Saturday, April 28, 2007

Do You Love Your Work?

Small World Park, Pittsburg, CA
(photos by Minotte)

When you love your work, it's really not work. And I think, that's the way to go.

Today, we were in the midst of moving homes. Regardless to say, it was busy, messy, and confusing. It is also the height of allergy season. My eyes are watery and severely itchy. I am sneezy and itchy all over. And today, the temperature will reach a high of mid-80's--which might as well be 90's under the sun. And also today, I got my period. I suffer from cramps and nausea.

But I have 3 assignments to cover today. If I did not like my work, any one of the reasons above would have sufficed to just stay home. I thought diligence dragged me out of bed, into the shower, and into the car towards my first assignment, a children's fair in a newly-renovated park, where the sun was high and so was the pollen count. I shot a couple of photos, talked to a couple of families picnicking. The sun was so bright, I couldn't see if my pictures were good in the screen. And before I knew, it, I had spent an hour in the park. I forgot about the heat and my sneezies seemed to clear.

On I went to cover an anti-march crime, in full glory of the noontime heat. There are no trees in the water park, where they were to start from. The concrete of the parking lot was reflecting more heat into a slight headache. I prayed: "Lord, help me through this. . ." The Lord showed me all these rallyers--they were doing this under the heat of the sun, too. They were doing it to curb crime in the community and to honor the police.

I knew I got several shades darker when I reached the Art Walk in Brentwood. But the energy of the artists tided me over. They were fun, committed to their craft, and excited to introduce me to their work. They stood in the heat, too, hoping to sell some art. Through them, I realized how privileged I am to like what I do.

When I got to my sauna of a car, I was dizzy. I was hallucinating about an ice cold shower and air-drying myself until I got the chills. I got home and jumped into the coldest water I could set. I realized that I love my job. I hate the heat but I was able to bear it. My cramps and my allergy seemed to wait until I finished. But the heavenly cold water washed all the heat away.

I would write for free. (I have and I will! In fact, I would do many things for free.) I realized it is not really the writing. It's the feeling that I am echoing out the voices of the community into paper. There's a high that I get and it feels like my high when I make a good batch of bread, or when I finish a crocheted scarf. I realized that it may not be what we do per se that makes us happy. It is the feeling we get while we work that makes us happy.

There is a feeling that fulfills when you know you like what you are doing--be it raising your kids, ice skating, painting, or analyzing financial statements. So if you work to earn a living, I hope that you at least like your job because I can't imagine how unhappy you can be, spending a third of your day, a third of your life doing something you don't like. That is the biggest waste of time, I think.

I have had jobs I didn't like to do. I even lost my hair and had a fever for 7 days with the last job I hated. My body was really sending me bigger signals to quit. I would rather be poor than do something I didn't like. But i realized that you can have it both--work you like and a decent income.

In heaven, we cannot bring our work, our jobs. But we certainly will bring with us the feelings and memories we had about them. So collect good and high memories.

Do you like what you do?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Heaven in a Flower

to see the world
in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower,
to hold infinity in the palm
of your hand
and eternity in an hour

--William Blake

(flower from monica, photo by minotte)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Non-Pursuit of Happiness

Born Happy (photo by minotte)

The Oprah show today featured Dr.Robert Holden --a man who has dedicated his life to studying the pursuit of happiness. The psychologist is the founder of the Happiness Project in England and the author of 10 best-selling books, including Happiness Now!.

Holden's spiritual teacher told him: "You have to understand that the pursuit of happiness is a mistake. You don't chase happiness out there. You learn that you're happy inside you and then you go running. Then you go into the world."

You can't pursue happiness. Happiness is within you.

I never thought of it like that but it does make sense. I know happiness does not lie in the watch you wear, the car you drive, or how big your home is. Holden says we were all created happy. How we perceive our experiences in life is what teaches us how to not happy. There is also what he calls the "happy-chondriac," --those who are afraid to be happy because we were taught that happiness has a price, and there will be a fall, a payback.

Holden says that chronic sad sacks and complainers are happy-chondriacs. They like to live life and complain. Sometimes, we think we don't deserve what we have. But really, we all have to dare to let life be great, and to trust that good things can happen, and that they can last.

"One way to do that is to surround yourself with people who already know that. I think it's also great to have some friends around you who can remind you, because we do forget," Dr. Holden says.

Also, Holden suggests that we let go of our imperfect past. We can't have a perfect past anyway. "And then take a vow of kindness, be kind to everyone," he said.

Destination affliction is the condition Holden coined for those who promise that they will be happier in the future, when they have a certain job, when the kids are grown, when they have their own home. These people live in the not-now. Holden promises that they will not be happy when they reach their destination. A bigger house will mean the lack of proper furniture and the empty-nest will mean loneliness.

I should remember this because I tend to put my dreams on hold because the kids are young. I want to travel--Italy, France, Greece, I want to learn how to rock-climb, live in a small house at the foot of a hill and own a small bakery. And then I realized that I can save up to travel now--with them--if we are lucky, on a cruise, why not? I should also check-out rock-climbing sooner than later because I don't think arthritis and rock-climbing are best friends. I also started honing my bread-making skills now (not later). I should also remember to dream big and to want to earn money, and not feel guilty about a windfall or two. Or not to put myself down when I am doing well. I should remember not to be afraid of my light.

Take the test
and find out how happy you are. Read about the whole show here and hope it helps you find your own (inner) road to happiness.