Monday, December 14, 2009

Integrating the Whole

I'm locked in a battle this morning as I sit here this morning: on the one hand, the load of all I have to do this week is mounting up; on the other, the sense that I need to choose to react differently.

React differently? By the time I get to work, get the computer on, and make coffee, the fix is generally already in: too much to do, too little time to do it, what won't I get done today, what emergencies will occur, how long will I have to stay. And I haven't yet logged in.

What that creates, it occurs to me, is a sense of futility in work (and to a lesser extent, in life) as well as preparing my mindset to be in the defensive mode. What I need to do is change that to something else (I won't be bold enough to say positive at this point - just something else).

So here's the crux: how do I do that?

I can assure you that PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) is not enough. That has been tried numerous times, and inevitably gets wiped out as soon as the first big emergency occurs.

Scripture works better - maybe holds out until Tuesday, until it, too, gets overtaken by the realization that trying to have an attitude as a good worker does not make the work any more interesting or even doable.

So what is it? I think I know.

Perhaps it is simply the process of not investing ourselves so totally in our work that we only come to confuse our work with our lives.

By the time I am midway through the day, I am equating myself with my ability to complete everything on my plate. My whole world is essentially focused around this sliver of life (I say sliver because, when I go [as inevitably will happen], all the effort that is not self knowledge will simply turn to paper dust) instead of life as a totality, an integrated whole.

And I want that so badly - that life as an integrated whole - that perhaps I try to substitute the activity that I spend the most time at as that integration instead of putting work into the larger context of my life.

Wow. That's a pretty deep thought for 0600 in the morning.

But that's it, isn't it - or maybe part of it anyway. An integrated life. A sense that who I am and what I do are internally consistent, instead of trying to straddle parts and collapsing into the middle.

So how does one integrate - or in my case, step away from the cliff?

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