Sunday, September 12, 2010

Your Life's Work

Hello, friends. I know it's been quite a while since I've written. I've been BUSY in the garden this summer. I guess I should write a post on that. I'll leave that for the next entry - the short version is that I've been farming all summer, started a local farmer's market, and I've been working my butt off to keep up. It's been great so far, and it's finally starting to wind down as the summer ends. I'm also teaching part-time at Georgia Highlands College, which I am really enjoying. But this post is not about that - tonight I'm thinking about what I've been reading, and I feel like reflecting on that a bit.

I re-read "Conversations with God" this week, for the first time in about 15 years. It was both interesting and enlightening, so I'm continuing on with the second and third books in the series, which I don't believe I've ever read. Although when I read books like this I often feel inspired and captivated, I sometimes have trouble applying what I've read and understood to real life situations, so I'm thinking about how actually practice the things I'm reading. I wanted to share a passage from the first book that particularly struck me, probably because of all the thinking I've been doing the past year about how I'd like to spend my time and how I'd like to 'make a living.' Here it is:

"Your life work is a statement of Who You Are. If it is not, then why are you doing it?
Do you imagine that you have to?
You don't have to do anything.
If 'man who supports his family, at all costs, even his own happiness' is Who You Are, then love your work, because it is facilitating your creation of a living statement of Self.
If 'woman who works at job she hates in order to meet responsibilities as she sees them' is Who You Are, then love, love, love your job, for it totally supports your Self image, your Self concept.
Everyone can love everything the moment they understand what they are doing, and why.
No one does anything he doesn't want to do."
--From Conversations With God, Book 1, by Neale Donald Walsch

This passage both spoke to me and made me laugh. It's an honest portrayal of how many of us view our world and our jobs, yet we do it without openly stating it in this way. We might work at our jobs for the exact reasons he gives as examples here, but we might also hate them. And feel miserable about them. And talk about how miserable we are. (Or school, or extra commitments, or whatever). The section of the book that this came from is actually about seeking and finding joy, and being happy with your work and your choices. One way to do that is to take responsibility for them - you do have a choice. You always have a choice. So determine why you are choosing as you do, and then be happy about it. Or, if you determine that your choice does not actually reflect who you want to be, then choose again. At least that's what I took from this :)

Also, it's kind of funny how a lot of books I've read this year seem to say the same things. Conversations with God. Man's Search for Himself. A New Earth. Even the Celestine Prophecy, which I haven't read in a while but would like to read again. I have never been a religious person. I've rarely called myself spiritual, for that matter, but I think a lot of the questions that I am asking and exploring this year are of a spiritual nature, and sometimes it feels like the answers are converging. It will be interesting to see where this goes, I suppose. Sometimes I almost feel like I need a support group for this journey - something like a church, but not a church. Unfortunately, my mental associations with churches are mostly bad. In my experience, they tend to be very dogmatic and judgmental, but that view could be biased from my experiences growing up in the Bible belt. I've felt more comfortable reading Buddhist literature or meditating on my own than I ever have in a church. But we shall see...a discussion group, perhaps? My sister just visited a Unitarian church, which I know nothing about. I'm planning on getting the scoop from her. Anyone else have experience with this?

Hope you are all well.


Archimedes Krask said...


Spirituality, to my sense, seems irrelevant to the spaces you're carving into here.

The questioning, the exploration of meaning itself, forces you to recognize & assert your awareness that life as idea, in its most abstract sense, remains ever elusive (like a dog chasing her tail perhaps).

Dogmatics deserve credit for responding to this impulse, but the moment they abandon the complexities of reality, or at least of the mind as experience, in favor of the limits specificity necessitates, they cheapen it (you might say "give up").

I will always prefer art to religion (for in the end both art & religion simply serve the same impulses) because of this distinction: while religion proposes tidy answers that can never truly satisfy our innate recognition of "void" (often mistaken as simple doubt), art merely strives to present the questions accurately.

Offshoot: Work doesn't tidy this quandary up, and it certainly doesn't require affirmation or rejection.

Life isn't really about choices at all: choice is inescapable.

My tangential two cents ...

Carrie said...

I am fascinated. You know this blog would make a good book when you come to a conclusion. If you ever decide that is something worth getting to after all. :)