Whistle while you work
I have a friend who's impressing me a lot at the moment. And not for the obvious reasons. He's a man with a clear calling: to develop and teach his own now-nascent method of a well-known martial art. And he applies himself each morning with dedication to this. But then the rest of the time, he applies himself equally diligently to a range of other tasks - most of them quite menial - whether it's late night cleaning at a local girls' school or shift working in a supermarket.Why does this impress me? Because he's demonstrating resilience and adaptability - the very skills that we need to develop the most in these times of austerity and change. A kind of willingness to adapt to what life hurls at him and make the best of it - to, 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!' There are countless people, at the moment, of course, having to take on work that perhaps that they wouldn't have chosen just to make ends meet, having been displaced from the work they're familiar with - and were possibly even passionate about. But some are bemoaning their state - where others, like my friend, are making the most of it.And somehow when you show the universe you're willing to work with what you have, you open a door in yourself where new opportunities can reach you more easily. And conversely, when you're holding on to something for dear life, afraid to lose it, somehow you block the flow - and the blessings that want to reach you cannot do so (I wish I could find a less religious-sounding word to use there, but I can't).And sometimes it's in the 'nitty gritty', the wholly unglamorous, that we find the most transformation (which is, in my view, what it's all about!). As a teacher of mine once memorably said, 'You can even ascend these days washing the dishes!' And probably especially washing the dishes - or at least wherever you find yourself coming up against something in yourself that kind of forces you to grow!It reminds me of the time I was 'living in community as a guest' at the Findhorn Foundation in Scotland, eight or nine years ago. As part of the deal, living there, each of us was given daily work in a particular department, to contribute to the life of the community we were living in. I was interested in nature spirits and earth energies at the time - and so I wanted to work in the garden. But of course, whenever we did our group 'attunements' to determine who was working where, I would always end up being stationed in the 'homecare department' instead. And what was worse I usually ended up cleaning the toilets!But infact it turned out to be some of the most transformative work I've ever done. I've always been one of these people who likes to do quite traditionally creative work and doesn't respond well to doing too much 'nitty gritty'. But somehow something was showing me I needed to do it. So how did it transform for me? Well, I got so much into my job that I wanted to make every toilet and every bathroom sparkle and shine. I started to have a love affair with the work. And in each bathroom, when I felt the work was done, I would stand up and 'bless' the room with light. And the atmosphere of this humble little place became like a temple! It was extraordinary. And guess what? When my time was up, I didn't want to leave.So what am I saying here? Perhaps that willingness to do whatever, especially in these times, is particularly important. Because things are shifting and changing and realigning so much that we can hardly count on a job for a month, let alone a 'job for life'. And part of the teaching in this is in learning to let go of our view of how things should be and accept them as they are... mental health in the extreme - and we might even learn something about ourselves in the process!