“...success also includes good health, energy and enthusiasm for life, fulfilling relationships, creative freedom, emotional and psychological stability, a sense of well-being, and peace of mind.”
We hear a lot today about the one percent; about the wide gulf between the folks at the top of the income scale, and those at the bottom. Getting into the whys and wherefores of that are simply above my pay-grade. Certainly, there are systems built into the economic structure of America that provide access to some people, and deny it to others. Just from observation, I believe that who you know, where you went to school, and how well you network with your peers are important in determining material success. And, of course, race, class and gender still factor into that equation. I also believe, though some laugh at the naivety of this, that if you do what you love, if you pour your love into what you do, life will feel successful whether or not you become rich doing it. Call me crazy.
Whenever I hear myself whining about what I don't have, images of the rubble of Syrian cities plays before my eyes. When I scramble to cover my bills, I see the children of East Africa standing in the dust of their famine, living bones and flesh. Inspirational author, Alan Cohen, wrote: “Abundance is not a number or acquisition. It is the simple recognition of enoughness.” In this country, we have enough—more than enough. Now is the time for gratitude.
And what about the inherent value of work? I know that there are people who live on trust funds, who do no work of any sort. And, honestly, that is not a life I would choose to live. I love my work. If there is no work for me to do, I create some. All work is important, whether it is work done with the brain, or work done with the hands. We would be hard pressed to get by without the people who pick our crops; who wash the dishes in our eating establishments. We would be buried under garbage if someone didn't do the job of picking it up. All work is valuable, regardless of how much it pays or where it falls in our social strata.
John Ruskin, who was a philanthropist, artist and art critic in the Victorian era, said: “The highest reward for one's toil is not what one gets for it, but what one becomes by it.” Doing our work well and honestly, regardless of what that work is, makes us valuable human beings—worthy of respect and gratitude. But doing our work with integrity also satisfies our souls. In many ways, it makes us into decent human beings. I hope that today you pour your love into your work, and that the doing of it makes your heart sing.
In the Spirit,