Working from the Heart

Work is love made visible.
--Kahlil Gibran

Most of us do not consider our work a personal form of worship. Work is worldly. Worship is withdrawing from the world to honor Spirit. But could there be a more beautiful way to honor the Great Creator than by contributing to the re-creation of the world through our gifts? This is what we're called to do each day through our work. Yet it is very difficult to get even a glimmer of the holy when we are harassed, unappreciated, overwhelmed, frazzled and burned out.

Marianne Williamson believes that the workplace is "but a front for a temple, a healing place where people [can] be lifted above the insanity of a frightened world." Once, when she was working as a cocktail waitress - years before she answered her calling to become a spiritual guide and writer - she realized that people only thought they were coming to a bar for a drink. Really the bar was a church in disguise and she could minister to people with warmth, conversation, and compassion. "No matter what we do, we can make it our ministry," she writes in her illuminating A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles. "No matter what form our job or activity takes, the content is the same as everyone else's; we are here to minister to human hearts. If we talk to anyone, or see anyone, or even think of anyone, then we have the opportunity to bring more love into the universe. From a waitress to the head of a movie studio, from an elevator operator to the president of a nation, there is no one whose job is unimportant to God."

It's easier to imagine that our work could be our worship if we could perceive the sacred in how we spend at least eight hours of the day. Perhaps the secret to coming to this awareness, no matter what our present circumstances, is to discover the work we would love to do. But until we do, we need to learn to love the work we're presently doing.

Today you can begin to transform your workplace and you working style by considering how much you have to be grateful for. If you have a job, even one you dislike, it's a safety net as you take a leap of faith toward your authenticity; if you're out of work, the path already has been cleared for you to answer your authentic calling. Invoke Spirit as your personal career counselor. The mystical poet Kahlil Gibran tells us, "When you work, you fulfill a part of earth's fondest dream assigned to you when that dream is born."

Fulfilling your part of the earth's fondest dream occurs when you work from the heart.

-Sarah Ban Breathnach, Simple Abundance - A Daybook of Comfort and Joy©1995

There are some things which cannot be learned quickly, and time, which is all we have, must be paid heavily for their acquiring. They are simple things, and because it takes a man's life to know them, the little new that each man gets from life is very costly and the only heritage he has to leave.
--Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

I have known in my heart, for quite some time, that work is that which ennobles mankind. Look at the cooperative efforts of ants, bees, beavers - many examples of workers in nature - and you must admire the workers for their determination and purpose. Their lives are short and uncomplicated compared to ours, yet they strive to fulfill their purpose, their part of the dream of earth.

In the engineering business, if you don't have time to do it right, you will have to take the time to do it over. You may not like what you are doing today, but it may be providing you with skills that you can use for your next job, or may help you to clarify what you would want or deserve for a career. I changed careers at the age of 35, and I have looked back on occasion, but not with regret. I have learned something from each job that I have had, and I have created some part of who I am from those experiences. Understanding that what I am doing today is part of the Plan has led me to trust my instincts and feel that I am being led toward greater blessings.

Refusing to lose my soul to my job, by working at something because I wanted to and not just for the paycheck, made me feel less victimized by my work, even when I was paid less than I thought I should be paid. Being in a panic about where my career was did not help. Trusting in the Plan did. Believing in myself did. Knowing my worth, and striving to prove that worth daily, helped. Knowing that I always had choices, that I was not stuck in what I was doing, that helped too.

Letting yourself shine through your role at work, giving of your skill to the task at hand until you experience an intimate relationship with your work, brings joy and accomplishment, and a self-satisfation even when it is not recognized by others. You know you have done your job, you know that you have done what you can to contribute to the success of those around you. You would like to hear a "well done!" So give it to yourself, you deserve it! Then take a look around...

Those people with whom you work will respond warmly when you treat them as people, not as job-defined roles. After stopping and thinking of yourself as a person and not a robot, realize that those you work with are people too, dealing with many of the same difficulties that you face. Recognize that, unlike the animals and insects who are task performers, we are noble individuals who perform tasks.

Let your noble self shine through in your work today. See your co-workers and noble individuals and let them shine through too, instead of looking only at their tasks.

Postscript to last week's readers - For those of you who were wondering what Sweet Woodruff was, here is a link that will educate you on this herb: Tell me more about Sweet Woodruff!



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