What is work for? Is it just, or primarily, to earn a living? How much worth does a living earned have when it’s taken up so much time and energy there’s little life left to be lived? Is work the measure of a worthy person? Or is the worth of any human being, and any being come to that, something far beyond it’s measurable ‘productivity’.
(This isn’t a new topic for me, check out this post from earlier this year if you want more background…http://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/beauty-a-good-deeds-post-2/
For that matter, how much is Nature ‘worth’? Apparently they tried to put an economic value on nature, back in 1997, and came up with $33 trillion. These were serious scientists, respected economists…
…and I believe they so fundamentally missed the point by even trying to answer that question that I’m shocked into gormless jaw dropped silence. You can’t put an economic value on something as complex, magnificent and profoundly interdependent as the ecosystem of our planet, anymore than somebody working for £6.60 an hour gives you any indication of just how valuable that human being is to their loved ones, their community, humanity as a whole.
I had a job interview on Wednesday, and on Saturday I received a form letter regretfully informing me that I had been unsuccessful on this occasion. At first I was gutted, and wanted to turn the letter into a thousand (recyclable!) tiny pieces in passionate fury. Then I closed my eyes for a moment to get curious about this powerful response that was happening. In that brief space of presence I heard, ‘you should thank them’. I found myself laughing out loud, for there was an ironical truth in this. Even if they hadn’t helped me find the work that’s right for me, at least they had helped me tick off another job that wasn’t, and for this I could be grateful.
I still have the letter. In fact I’m getting quiite attached to it. It makes me smile each time I look at it as I continue to think of other ways to view it:
- Thanks for giving me one side of blank paper I can now use to write my shopping list on. (Actually, I used the envelope instead…)
- Thanks for giving me something to frame as a reminder of the moment when I started to understand more deeply my relationship with work and with money.
- Thank you for being more honest with me than I was able to be with myself. You knew, from less than 15 minutes in the same room as me, that ‘caring’ for people as if they were merchandise on a production line that just needed to be fed, washed and dressed, wasn’t something I could do well or willingly. That I take as a compliment and I thank you.
So as my bank balance goes down and my blood pressure goes up, I find myself at a familiar crossroads. Do I choose to shrink or do I choose to grow. Do I drink from Alice’s bottle or do I eat from Alice’s cake? I did shrink a little initially…
Good Deeds Received
Dad treated us (Mum, my brother and I) to a wonderful dinner, and in so doing taught us the wisdom and the joys of http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ – as we ate in a restaurant I’d known about but never visited…in 9 years of living here!
My brother made me laugh sooooo much when I spoke to him on the evening of the day he’d returned to England and asked if I wanted to hear his Scottish accent. I laughed so hard when I heard it that when I asked him to say it again he went all shy and refused!
Received a very warm hug and hello from a friend I haven’t seen for ages, but saw through a cafe window and went in to greet. We’ll meet up soon.
A dear friend and all round wise and kind woman brushed aside my response to her question of have I started the work yet, when I said I hadn’t got the job. ‘Not that work’, she said. ‘the real work!’ (by which she means the poetry collection I’m wanting to put together for publication).
A treasured friend sent me beautiful text message to thank me for the postcard I’d sent her and to share a sweet synchronicity that made me smile.
Was wonderfully entertained by a very talented guitarist and his band at a concert we went to to celebrate my brother’s birthday.
The trees all around me are painting their teaching of impermanence more beautifully every day.
Good Deeds Done
Rushed to the shop to buy tomato ketchup just before Mum served up dinner on my brother’s birthday as there was none in the house and I knew he would ask for it. He did:-)
Took myself off to read a book in the park when I found myself in a bad mood and wasn’t good company. A little over an hour later I was human again – I love books! (and parks!)
Made time to write an email to a friend to whom I owed a catch up.
I made a delicious apple and banana crumble (trust me, it works) to welcome my father and brother on the evening of their arrival for a five day visit last Sunday.
I helped Mum in her cafe when the woman who was supposed to be working with her called in sick.
Sent back my brother’s wallet when I found he’d left it behind.
Had a chat with an elderly lady at the cash machine who apologised for keeping me waiting as she was struggling to remember her pin number. ‘I’m allowed these moments’, she said, ‘I’m seventy seven!’ I agreed with her:-)
Eat, drink and be fulfilled – have a great week dear friends:-)