Do you have a job or a calling? Do you work or do you serve? I share these questions here because they’re nagging me at the moment. Personally, I don’t have answers yet, but some observations from my own experiences are beginning to crystallize into some kind of new understanding.
One of the first images that came up when I did a quick
google image search on the word ‘working’
One aspect of these questions is ‘space’. I notice that when my being is in what I will call ‘work’ mode I am task oriented, looking for the finish line. My vision is limited, and shrunken to a small picture which shows me what I have to do and I do it. It’s not a responsive or creative mode, but it’s a societal default and therefore familiar, which brings some sense of comfort and security. Generally I know when my work is complete, and there are defined criteria by which I, or indeed others, can judge whether or not I’ve done it well. To me this can feel tight and claustrophobic, epitomized by clock watching.
google image search on the word ‘serving’
When I’m in service mode, something entirely different happens. I’m not task oriented but people oriented. I’m not seeing the finish line, I’m enjoying the current view and taking it in fully, basking in the beauty and complexity of the bigger picture and the depths of experience in everyone and everything around me. There’s a sense of spaciousness and possibility, the boundless and the unknown.
These good deeds posts provide me with a wonderful opportunity to look back on my week and see how much spaciousness I’ve found, and what movement there has been along the work/service scale. I notice that ‘service’ nourishes me in a way that ‘work’ does not AND my life is such that I am still bound by a need to earn money. I know these two, earning money and serving, are not intrinsically mutually exclusive AND there are all kinds of dances to be danced, and balances to be found to find the perfect combination which allows me to contribute my very best. Searching for this mix seems to be the journey of this year…and it’s proving to be quite an adventure!
Good Deeds Received
Last weekend a dear friend from my college days picked me up to spend the day with her and her gorgeous family. We spent a wonderful day in her new house laughing, playing games and drinking cups of tea while we generally caught up. Her eight year old son was kind enough to entertain me with games of cricket, table football and darts…all of which I lost!!! (Ok, the darts was a close one…) It was worth it though to watch him do the most hilarious victory dance…
Yesterday there was a wonderful ‘what goes around comes around’ moment. It was the last lesson for several students, so I asked each person to write their name in the centre of a piece of paper and we all went round writing things we appreciated about each other. I wrote on my student’s paper, ‘thank you for helping me when I forget things’ as she is always on the ball. Less than two hours later is was lunch time and as I walked away I heard someone calling my name. I turned and saw this student pointing at my bag, which I was about to leave behind…
Spoke to a very helpful and friendly customer service agent for our telephone company, and thanks to him very quickly managed to sort out an issue with a recent bill.
Had a fun chat with a teaching colleague over dinner one evening which included us sharing ideas for potential activities with each other. As a result, it only took me an hour to plan the next day’s lesson:-)
Received lots of free chocolate on a trip with the students to Cadbury World – delicious!
Not sure if this counts but I certainly felt very grateful. I got a coach ticket from London to Inverness (that’s a journey of about 12 hours) for 15 pounds! I return to bonnie Scotland in less that two weeks:-)
When I went to pick up my packed lunch for our outing I couldn’t find anything other than ham or tuna (apparently the kids had been complaining because they don’t like cheese or egg mayonnaise)..until I saw a single bag labelled ‘vegetarian’ which they’d made especially for me:-)
Good Deeds Done
I spoke to my Rwandan friend Beatha to check up on her following her recent scan. One lung is already clear, but there is still some fluid on the other. Still, a good start to what I’m sure will be a full recovery:-)
I spent quite a lot of time preparing an evening drama workshop for the students. This included consciously shifting myself into the right energy and attitude, as I wasn’t really in the mood. In the end it went well, better than expected, despite the fact that I had to adapt and change some of the activities when 55 students turned up, instead of the 35 – 40 I had been told to expect!
Picked up litter at various times, in various places over the week.
Washed up a bunch of used coffee mugs that were gathering in our staff room.
Prepared a fun lesson on the five senses involving lots of silly games which the students thanked me for:-)
I managed to help a former student, who is returning to Scotland for a few weeks, to find an alternative English teacher (as I will still be away for most of her visit).
I paid back some money to a friend as soon as my wages were paid.
OK folks, have a great week:-)