June 4      

Today's quotation:

The beauty of work depends upon the way we meet it, whether we arm ourselves each morning to attack it as an enemy that must be vanquished before night comes-- or whether we open our eyes with the sunrise to welcome it as an approaching friend who will keep us delightful company and who will make us feel at evening that the day was well worth its fatigue.

Lucy Larcom

Today's Meditation:

One of the reasons I like to walk to work is that doing so allows me to think over the day to come.  At the last place I lived, the walk helped me immensely.  I was teaching high school in a public school, and I found myself walking to school feeling loads of stress-- did I have enough materials?  How were the students going to react?  Were they going to learn what they needed to learn?  And on and on and on.

But one day during the walk I told myself, "Hold on.  You're going to spend a day with a whole bunch of wonderful young people who are coming to school to try to learn, to grow, and become something better.  You get a chance to talk with them, to help them, to teach them, to enjoy their company."  And with that thought, my perspective of my "work" changed dramatically.  I've always appreciated the benefits of teaching, of course, and I've loved doing it, but I still had a bit of a negative perspective of the "work" involved because of the demands put on teachers by administrators, fellow teachers, and problem students.

When I saw the "work" in a different way, though, I was able to walk to school looking forward to seeing the kids that day.  I knew there would be problems, but I know from experience that I'm quite capable of dealing with problems effectively and rather easily.  I know how to do the job well, and failure wasn't ever really an option or a possibility-- I could relax and go to work knowing that I was well equipped and prepared for the day.  When that happened, the work day was also much more positive, which made coming to work the next day even less stressful of an idea.

How we approach things is the greatest contributor to how things come out, usually.  Yes, there can be people at work who cause problems to spiral out of control, and there can be situations at work that are truly unbearable no matter how positive our approach to them.  For the most part, though, our work can be a very positive part of our lives, and we can make it even more positive by the ways that we approach it.

Questions to consider:

How do you view your job--as a positive and enjoyable part of your life, or as a stressful and difficult part of it?

What would your life be like without any work to do?

How do you approach your job(s) each day?  Do you feel good about being able to do it, or are your stressed about having to do it?

For further thought:

There is a condition or circumstance that has a greater bearing upon the happiness of life than any other.  What is it?  Something to do; some congenial work.  Take away the occupation of all people and what a wretched world it would be.

John Burroughs

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