Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Reality — you can learn something from it. You can learn how to work with it.

First you must accept this: Stuff will resist.

Time and money are particularly ornery. Estimate how long a project will take and how much it will cost, then double that and you might be close — or still a bit shy. Cost is like shaving cream in a can. Press the button and it expands in you hands. Time is like a cumulous cloud over the mountains; it billows into the stratosphere.

Then there are objects — put them to work and they will war with you. You pick up one thing and other things move with it. They jump, fall, dive and zipline together — usually in the direction of the floor, and chaos.

Take long, stingy things —  they are the worst! They knot, wrap, tangle and snag. Garden hoses are particularly uncooperative. Walk anywhere with one, it will reach out and hook on a door knob, a sprinkler head, a plant. And it gets worse. Hoses are also kinky. No matter what virtuous, moral and cooperative nature was claimed on the cardboard they came with, they bend back on themselves and resolutely refuse to give water, until you walk over to them and give them what for.

And then there is the dry stuff —  it gets on you. Sawdust, Splenda, flour, sanding dust — they are the worst. Sand a cabinet, the dust generated will cover the walls and floors and blinds of your home. Dust loves your hands, your face, your hair; give it a chance and it will go for your lungs, and try to kill you.

Wet stuff, the same — extremely irritating. Take caulking, take paint — it wants to go, to be free.  Pry up a paint lid and the paint will run, jump and fly up your elbows, up your neck and into your hair. Water, it covers over 70% of the planet, and wants more.

What to do?

Make friends with reality, as it really is — volitional. Accept this. The material world is full of will, intention, agency — and conspiracy.  You are in less control than you think. Stuff will have its way!

The answer, the way to sanity, the route to hope — it lies in letting stuff go about its business as it will.  Let stuff have its say, its day, its moment in the sun. Let it act, as it will — and be dangerous if it must — where it can do the most good,

Dollars, hours, hoses, flour, paint  — you have to work with them; you have to let them resist. Then you have to be nice; you have to talk sweetly to them; you have to talk them into helping. And if you do, they can help you renew and restore the world!

On Labor Day weekend people celebrate working by not working. Not me!

This holiday, I worked by choice. I worked Saturday September 1, Sunday, September 2,  and today, Monday, September 3. I worked all three days of Labor Day weekend, 2012, and I loved it

I would pay to work;  don’t tell my employer, and I would work for free, if I could afford it.  I do work for free, always putting in more time than is required, like this weekend. I did take a little time off on Saturday, to ride the ferry and to go to the San Diego Sand Castle Competition with my wife and daughter, between working.

Today, Monday, September 3, I didn’t go to work at my office, but I vacuumed the whole house, every tiny corner in every room. I loved doing it, except when the vacumm fell over on purpose just to annoy me.

Why, why vacuum like crazy on  Labor Day? Space dust and cat hair and corners and because I wanted to, and because yesterday my daughter said the house was dirty and because I really wanted to.

It’s reported that in 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday of Labor Day while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. It caught on, and it has become a national day for not working, for parties, for parades, for the beach, for barbecued food and also, for work for those who don’t want to stop working, to celebrate work with work.

I have no respect for Matthew Maguire. If he  had really wanted to celebrate work,  to honor it, to nobly salute it, he would have proposed that on one weekend of every year we all work all weekend, that we throw a huge work party where we work together, that we feast together at lunch and then go back to work and then feast more together for dinner and then work into the evening until we can’t take the excitement anymore and we go to bed.

Today, after I cleaned the house, I  edged the yard. I like the clean lines of edged grass. I like to work in my yard.

After that, I cleaned out my closet and took out all of the clothes I don’t wear anymore, and then I organized it. I’m more ready for work now.

Then I wrote a dozen proverbs, then this blog post. Writing is what I do for my work, my career, and also thinking, and writing about my thinking. I’m paid to think, and write, and talk, but I love it so much, that I do it for free when I’m not doing it for money. And today, in between writing, I went shopping to buy some new workout clothes.

I have heard a lot of seminars in my profession on the need to rest, a lot of talk cautioning us as professsional caregivers not to burn out, not to neglect self, family, to take breaks, to pace ourselves. It’s good, but it’s not all good.

Try being unemployed. That’s what’s not good. Not working burns people out. Not accomplishing anything is what really does a person in, because not working means not belonging and not having a place to go, not producing anything, not helping anyone, not making any money, not having anything to give back, and none of that is inspiring or meaningful. Work is what is inspiring. Work is meaningful. By work, we’ve made a good world to live well in.

Being is good, existentially, epistomologically, the philosophers tell us that,  but a working, moving, active being is better, especially in an world in need of justice and mercy and kindness and love.

I think we need to work more, not less, to move, act, do and be active more. And when we don’t have jobs, that’s the time to really work, because work is doing what we were made to do and meant to do and what needs to be done whenever we can do it.

I can’t wait to go to the gym this week! More work. I love working out. I love working in too.

I’m going home in a minute to barbecue some chicken. Then I’ll gladly do the dishes. I don’t think of it as work. I love to clean things, and to have a clean kitchen.

Then I’ll write some more in the cool of the evening on the back padio with the waterfall in my lily pond running and my cats lounging by the back door hoping to get out, wishing they could do something besides lying around.

What a great Labor Day!

I will get into bed tonight sad that it’s over, that I have to quit working. I’ll go to bed wishing I didn’t have to sleep, eager to wake again and work.

And I’m back to work tomorrow, but I’m planning on taking a day off later in the week in order to get some work done.