This could be your last Labor DayPosted: September 4, 2009
Oh yes it could. Not that the holiday is going away anytime soon; I don’t mean that. Just the word. Wouldn’t it be lovely to put the word labor to bed? Labor. How does that make you feel? It rings in my gut as heavy, sweaty, and hard. Do I want more labor? No. No, I do not.
It isn’t that I don’t want to work. I love to work. I disappear when I write. My fingers start floating over the keyboard and the next thing I know it’s seven o’clock at night. I love teaching. If you’ve been to a Writing Down Your Soul event, you know how much I love teaching deep soul writing. And I love speaking, too.
I love my work. That’s my point. Work that is loved is a holy thing. A divine thing. A blessed thing. It’s the way we become the hands of Spirit soothing, lifting, and healing one another.
Or at least, that’s what work could be. Or should be. But for so many of us, it’s labor. And hard labor at that. I know. I labored my way through my first three careers. Yes, there were good moments, but those moments always got buried in the next tidal wave of activity and pressure.
When I was a headhunter, I used to give a cute little talk called “Sunday Night Disease.” The audience always laughed in recognition. I laughed along, but the truth is, I had a bad case of it. Around three on Sunday afternoon, my stomach would start roiling. I couldn’t enjoy dinner. Then, I couldn’t fall asleep. I’d wake in the night desparate for antacids. Come morning, the alarm would kick me out of bed unrested and unready.
So did I do anything to change this pattern? No. Because I thought my job was something I had to do sixty hours a week. This is an awful thing to admit, but I went to work the morning after my wedding. Insane I know, but I thought I had to work that hard to make the money to support my home, my family, and my precious son. By Friday, I was numb. All I could do was sit on the sofa, stare at the TV, and stuff pizza in my mouth. Go out? Play? See friends? Are you crazy! I needed the whole weekend just to recover enough to crawl out of bed again on Monday.
That job was labor. Pure unadulturated labor. It wasn’t healthy physically. That was obvious. But guess what, it wasn’t healthy spiritually either. And I knew it. I told friends, “I leave my soul on the side of the freeway at the exit to downtown Tampa and pick it up again on the way home.”
So, how do you know when you’ve stopped laboring and started working? There’s a clue, a big clue. I got it from Marsha Sinetar, author of Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow. I was driving home from my labors late one evening listening to her on NPR. The reporter asked how you know you’re doing your right work. Marsha’s answer hit me in the chest. I pulled over and wrote down exactly what she said:
“You know you are doing your perfect work when you feel joyous as a result of your efforts.”
I sat there staring into the night as my fellow commuters flew past. Joyous? Joyous? Oh my God, I so want to feel joyous as a result of my efforts.
Looking at my life that day, that week, even that next year, you would not say that anything happened. I kept driving to my job. I kept laboring. I kept collapsing on weekends. But something profound had happened. I had been cracked. The idea that work could be joyous — should be joyous — had snuck into my head and, like a good little virus, begun to spread.
- Do you want to stop laboring and start working in sync with your soul’s purpose?
- Do you want to feel joyous as a result of your efforts?
- Do you want work that is physically and spiritually healthy?
- Do you want work that expresses your whole, authentic, holy self — your soul?
You can. And you don’t have to find a new job to do it. All you have to do is start working in The Intersection.
And the first step in The Intersection is developing and declaring your Covenant with your Self and with Spirit.