Each day, many of us awake at the crack of dawn, lift our cradled heads and align our weary bones to begin our day. Some go directly for their jolt of “joe”…others embark on a more natural jolt – our workouts. Ultimately, we all wind up embarking on that journey to our respective jobs/offices.
As I watch folks at my gym prepare for their day, it’s relatively easy to distinguish those heading off to work for someone else. They – especially the women – groom and dress more meticulously, their pace is slower, and their lumbering ambiance forewarns of doom. The small business owners, on the other hand, tend to carry themselves in a very different manner – their choice of clothes and their grooming regimen are much more casual, and they move as if their internal battery has been overcharged (and that’s pre-caffeine)!
Okay, okay…maybe as a well-adjusted entrepreneur and small business owner – one who has served time within numerous corporate settings – my observations and perspective on this topic are a bit jaded – maybe even somewhat biased. I will admit…it’s definitely possible that my A+ personality (and my love of freedom) could be obscuring my view of the situation.
However, despite potential for a slanted attitude on my part, one is moved to wonder where passion and intensity for work – in general – originates or comes from.
Recently, while reading Eric Butterworth’s book Spiritual Economics, I landed on a page and paused for what seemed like eternity. My eyes (and heart) began to fill. As I allowed myself to become more absorbed into the painting on this page, I noticed deep, profound sensations cropping up within me. Minutes later, I realized and recognized that I had become so captivated by this painting (which Butterworth refers to as “The Blessing of Work”) because in many ways it represents and reflects my own feelings – and surroundings – when I perform my art of writing.
Oftentimes, the day-to-day world within which I live/exist becomes suspended; bright light refracts my mind’s eye as I seek to reveal and unfold words that will allow me to craft sentences – not just any words or any sentences – but, ones that invite readers to join me, stroll or dance along and be transported via thought and emotion.
My blood began to percolate. My own work process surfaced and begged to be brought to life. I reached for my pouch of pens (gel, of course, in a vibrant spectrum of colors) and retrieved my graph paper notebook (which allows me the freedom to write, scribble or draw in any direction). I wiggled both into my satchel and headed off on one of my early morning pilgrimages. As I wound my way along disparate paths, my mind wandered. Trees with outstretched arms protected me from the bullets of sunlight, the surrounding sounds – birds chirping, children laughing, cars whirling by, wheat whispering in the breeze – all enticing my internal rhythms to awaken and align.
This is how my own process unfolds, reveals, and releases my creativity – the creativity I bring to each day as I research, compose, write, connect, and share with others – my job, my work.
Whether you hold strong religious beliefs, view life from a spiritual perspective or simply allow personal values to guide you, sitting with this painting and not feeling something would be a challenge. Focused intensity and purpose emanate from this masterpiece – grabbing at you, drawing you in, begging you to feel, think, consider…and so much more…about your own work process and attitude.
As I read the section of Butterworth’s book that detailed this painting, I found myself repeatedly revisiting the painting. As I flipped the pages and consider both, I wondered how many employees or entrepreneurs actually felt this way when they worked, created or embarked on various tasks or projects. Are they immersed and surrounded – both internally and externally – in the way this boy/artisan appears and is described while in the throes of their work? Butterworth shares his thoughts on this painting (and its potential impact) in this way:
- The entire tone of the painting suggests that the whole Universe is rushing, streaming, pouring into the boy while he quietly and intently works at carving the details of the statue’s feet. He fully gives himself in creative effort/ flow – and dynamically receives in return…
- Light streams through the open window – its rays bathe him with an aura of illumination;
- The plaque on the wall behind him displays a choir singing songs of praise directly toward him;
- The statue looks down on him with love and outstretched arms – blessing him.
- Nothing can ever exceed or detract from the compensation the boy is receiving at the instant while he is working.
He further elaborates…
“If you discover the wonder of giving, you will find a great blessing of inner fulfillment in your work, which will lead to better work…”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said: “I call architecture frozen music.” Butterworth suggests that this phrase and way of thinking reflects the “law of giving” and might be true of all great work/art.”
How about you…do you allow yourself to bring the full spectrum of what’s inside you to the work you do – whether as an employee, an entrepreneur or small business owner or even just in your daily lives. Is the work you do allowing you to live to the fullest…and feel it each and every minute of each and every day?