disposal. I cannot make this work in anyone else’s life. You have to create or invoke it in your own life, yourself. It works from the in-side out, not the out-side in. It’s your own creation.
I don’t think it matters at all who you are, or what kind of work you do. For example, a woman just came by where I am sitting (at a coffee shop in a mall, the sort of place I love to hate) – to sweep up some stuff on the floor. And I thought “Yup. She too can do the gratitude thing, & be appreciated for what she does.” It will work for anyone! (If she had looked my way, she would have seen that I was smiling at her; even a smile can make you feel appreciated!)
The process merely requires sincerity & faithfulness. And practice. Lots of practice. Practice makes perfect!
So while I'm going to have to start earning some money soon (new life phase approacheth), I’ll keep right on being grateful, &, I suspect, feeling appreciated.
I sure do wish this magic for all of us on Planet Earth!!
p.s. I've hung around with quite a few teachers in my life. Teachers (in Canada, anyway) are paid a pretty decent salary (well, not compared to bigshots in industry – but let’s face it, some of those dudes are a little overpaid…wouldn’t you say??). I’ve known a couple of teachers really well, & I know they were grateful for their salaries…but also that it felt especially wonderful when a student or colleague let them know they were appreciated. Paycheques are delightful, & they sure do help pay the bills & all that. But they are rather poor at conveying appreciation. We human beings need to feel appreciated. It’s very very important for our mental health!!
p.p.s. & needed. We want, & need, to be needed. At least I am pretty sure this is true...
‘Quote of the day’ with this post: “In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but the gratefulness that makes us happy.” – Albert Clarke, quoted in Speak Peace in a World of Conflict – What You Say Next Will Change Your World, by Marshall B. Rosenberg. (more quotes & postings about gratitude here.)
Runner-up: “We can no longer have everything we want, but we can be more than we ever imagined.” – Howard Jerome, quoted in Life, Money & Illusion – Living on Earth as if we want to stay, by Mike Nickerson [italics added by me, for emphasis]