Friday, April 13, 2007

Working Life, Living Work

"Oh, you're leaving?"

Twenty past six. Yes, I was leaving.

My boss was all in: she was going to be there after dark and would probably be back early in the morning. Sometimes I'm there after dark - and/or early in the morning - indeed, I worked on Good Friday while the rest of the staff was off, owing to an audit that has not been going smoothly for us.

As a general rule, I am committed to being there for eight or nine hours, working hard, and then stacking up what I couldn't finish and leaving for the day. Put it down. A human life requires balance. We need to leave the office and devote time for making love, feeding our bodies good food, prayer, zazen, reading and writing, education, making art (or enjoying it), yoga. This list does not even take parenting into account!

My mother is at her office by 6:00 am and is usually there twelve hours later. She brings work home with her on the weekends. She is utterly invaluable to her employer.

Not my choice. For me, work will always be part of my day and my Zen practice.

At my current job, I am very fortunate in that I was asked to lead a meditation group on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On those days, I actually have a semi-officially sanctioned break to go and sit. (I surrender my lunch hour for this.) Makes it easier for me to remember, during those 8-9 hours, to return to my breath. Even during an audit - which has brought some pressure on me these last two weeks. Regardless of the situation: breathe, return to the essential question - what am "I?"

Life does not stop between 9:00 and 5:00. There is not "work time" and "time for everything else." There is not sacred time and profane time, except in thinking. It's all your time.

The great job of being a human being, 24 hours a day. What a beautiful job it is.

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