An author I really love wrote about an experience she'd had and I love this story! Although she is a wonderful writer and teacher I know many of my patients do not feel ready to read her work because she writes a lot about motherhood so I thought I'd share this snippet with you all.
This author, Karen, was at a Buddhist retreat and while she was there she was asked to perform a certain task - the daily ceremonial ringing of the bell. She took the responsibility seriously and was focussed on doing it well and doing it right. (Or to be more precise... she obsessed over not messing it up, how to do it perfectly, how others thought she was doing, areas for improvement, she literally lay in bed at night judging her day's performance and coming up with a game plan for tomorrow... you know the drill!)
One day one of her teachers approached her and asked if she felt ready to begin the next phase of her practice, a transition that would bring more tasks and more to do.
She told him in earnest that she didn't think she could, because she already was doing the bells.
He nodded his head with understanding and then said to her, 'You seem to have a little problem with your work ethic.'
She was baffled, as '[she] judged [herself] to be the hardest worker there ever was.'
'You make everything work," He said.
I love this story.
There is a Zen saying that goes:
If you find one thing wearisome,
you will find everything wearisome.
Do you make more work for yourself than you need to? Do you fail to see the joy, the meditative simplicity, the peace in the mundane things you do day in and day out?
Try to change your work ethic for the better. Instead of working harder, getting more done, stressing about how you are doing and what others think of the workload you carry, try to swap it out for finding contentment in what you do, letting go of judgement, and you may be surprised, something as routine as folding the laundry can become a little piece of zen. It's all in your perception.
I'll leave you with Karen's closing thoughts on her essay:
...consider all of this as a way to conjure up more empathy on an ordinary day. Yes, we all have a load on our hands, but the heavy is in our heads. Set the heavy down and sweep aside the useless mental clutter... When you can do anything as though you work at nothing, you have the best days of your life.