Wednesday, September 6, 2017

All work is sacred

I think that a lot of our experiences in life come from our perspective.  We can seriously shift our outlook and what we gain from the things we do by changing how we look at them.  There are quite a lot of things that happen to us that we have no control over.  But we do have control over how we approach them.

There are a lot of tasks we have to do that we may not particularly enjoy.  Whether they are things you do for your job (or other activities you use to provide income), things you do for family or loved ones, things you do around the house or even the more tedious parts of a hobby or activity that you otherwise enjoy.  It is very easy to focus on how we have to do these things, and on how non-fun they are.  We can get caught up in complaining or feeling annoyed by having to do them.

But this doesn't have to be the attitude we adopt when faced with tedious tasks!  I have talked before about how we can find the magic in every day chores and how we can look for fun in the things we have to do.  Today I wanted to talk about thinking about the things we do as sacred tasks.

Sometimes it feels like finding time for the sacred is a loosing battle.  There is so much stuff we have to do that even taking a moment to ourselves feels like it stresses us out even more.  I always seem to forget that when I think I have no time is when I most need to take that moment (and that afterwards I am almost always WAY more productive, so that small time out actually helps me instead of hindering me).

I also think that sometimes we spend so much of our personal energy in just getting through the day that when all of our to-do lists are finished, we just don't have anything left to give.  I know that I often feel like just sitting in my comfy chair at the end of a long day and putting something brainless on the tv.  I know it's been a really hard day when I don't even have the energy to read (a for fun book, not something serious).

I believe we all have a purpose...well actually I believe we have many purposes!  I think there are things we are meant to do and things we are called to do.  Some may not feel fun, but we can appreciate how important they are.  Some may feel like they are deeply personal and we may not appreciate how they impact other people (yet often they do).

Since so many people spend so much of their time tied up in their job, let's start there.  Whether your job is something you do to put money in your pocket (and often food on the table) or something you do because you love it and are lucky enough that it also pays your bills, typically speaking a job has a lot of things that we often have little say in.  If your boss tells you to be at work on Monday and to do a specific task, that is what you do (if you want to keep your job).

Every job I have ever had in some way or another involved helping people.  In customer service, it's pretty straight forward:  customers come in and you help them get their needs met.  If your job involves creating products, then you are still helping people (by making things they need or want).  Each part of your job can be traced back to doing something that in some way (whether large or small) helps other people.

Instead of thinking about how tedious it is to restock the shelves, think about how much nicer it will be for a customer to be able to find what they need when they come into the store.  Instead of groaning at having to put another roll on that conveyor belt, think about how happy a child will be to eat that roll.  Putting our thoughts on other people can often help shift our focus off of ourselves (and what we may be finding unpleasant in the moment).

I think there is a really deep spiritual connection to helping others.  I feel this is why service is such a huge part of so many religions, and often required of religious officials.  I don't think we need to dedicate special time for community service in order to help people (though there is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to do so).  There are a million ways we can help people, in the things we already do, and by recognizing and acknowledging the things we are doing, we send that energy out into the world.

The same thoughts help me go through household chores.  I don't like to clean, and some parts of cooking (like the endless prep work!) are not quite fun.  But I love my family, and I want to make things they like, and to keep our house both clean and inviting.  Taking care of the house (and my family) are part of my role as mother and wife.

And I think our family roles are important to our sense of self.  Regardless of whether or not we are on good terms with our extended family, whether we are in a relationship or if we are a parent, we are part of a family.  Many of us work with ancestors in some way.  Working within our family roles can help deepen our connection to our ancestors.

It can be hard, especially if you struggle with family ties.  I am very blessed in that I have good relationships with most of my family (and even my in-laws).  But I have had my struggles too, and through continuing to examine my relationships (especially with my Mother, whom I have always loved, but not always felt comfortable relating to) I have seen the ways in which they have changed (and the ways in which I have learned to understand them better). 

I also think that our relationships with other people, whether they are family, friends or strangers, influence our relationship with deities, spirits and other beings that we  might interact with spiritually.  We can use the actions we take in this world, that support our relationships with each other, to also strengthen our relationships with worlds beyond. 

If you work with a deity or spirit that watches over your home, they probably would be quite pleased with any work you do in the house.  Beings who are devoted to family would be honored by actions that care for (or work at understanding and coming to terms with) your own family.  Acts of kindness towards a stranger may incur the favor of spirits you might not have worked with yet.

Even play or activities you would do just for fun, can have sacred undertones.  Laughter is a powerful energy, and we need joy in our lives.  Art is well know for it's ties to the sacred, and it doesn't matter if you feel you are an artist or not.  If you create, from the heart, and because you are moved to, you are making art.  And that art can be a wonderful tool or gift for the divinity in your life!

I believe that creativity sparks new thoughts in all parts of our life.  When we think outside the box, even in play, we are practicing being creative.  And creativity is all about creating...which I feel is the root of magic!  We practice and work to be able to create the things that we want to draw into our lives, and in fact to create the life we want to life!  Play is a great way to tap into your creative juices, often in a way that encourages you to experiment and just have fun. 

Spirituality doesn't have to be a solemn thing!  There is this idea that when we laugh or joke we aren't taking things 'seriously' (which I guess technically is the dictionary definition of the word), but we can absolutely be serious ABOUT our work while still being mirthful or finding the humor in a situation.  In fact, depending on what you are working towards and who you are working with, embracing the silliness might be a part of your spiritual life.  I definitely think a lot of tricksters would appreciate a good laugh.

I am all for sacred time, and setting a priority to have time we dedicate to connecting with our inner selves, our divinity (both within and without) and our spiritual life.  But I also think that there is a lot to be gained by looking for the sacredness in the every day actions we are already taking.  Taking a different perspective, searching out those sacred lessons and opportunities, might make you enjoy certain things more!  And wouldn't that be a blessing.

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