From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:
Always you have been told that work is a curse and a labor, a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labor you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labor is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.
But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.
You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
This excerpt from The Prophet explains–far more eloquently than I ever could–how I feel about my work. I am so grateful.
And yet, it’s so easy to lose sight of this love and spirit in working. For me it almost seems like the more something means to me, the more quickly I lose sight of why I do it, the more easily I turn it in to a chore or avoid it altogether.
I love writing. I love telling stories. And yet, time and again, I allow myself to get wound up in fears of inadequacy, and stop writing. Or I fail to write what I want to write, fail to enjoy writing, because I’m afraid it isn’t meaningful enough, or because it doesn’t immediately bring in an income, or . . . well. There are a million reasons to be an idiot, and sometimes I think I’m making my way through the list.
Today I am thinking of doing a ceremony to release my self-sabotage habit, to let go of saying “no” to joy, so that I can welcome in a new habit of saying “yes”. Ceremony doesn’t fix everything, but it does help put me in the right place for change. And really, it would be so NICE to stop getting in my own way.
So . . . how do YOU say yes to joy? I’d really love to know.
And if I figure it out, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.