Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Hard Worker and the Free Gift

I spend a lot of time and effort trying to make things happen; so much so I can wear myself out and everyone around me. It's easy to feel utterly justified in this - there are so many things that need attention, so many problems to fix. In arenas where I feel like I have something on the line, or some expertise, or I've put some time in, well, I have to admit: I get invested. And much too often, I call that being a hard worker.

You can see the slippery slope, can't you? If I'm working so hard, well I better be appreciated! It's so easy to lose sight of that investment piece - which, by the way, is really only my own personal version of how I think reality should be. It's a neat little package: I take my diagnosis of what's wrong, apply my solution of how to fix it, justify it with my blood, sweat, and tears, and viola! Applause, please, and flowers, and a raise, and a little undying gratitude wouldn't hurt either.

There's a teaching in the Sweet Medicine SunDance Path about the 5 huaquas: happiness, health, humor, hope, and harmony. Harmony is the one in the center, the quality from which all the others arise. And here's the thing about harmony: we can't make it happen. There's no way to get to harmony by focusing first on where it is not and trying to create it from there. Harmony is what we get when we are are present with the reality that is. Harmony is a blessing, a free gift. The one we get for just showing up.

When the Hard Worker in me looks at that, she throws a little tantrum. How can I accept reality given all that's wrong with it? And how come harmony, which I think of as a pretty nice feeling, is what you get when you cop out? That's not fair! What about all my hard work?!?

The reality is, though, that the Hard Worker is not really doing the hard work. Doing just what I know how to do, my way, on my terms - that's the easy way. Showing up and participating in the reality that is, and meeting other humans there on their terms, and creating something together...that takes some guts.

No wonder there's an incentive system.