Saturday, May 26, 2012

Comments on another blog...

Sometimes people use blogs to share something another blogger wrote because they could not have said it better themselves.  This is one of those times.  Over at Aerial Pork, (click on the link to see the post) AJ talks about work here at Green Gulch.  It is something I think a lot about and it keeps coming up in a variety of ways.  It comes up at crew meetings as we continue to integrate work into our lives in a way that doesn't treat it as a separate compartment that we close at the end of each day and move on to the other parts of life.  It comes up when I think about the large student loan debt I racked up.  It comes up when I can't imagine doing work that doesn't directly support the community in which I live.

Work practice is a big part of living at Green Gulch.  Using work as a way to learn more about ourselves and how to contribute best to the world during our precious time here.  Rev. Darlene Cohen points out in her book, The One Who is Not Busy that "we have the habit of describing our activity as either busy or not busy, either productively working or taking a blissful break from working."   I don't think anyone is immune to this feeling.  We fuel it by idealizing vacation and sometimes even demonizing the hours we have to work (ie. not relaxing).  She goes on to talk about the qualities of our leisure time that make it so blissful and the qualities of work that are so different, so goal and value oriented, or structured.  She argues that we can actually make efforts to bring more of a balance to these two realms.  Leisure tends to be more centered around experience and sensory feelings whereas work is more thinking and judgment or discernment.  "In plain English, both ways of viewing have their origin in our minds, and further, they are both ways of viewing the same thing (our activity).  So for each of us individually, the question becomes, How do we live our lives to simultaneously include the two realms of differentiating and basic nondual awareness in one activity?...Each of these two views informs the other."

In the end, the box has been opened.  I have seen that it is possible to love your work and I am not sure I can ever go back.  I will spend my days blending parts of my life that once felt separate and even opposing.      

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
              Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.             
- Wendell Berry, Mad Farmer Poems            


  1. I love Wendell Berry! This is just one example of his thoughts on work, life and living, and existing as part of the larger environment.
    I'll pull out more of his work and delve more deeply into his philosophy. Thanks for the tip, Lulu.

  2. Thanks Mr. Mayor! And let me say to anyone who reads my little rambling above. Among all that I am trying to say, one thing I am NOT trying to do is judge others and their work choices. I think loving your work has less to do with what the job actually is and more your approach to it and the place it holds in your life. It's all about balance. Of course there are times when I don't "feel" like going to work and wish it was the weekend but it doesn't mean it love it any less :-)