"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." ~ Rumi
So often we spend our time wondering what we should do with our lives that will make us successful, useful, and financially stable. What will bring us the greatest amount of happiness is always secondary to these other considerations when we think of our careers. We think "what can I do as a career so that it will give me the freedom to pursue what I really love down the road or after hours." Today I thought a lot about how much more good we could actually do in the world if we approach our careers from a place of love first and everything else - success, money, utility - second.
This is especially on my mind today because another group of people I know lost their jobs. The news completely blind-sided all of us. It's with a heavy heart that I went about my business today, wondering how I'd feel if I were in their shoes. How would I react? What would I say? Would I view the news as a great opportunity or an unfortunate circumstance? And then the question that caused me the greatest discomfort - who's to say it won't be me tomorrow? "Down the road" could very well be right now.
This idea of impermanence keeps running through my mind. In my new apartment building, there was a fire on the 10th floor on the other side of the building. When I heard the news, I panicked for a moment. Last night I kept waking up because I could not get images of black smoke out of my mind. That awful scent seems stuck in my nose. I remember too clearly rounding the corners of those stairs in my old building, clinging to the railing, crouching and scrambling and praying, as I was passing by apartments that were burning just on the other side of those walls. I remember how lucky I was that I left that building when I did. A few more minutes and it would have all unfolded very differently.
This little fire on the 10th floor of my new building was successfully extinguished before causing too much trouble, though it's as if the Universe is flashing a great big reminder at me just as I'm getting comfortable in my new surroundings. "Remember the important things in life aren't things. You cannot afford complacence." I wanted to reply, "Yes, thank you Universe, I hear you. I'm working on a new plan for my life right now and I'm getting all the details ironed out. Now could you please stop playing with fire in my presence? And by the way, it's rude and cruel to be so threatening."
All joking aside, I'm trying hard to live every moment of my life from a place of love, love for my self, and my community, and the people I care about. I want to take Rumi's idea one step further and let the beauty of what I love be not just what I do, but also who I am. It's easy to put on disguises; it's easy to tell ourselves this is who I am at work or school or with this person or that person or when I'm alone. What I'm striving for is to be one kind of person all the time, to make "down the road" today, to make my after-hours activities my every hour's activities. In short, I'm striving for authenticity. And it seems to me that the surest way to authenticity begins with always with knowing what and who we love.
The image about is not my own. It can be found here.