Fourteen years ago I was traveling with my father through Sikkim, a land of many marvelous customs (Consider, for example, that their national dish is made with orchids.) Among them was a custom of writing on the cliffs surrounding their mountainous roads. I copied down quite a few of the sayings I saw there, including:
“If Married, Divorce Speed”
“Let Your Policy be Quality”
“Safe Today. Smile Tomorrow”
“A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself”
“Work is Worship”
I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit this week, in the wake of hearing from a number of you about the challenges posed by arriving back at work– filled with the zippity doo dah of new year’s resolutions– only to discover colleagues, bosses, and clients who weren’t filled with the same can-do attitude.
Upon consideration, I believe I’ve discovered the trouble: (and no, it’s not those around you) Being filled with missionary zeal is terrific except when it keeps your focus on the future and not on the present, then it can leave you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or disappointed when things aren’t progressing as fast as you would like them to.
Because– as you know– the best work combines both good intention and full attention.
And while it’s wonderful to be filled with intentions for setting the world on fire, we still need to give this week, this day, this moment our complete attention.
And yes, it’s possible this week might include a number of mundane tasks like taking down the holiday decorations; or carrying that gigantic pile of clothes to the Laundromat; or running errands for your elderly neighbor. It might look like getting coffee for your boss; or showing your co-workers how to change the printer cartridge for the thousandth time; or explaining to your staff (once again) why they can never, ever be eating while they answer the phone.
But that’s your work this week. That’s your worship.
So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by talk of others’ resolutions, or disappointed in your ability to keep your own, or frustrated by your inability to bend the universe to your will by the end of the first week of January, slow down, breathe, focus your full intention and attention on what you are doing in this moment.
You’re likely to realize all work has dignity; all work is worship.
And, as my beloved teacher says, “Slowly, slowly, all is coming.”
Frances Cole Jones