Add to that an
atmosphere of gossiping and back-stabbing, and you get a place
that could make you crazy, that could make life very unpleasant,
that could make you dread going to work.
I worked there
a good seven months before something happened that was very
simple, yet very profound. I took a couple of days off, and
I went skiing in the Alps with the family of a friend. And I
got hurt after only about ten minutes on the slopes (I had never
skied before). My friends were good at teaching me how to
ski, but they didn't teach me how to stop if I got going too
fast--they told me what I should have done after the fact.
It hurt a lot,
but the next day was very important--it snowed and we stayed
indoors, watching the huge flakes come down, enjoying the silence
and the beauty of the moment. It was during that snowfall
that I realized just how stressed-out the job had me, and just how
much I was letting it stress me out by putting the amount of
importance on it that I was.
Yes, the job
was important--earning our way through life is important to all of
us. But I was letting it control me, letting it consume me,
and that wasn't healthy at all. I watched the snow come down
and realized that was important--the beauty of life all
around me, the beauty of stillness and peace and quiet. And
I could have those things even if I kept the job--I could get by
fine if I didn't let the job take over my perspective and become
my major focal point.
I love the
saying that I work to live, and I don't live to work. The
saying illustrates very well the problems that I had with the job
I was doing. But after that day in Murnau when I felt the
peace of life while watching a heavy yet gentle snowfall, the job
was no longer a burden, for I no longer allowed it to be the focal
point of my life. I still did my job well--even better, in
fact--but I didn't lose sight of the much bigger picture that
we're all a part of. I still faced stress and I still had to
listen to the gossip and the threats and the subtle innuendoes
that are so often a part of such a work place, but I didn't let
them bother me.
consuming jobs since--I spent four years in the Army later, and
it's the very nature of the Army to consume its people. And
while I have lost focus for very short periods of time, I always
remember the job at MAGH and the beautiful snowy day, and that
memory provides me with the ability to see clearly once again.
So stop and
listen, and hear what life is trying to tell you. Hear the
silence that's available to you--feel the peace that's such an
integral part of this beautiful world in which we live. Hear
the breeze that's blowing outside, and pay attention to the birds
that are singing--really pay attention. Hear them; listen
Hear your spouse or your parent or your child or your friend--hear
what they have to say, and recognize the fact that they're
fellow-travelers with you on this planet, just trying to do their
best. And try not to let things consume you so much that
you're blind and deaf to the beauty of our world.