Working Hard


Welcome! I’ve written more this week than in several months. It has been nice to be inspired to write this week.

This post is from a prompt from my friend Sreejit “Hard work, what does it mean for you?”, which is such a wonderful prompt. The complexity in the two words “hard work” is wonderful. I can apply so many meanings to those two words. This is going take more than just a simple reflection. It’s time for serious analysis. 🙂

When I was 15 I got my third job. It was for a restaurant in Wasilla, AK. The restaurant was called Farina’s. It was a place where I can say that I actually believed that my boss cared about my performance. Rick (I think that was his name), the owner, was always giving directions to his employees. He was pretty bossy, demanding, and a fanatic for cleanliness. I loved it. It was such a relief to be able to just do whatever he asked of me. That year or so that I worked for him is something I will never forget.

I remember feeling so good about going to work and accomplishing things. It didn’t matter to me what it was. I just really wanted to get stuff done and at Farina’s there was always something to do.

Specifically, I remember sweeping this parking lot free of dirt, with a push broom. I’m not talking about getting the big stuff off. I swept it like you mow a lawn. Each row I swept clean of dirt, at least for a time. It was methodical, careful, meditative work.

Farinas
Location of Farina’s Restaurant — Gotta love Google Street view. 🙂

I learned early in my life, and have known ever since, that I am willing to “work hard.” As long as I can remember, I have always been a person who strove to accomplish things, and to do what needed to be done.

If it comes to labor, and I desire the accomplishment of it, I’m on board.

However, as I have changed and progressed, I changed my definition of Hard Work. I realized that labor isn’t the work that I think really is hard. To me, labor is just a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. When I think of Hard Work now, I think of something much much harder.

I’m talking about the really hard stuff that I struggle with every day, like:

The Four Agreements in the book of the same name:

  1. Be impeccable with my word
  2. Don’t take things personally
  3. Always try my best
  4. Don’t make assumptions

and

changing my deepest and darkest fears and dark thoughts — I’m talking about:

  1. raising my self-esteem and belief in my inherent worth
  2. forgiveness, compassion, and belief in the inherent goodness
  3. living in this moment
  4. feeling God in my life
  5. not getting angry about or scared of everyday life
  6. living outside of my egotistical view and taking on a spiritual view
  7. getting my disconnected, egotistical, arrogant, mental mind states out of the way of my true self
  8. caring, loving, and feeling joy in every instant.

This is the stuff I consider Hard Work. Laboring, having a strong work ethic, appreciating others, and being a solid team member is oh-so familiar. It’s what my ego is so proud of — the doing. That’s what feeds my need for accomplishment. It’s what keeps away the demons of “not-enoughness.” After all, “Hard work is its own reward.”

In fact, a lot of the time, doing all that “hard work” stuff keeps me from doing the Hard Work I really need to do. Being busy keeps away the thoughts that plague me. By diving into labor I can white knuckle through the day and feel good about what I have achieved. My ego is proven right. “I am better than I feared I was. I am worth something after all. Look what I’ve accomplished.”

My Hard Work is changing the mistaken thinking to stop believing, “If I can just get one more thing accomplished I will be able to believe for a few minutes that I’m good enough.”, to end the cycle of the endless need my ego has to prove through accomplishment that I’m not a failure.

I know this is the mindset of a scared and lonely person. It is not the mindset I want to have.

I want to replace it with what I know is true when I’m most connected to God (source energy) —  the truth that I am love. I am inherently worthy and I am capable of creating joy and happiness.

The problem for me has been that I think of these changes as Hard Work, when in fact that is the same mental trap that makes me think that I must earn love through labors. The idea that to change my mental state to believe I’m enough is Hard Work is the same mental trap that makes me think laboring proves my worthiness.

So my current goal is to realize that there is no such thing as Hard Work. I can transition in every moment from the mentality that all of these changes are Hard Work to the realization that no work is involved at all.

I need do nothing except believe that I am worthy because that is the truth.

The truth is that I am inherently good and worthy because I am a child of God. I am upon this earth to live out a life where I can remember this basic truth. The remembering takes no more effort than to just let go of the belief that I am not.

So, the struggle for me has never been about willingness to do “hard work.” It has always been to let go of the belief that I need accomplishment to demonstrate that I am worthy through doing Hard Work. I can let go of the belief that I need prove to myself that which needs no proof. I do not need to do more or work through things to earn or become worthy. I need simply remember.

There is no Hard Work in being enough, there is only joy and love.

God bless you all. With love and joy. Have a great day. You are worthy and I love you.

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