The Eternal Cycle of Life, Death & Work

Sometimes I wake up and feel the I have an endless wellspring of energy within my belly, swelling and churning as if it would course through my veins, and burst through the flesh of my body, as if my eyes were shimmering, and smouldering with this unstoppable force.

And then on others I barely feel alive, as if I am scarcely existing, and breathing, as if I were hollow, a slender bag of flesh and bone, a biological automation.  Felled like so much dead wood, and then fuelled by unleaded, oil slick coffee.  This usually comes after missing the first two alarms on my phone.

And this tension is the result of my reluctance to go to work in the face of more desirable pursuits, versus my desire to be challenged and to be the best employer I can be for personal gain, acclaim, and the respect of others.  Of course, this is not to say that I don’t think we should not work hard as I believe that we should make the most of life experiences and use them to reach our goals, whatever they may be.

I guess what I mean to make clear is that my mixed-morning feelings and experiences are the result of conflicting desires or thought, albeit the root of those desires stem from two different places.

For example, it is natural to have some desire to succeed and be ambitious but to what extent is it my desire?  If I were to do so would I judge my own value as a human being based on my seniority or my salary?  Or would I get to this point in my career where I have met my goals, only to realise that they were never really my goals at all?

What if I found happiness within a career or path which affords me much satisfaction in helping others, or in social well-being but not in financial income?  Does this make me a drain on society? Does it make me financially irresponsible, or am I really conflicted because I lack greater access to material possessions and experiences?

It is much more complicated than saying that either a negative or positive attitude will always prevail because we have a habit of switching to ‘autopilot’ much of the time when at work, or doing some monotonous task, almost like a form of meditation.  Other times we feel like we are in a hopeless vacuum, but nevertheless their is no overcoming the realisation of facing an undesired or unsatisfactory experience or fate.

I used to feel a lot more insecure about my career, qualifications and ability when it came to employment, perceiving that I was not good enough to get the promotion, not good enough to take on the big project or not good enough to be respected by my peers; either in the office or down the pub.  I would seek greater meaning and purpose in my job-it would define me and would seek approval from my colleagues and their value of me as an employer or member of the office tribe.

But the root of this desire, this drive whilst providing me with some personal satisfaction was grounded upon the idea of my own inferiority complex.  It came from a place of lacking.  It mattered to me what others felt, which is why outside of the workplace I felt so unfulfilled within myself.

These days I see my job differently.  I still work hard at work…most of the time, and I still have career objectives but now I realise that there is more to my life then ‘climbing the ladder’ and have come to terms with the fact that being the ‘big boss’, claiming a 6-figure salary, or drinking every other night for the sake of it is not on mine, or everyone’s agenda.

For one thing, I often wonder what and how I could make a living out of my creative pursuits.  Sometimes I would question the reasons for this, whether it is because I feel that I cannot make it according to my own standards and perception of success, or because I have a greater desire to express myself.  And because of the very inner-sustenance that my writing provides me my desire to continue creating always prevails.

Would I up and quit my job to write full-time?  probably, but not anytime in the immediate future as I do not yet feel ready or prepared for such a step financially, emotionally or organised enough but if and when the opportunity does arise I would also hope to have the courage to follow my hearts desires.  And besides, there are still many things that my 9-5 are still teaching me; I am learning practical skills, organisational skills and the value of structure, as well as the experience of social interaction and the opportunity to help others get the best out of themselves and speak my own truths, whether people I agree, disagree or think I’m strange.

Of course this works the other way as I have learned many lessons about myself through experiences in the work-place, experiences that have forced me to reconsider my own place and actions-as well as my own hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness.  Therefore my spiritual and emotional growth is met in indirect and unexpected ways.

And all these things help to put a smile on my face on my most miserable of days; as I get on and off the train to work, as I wade through endless spreadsheets, and as I get to grips with understanding the complex, insightful, diverse and often erratic behaviours of my boss; as well as my colleagues and their various interests, philosophies and office humour.

And these are the questions we must all ask ourselves in some capacity or another; but the real question is whether we have the honesty to question our own happiness and circumstances, the courage to accept our own answers, and desire to be open to the possibility of change-if it is what we truly desire.

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