Work is Sacred
A poem I love from the Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh is “Drink Your Tea:”
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, As if it is the axis On which the earth revolves Slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.
How would life change for the better if we could do this more often in our work lives? The poem is a great reminder that we can intend that more moments in life are fully lived in because the reality is that life is happening now and how we show up to each moment has a ripple effect. The ripple goes out from this moment not only to affect our own life but that of everyone around us because at the deepest level we are connected energetically.
This is especially true in our work because we touch so many lives through it, beyond what we normally are even aware of consciously. And your deepest work can be your creative expression in any area - volunteer work, caring for your family, a side business, whatever you do to bring your unique skills and passions to the world.
The sacred is something respected, treasured, and treated with great care.
Try this new perspective on: our work is sacred. We often associate this concept with religion but what it means is something respected, treasured, and treated with great care. The sacred is extraordinary, not derived from what is viewed as the normal order of things, the regular and routine way of approaching and treating the experiences of and the people in our life. The regular order of things at our workplace given changes we have experienced during Covid or if we are now working from our home offices may not seem to lend itself to reimagining in this way. Yet we can bring a fresh and sacred energy to any place and situation.
We have to decide, make an intention, to approach work through this lens and to be devoted to our work at a deeper level. The challenge is to be clear - what we are being devoted to in our work? Results, outcomes, rewards, pleasing others? Or are we devoted to being an appreciative and beneficial presence in our workplace and knowing that the “doing” will flowing from that place of being.
Slowing down and treating moments and encounters at work as sacred will help us navigate the next months in this country which will be challenging for us all. Our tendency as humans is to rush ahead and even to anticipate danger to protect ourselves. Yet one way to strengthen ourselves is to step out of that stream of stress and embrace the sacred. This will help to provide a balance to the fear and anxiety that may arise as a result of health or political or economic challenges you or your loved ones may be facing.
How do you bring the sacred into your work? Here are some possibilities:
- Shift your attention from your things to do or pressures and challenges to serving others. Ask how can I be a beneficial, value-added presence for others today? Does someone need my love today? Include co-workers, customers, managers, and anyone who makes your work possible. Yes, we can do all of that with Zoom, phone, email, social media if we work at home or bring it to our workplace out in the world.
- Create a sacred workspace by lighting a candle, placing sacred objects such as a Quan Yin statue (goddess of compassion), the Buddha or an image of a favorite goddess (my current one is the Celtic goddess Danu) or superhero, beautiful beads, crystals, or protective stones on your desk or in your office. Make it feel harmonious for you and you will embody harmony and the sacredness of your work.
- Include healthy plants, flowers, or beautiful artificial flowers (keep them dusted), or paintings or pictures of such in your workspace. Bring in a small fountain.
- Play calming, beautiful music or music that inspires you or makes you happy without it being too distracting.
- Set an intention of who you want to be at work this day – are you showing up as Love, Light, Openness, Joy, a source of encouragement? If we bring forward the beingness of our workday it will help to balance out and enrich the doingness we tend to let run things.
- In your mind and heart wish everyone you encounter a blessed day. Blessing is powerful beyond what we imagine or even need to comprehend.