Monthly Archives: April 2018

How to Want to Work

Your body actually likes to work: it likes to move and do things, to climb and run and swim and discover things. So, from your body’s point of view, any kind of movement is good as far as it is concerned: walking, dancing, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, picking up litter, shoving trash around or digging holes to plant trees into: from your body’s point of view these are all good ideas.

It doesn’t care that much what you think about what you’re doing, that is, unless you resent what you are doing or are angry about it or you’re feeling punished: then the body pays attention, because it knows these emotions are like poison to it. Resentment makes your jaw clench (which has nothing to do with raking leaves) or your face frown (which has nothing to do with the care you need to take when you’re picking up the mess in your room) or your stomach getting itself into knots because you’re having to work and your sibling isn’t. And it’s the same with all the other angry emotions.

So, that’s all very well, but of course there are times when you will feel angry at having to do something or, perhaps, you will feel nervous or anxious or afraid… None of these emotions help, but what do you do?

You think through what you are doing and why you are doing it. Not everything that happens to you is because you’re being punished: in fact, there are times when you are asked to do something because you are the only one that can do it: so this makes you special! When you do a good job, people ask you to do the work again because they can trust you: this makes you special?

So work on thinking of new ways of seeing your chores. You have to plunge the toilet? Free exercise! You have to pick up your room? Scavenger hunt! You have to rake the leaves? More exercise, beautiful leaves and you can show off for the whole neighborhood.

to be continued… 

Resting, Work and Laziness

The hidden things in work are a little surprising, but you just need to think on how and why you work a bit and you will understand that now, instead of everything being done for you (water, food, clothes, usually housing) meaning that you have nothing to do, you can use work to find your own satisfactions. It has been said elsewhere, and very wisely, that every recruit in a military training camp had to make his or her bed every morning: make it well, make it beautifully and make it good enough to pass inspection.

Now: you could imagine that was just because the sergeant just wanted to push everyone around so that he could show he was boss because he liked making people do things for him. But no: the real reason is because, if you wake up and the first thing you do is some work, doing it well and quickly, with an eye to making things excellent, then every day you start out with a success! Every day you find out that you can do something even though you might not feel like it, even though you’re sick or have had bad news: you can always act, you can always do something and make sure something is done well. Knowing this is special!

You might think that putting out the garbage, or vacuuming the floor, or keeping your room clean is just “a chore,” meaning something that you don’t want to do because it isn’t fun, and that you’re only doing because someone has “made” you do it. But, taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, putting the recycle bin out on the street for pick-up, and even cleaning your room all use muscle! And you know what happens when you use your muscles? You get stronger! If you’re a boy, you will like to show that muscle off. If you’re a girl, you you will find that you will be able to do other things so much better: sports, fun things like swimming or hiking or going for long walks with the family dog. 

More on Resting, Taking it Easy or Being Lazy

When people used to live in little villages, and almost everyone farmed, you had to work hard, every day: if you didn’t work, you couldn’t eat because there would be no food. If you didn’t work you would freeze in the winter because you hadn’t made your clothes, or scraped the hides of the deer you had hunted and carried home and then done everything you needed to take its skin and preserve its meat.

No food or clothes would be bad enough, but what would you do if you didn’t bring in your water? It used to be that you would get your water from the stream, or from a fountain in the village center, and you would have to carry it back home, no matter how far you had to do. You can’t live without water for any longer than five days, so you knew that however hard carrying water was, you absolutely needed it. It used to be that people had to do everything: build their own houses, grow, glean, prepare and cook their own food: all of it!

But now, you find food in the supermarket: you don’t have to rush our and try and hunt something in the bitter snows of winter. Now, you turn on the tap, and the water is already there: not only water, but hot water! Can you imagine how hard it would be to heat water up, bucketful by bucketful, having to find, and chop, and lay the wood on a fire and heat the water again and again?

In times like these, being lazy was dangerous! Refusing to work harmed everyone in your family and mostly meant that you were cold, hungry, thirsty and very likely sick as well. Back then, before municipal plumbing, housing contractors, electricity and supermarkets, you had to work to live, literally. But now? What do you live for now?

Resting, Taking it Easy or Lazy?

When you have worked hard at something like pulling weeds, getting ready for a big test, helping out by cleaning the house or walking a long way, you want to rest. In fact, you need to rest: your body has worked hard and needs to recover. Working too hard can make you weak and sick: you always need to rest. If your life is too busy, sometimes you can’t get enough rest and so you get angry a lot because you’re tired, or you shut down and feel depressed. When you feel angry or sad after you’ve been working, it is definitely time to take a rest!

However, there are a great many times when you never seem to do much of anything but play with your mind: you are always accessing your phone, talking with everyone about stuff, watching TV or just “hanging out:” all of these things are good when you need to do them: you need to keep connected with your friends and watching television can be useful  and fun sometimes. Spending time with people you know is a good thing to do too.

But even better is to love using your mind even when your body is resting. When you use your mind, you listen to what people are saying; you think about what you’re watching on TV; you pick and choose what you let your social media tell you or show you: you stay engaged.

 When you “rest” by letting things happen around you, so that you are not participating, this might feel as though you are resting but it only means that you’ve stopped being there for yourself: you’ve stopped being the real actor in your own life. When you watch TV and just let it entertain you, you are letting your mind be lazy. When you let your social media take up more and then more and then even more of your time, you are letting it live your life for you.