To seek out beauty in our work is to make a pilgrimage of our labors, to understand that the consummation of work lies not only in what we have done, but who we have become while accomplishing the task.
To view work as a pilgrimage is to put our heart's desires to hazard, because merely by setting out, we have told ourselves that there is something bigger and better, or even smaller and better – above all something more life giving – that awaits us in our work, and we are going to seek it. We look around to see what we have for the journey and find at bottom that we possess only intuitions and imagination.
In order to continually re-imagine ourselves through our work lives, we must have a part of us that belongs to something beyond the status quo. Something over the horizon or, paradoxically, beneath us, in the ground of our life. Something as yet hidden, yet to be brought to light. Something which is governed by other laws than the ones we so assiduously obey every day. Something to do with the laws that govern the way we belong to this stubborn and beautiful world.
The death of anyone close to us is always a form of salutation, a simultaneous good-bye to their physical presence and a deep hello to a more intimate imaginal relationship now beginning to form in their absence.
The soul of an individual is the longing inside each person for a greater sense of belonging, for a new country. We go through most workdays forgetting that this grand migratory force exists within us. We may feel a small satisfaction in a step taken, while the soul feels as if it is anchored off the promised land, wit just a short row to bring it home. At the level of our souls, no matter the difficulty in our work, or the responsibilities, or the possibility of failure, entire new worlds are coming into being.
Our relationship to time has become corrupted because we allow ourselves very little experience of the TIMEless. We speak continuously of SAVING time, but time in it richness is most often lost to us when we are busy without relief. We speak of STEALING time as if it no longer belonged to us We speak of NEEDING time as if it wasn't around us already in every moment. We want to MAKE time for ourselves as if it were in our power to o so. Time is the conversation with absence and visitation, the frontier between ourselves and those we love; the hours become ripe with happening only when we are attentive, patient, and present.
We are each surrounded by an enormous silence that can be a blessing and a help to us, a silence in which the skein of reality is knitted and unraveled to be knit again, in which the perspective of work can be enlarged and enriched. Silence is like a cradle holding our endeavors and our will; a silent spaciousness sustains us in our work and at the same time connects us to larger worlds that, in the busyness of our daily struggle to achieve, we have not yet investigated. Silence is the soul's break for freedom.
To have a firm persuasion in our work -- to feel that what we do is right for ourselves and good for the world at exactly the same time — is one of the great triumphs of human existence... To have a firm persuasion, to set out boldly in our work, is to make a pilgrimage of our labors, to understand that the consummation of work lies not only in what we have done, but who we have become while accomplishing the task... Work, at its best, is one of the great human gateways to the eternal and the timeless.
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