Thoughts on the profession

Work v Service

I recently read this article, in which the author talks about things we need to recover from every day.  It’s another in a long series of posts, articles, books and talks about how we do too much and need to settle the heck down so we can hear our own quiet voice of truth.  The first item on his list of things we need to recover from: work. 

So, this made sense to me, and it also made me bristle a little.  Because I love my work.  I’m in a place right now where I don’t yet have enough of it, so every moment of work is precious to me.  But I am also aware that when I had my full practice in Chicago, especially during the short period where I was working at four different places, I needed to schedule in serious self care time.  I don’t want to call it recovery time, because to me that implies some sort of harm was done to me by the work.  I think of it more as integration time, where I can finally take a minute to examine all the moments of the time at work and distill them into knowledge and lessons I can carry.  Maybe even turn some of those moments into stories that go up on this blog. 

It surprised me that I reacted so strongly to the idea of recovery from work.  It is a perfectly sensible idea, and I would have been all about it when I worked in I.T. or Marketing.  (Yes, I did both of those things.)  The difference for me now is how I perceive my work.  It is not so much work to me as it is service.  The work I do to pay my bills and put delicious vegan food on my table is also directly linked to what I feel is my purpose as a human being.  I realize this makes me incredibly fortunate. 

I used to work for a living.  I worked in several different capacities, and some of those I even enjoyed.  Still, I always had a sense of not really doing anything that would inch the world forward in a more compassionate direction.  Now, though, every day that I work I know I have added a small nudge in that direction.  Every day that I work, at least one person feels a little better because of me. 

I’m not thinking is grand scales when I think about service.  When I try, it become overwhelming and then I truly do need a moment to recover.  The things I want to change are astronomical, pervasive, and require long patience.  True service, though, can happen in an instant.  When I let my client cry because she needs to.  When I remind the person in front of me that no part of their body is “bad” or “wrong.”  When my client comes into his massage with a headache, and out of it with no headache and the ability to turn his head all the way to the right.  It’s not going to change all the things i see as big-level problems, but it is going to fulfill my purpose. 

So, I don’t need to recover from work, because for me, work is service and it nourishes me.  I do, however, need time for reflection and integration.  Which I am getting ready for right now.  I am writing this on December 31, about to go into my annual tech shut-down and future planning retreat.  You will be (are) reading this the day after I get back, hopefully full of ideas, plans, clarity and energy.  Ready to work.  And to serve. 

Happy New Year, Dear Ones.

detail from a gorgeous commission completed by my talented friend Maike of Maike’s Marvels.  Check out her work.

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