Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pick-O-Litter Vacation Book Reading




Vacations are wonderful getaways; it Feeds our Soul. Andre's reading and book review of Thomas Moore's, Life At Work, delivered a refreshing renewal for him while visiting The Lakeway Resort at Lakeway (Austin) Texas during a Toastmasters Conference.

The book deals with a deep and complex theme with a light air of gentleness, provocative-thought, and entertaining vignettes. 5-Star Rating!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Life At Work; How to Obtain Soulful Meaning from Work



Thomas Moore, unbeknownst to me, was a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. One of his works, Care of the Soul, elevated him into National Prominence. That day, in the store, Way Behind several not-so-famous cookbooks, was the GEM that I’m about to tell you about. A Life at Work.

For the last several years, I had embarked upon a personal quest to discover meaning in both my personal as well as professional life. It is said, When the Student is ready, The Teacher will appear! I can attest to that axiom. Thomas Moore’s, A Life at Work, was written especially for me.

The Essence of Life At Work

Reminiscent of its title, Life At Work, the book reflects upon our association and relationship with our jobs, careers, and work. All in all, we spend more than two-thirds of our Adult Life at work. Work is more than a job, a paycheck, or a grind. The reflection of Work itself is Life; and vice-versa.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life At Work, The Conclusion

How many of you all recall having to deliver a Book Report in front of your entire classroom group of students? What were you all thinking and feeling at that time? Betcha, you can't remember the title of the book or the report...but I know you recall your first or second experience related to that event.

I'm having a similar experience, now, at this moment. Why? Because I want to speak in depth about a Very Powerful Book that has changed my life. Two books have influenced me deeply. One: The Holy Bible; the Second: Life At Work, by Thomas
Moore.

Olivia Mitchell, Author of Speaking Presentation (Blog), suggests that Speakers can deliver Wide or they can Go Deep--But NEVER along the same time during a single talk. Heeding her advice, I've chosen to go deep.

The Essence of Life At Work

Reminiscent of its title, Life At Work, the book reflects upon our association and relationship with our jobs, careers, and work. All in all, we spend more than two-thirds of our Adult Life at work. Work is more than a job, a paycheck, or a grind. The reflection of Work itself is Life; and vice-versa.

Going back again to Life At Work's essence, the concepts of Spirituality are reflected throughout. Particularly The Human Soul and Spirit. One's Soul, while being connected to the invisibilities of the incarnate universe, is also of Being Grounded. Grounded is literal; The Earth...dirt, rocks, and plants. Ever heard the old saying, "Gardening Grounds Me?"

Then there is Spirit. Y'all have all heard this catch phrase a million times. Everything from, God is Spirit...to I need a pick-me-up to Life my Spirits!. Life At Work suggests that Spirit is Air or Head; Soul is depth, lower, dirt. To fully function as balanced and whole beings in the working world, we need to be both Soul-Grounded and Head-Spirited.

Chaos and Ivory Tower
Show of hands please; Whom has experienced a positive or negative vocational change within their working lives? Maybe you haven't...no matter, because You Will at some point. Again, show of hands please. How many of you all can relate to this statement: When I lost my job, started my first business, or was forced to retrain, I was devastated...Yet, it was the best thing that ever happened to me? Was that period a time of Chaos...uncertainty coupled with anxiety or even fear?

Life At Work suggests that this Chaos is part of an Opus--a Musical composition of broadness. We go through these tough times, mount our troubles, and overcome these obstacles. In his best-selling semi-autobiography, Man's Search for Meaning, Dr Viktor Frankl chronicles his internment within a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Torture, squalid living conditions, abject hunger, and the complete genocidal extermination of his entire family, led Frankl to his psycho therapeutic technique of Logo therapy. Simply, a therapy of meaning.

What we truly crave, within our lives is meaning. Unless we intimately connect to True Meaning--that is, Soul and Spirit, our ego attaches itself to a meaning of superficiality. The Unreal appearing Real...hallmarks and tokens of success. The dimensions of our work office/cubicle; the amenities of either the executive washroom and/or the Company vehicle assigned to us. How about this: my aspiration to elevate from my assigned first floor office to that of my Bosses' 7th floor office.

Symbolically, desiring more work prestige is an Ivory Tower fairy tale. Upon attaining this goal, we are left empty and incomplete. Moore allegorizes this portrayal beautifully by recalling the Fairy tale story of Rapunzel and The Prince. Moreover, climbing the ladder, achieving higher goals, setting our sights high, etc., etc...This mindset is the Ego's thirsty quest for the Ivory Tower.

Heading The Call via Loving Work

Ministers are Called to preach; they answer the call to be installed as a Pastor of a particular church. Mother Teresa was called to be a Nun; serving the poor unselfishly. Callings are often thought of as an ecclesiastical phenomenon. I beg the differ.

Whatever we are passionate about...vocationally-speaking, is a Calling. The Author writes of retired business owners that supplement their incomes via jobs as limousine drivers. During interviews, they speak of the enjoyment, relaxation, and people-connecting derived from driving clients to and fro various destinations.

On the other hand, Life At Work cites instances of Successful persons achieving financial and expert success within occupational fields. Fields that they Hate; entering into because of expectations from either their parents and/or their peer social circle. "It goes without sayings, there was no question in my household, that I would go to Med School." "From Day 1, I was groomed for the Family business.

Chances are, that following a path of working in a vocation that makes us feel spirited and alive, leads us to a higher plateau. That plateau may not translate into financial gain nor communal prominence. Maybe, that work makes us feel good about ourselves and our world. Knowing that, perhaps it's not far fetched to look upon this as a Calling. "Do something you love and you will never work a day in your life. -Confucius (Answers.com-Wiki)

Without a doubt, we have moments and/or tasks on our jobs that we like and love. Yet, continuing to work within an occupation that doesn't provide deep (soulful) satisfaction as well as passionate (spirited) thoughtful meaning, is an absence of love. Continuing on, our Love for and of the work, dies...Like a wilted rose that's been cut-off from the vine without placement into a vase of water. We wither away and feed upon ourselves.

Discovering the Rainbow's Pot of Gold

Life At Work isn't a how-to bible...nor is it a recipe for a magic blue pill to make our work life fulfilling. Rather, the book provides insight. My personal thoughts, once upon a time, was that vacations were are waste of money and time resource. I now know, as probably most of you already realized, that vacations restore our soul and recharge our batteries (spirit).

Having pleasurable hobbies, such as gardening or painting landscapes, feed our psyche and is stress-releasing. Spending quality time with our children...fishing or visiting the zoo, connects us to meaning, purpose, and balance.

What is the Essence of Life At Work? Simply Three Things:
  1.  Recognize the Importance and Contribution of Work;
  2.  Allow Chaos, and become aware of the Ivory Tower;
  3.  Find Our Calling and Discover Love through Meaning.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life At Work, Part 6

Loving What You Do, the theme of Life At Work Chapter 10, is a recurring theme in all of our work lives. Let's test the water: "How many of you all LOVE your Work?" No, not the money, power, position, responsibilities, etc...The Work! Do you REALLY Love your work (job--career)?

The very same thoughts and feeling that you're having now, as I asked the question of you (do you...), are those of my own. Perhaps, that is why Life At Work  Chapter 10 resonates with me. Continue down this path with me to engage Thomas Moore's writings and reflections upon this theme.

By now, after almost six installments of analytic review of Life At Work, the reader can see Moore's writing penchant throughout. It's reflected in almost all of his 15 book publications. Life At Work is my first read of Moore's work; yet his book titles will support my contention. Moore writes about The Soul; this is his way, his Dharma, his Tao. The Soul is where Moore eventually gets us to within his many pages.

Whereas Moore explores the Greek/Latin types of love (Eros, Agape, Philia), I've decided to steer away from that topic. The exploration of that course is too far and wide. For the sake of simplicity, let's just say that Love..Is What It Is!

Regarding work: Who do you love...What do you love...How do you love? Love is an emotion (many will disagree; citing that love is first a thought)--a feeling. That feeling (of love that is) is usually a burning desire and/or a pleasurable sensation. Have any of you all ever received a work-related Raise and/or Promotion? How did it feel? Good-to-Great, Right?

That pleasurable feeling (love), felt upon the receipt of the monetary raise-promotion, was time-sensitive. Short-lived; soon it wore off and you were back to where you started or worse. The Old Grindstone, no doubt. Why, because what we were in love with, in the first place was recognition, financial gain, power...The Stuff!

Stuff--in and of itself is OK. But Stuff ain't gonna take you down the long-long-long Yellow Brick Road. And so, we enter again on Life's Work-Highway. Speeding up, only to slow down as we approach Exits. Looking for an exit; looking to get of this Work-Highway that is leading us down a path to ultimate success.

However, that proverbial success is the Work-Highway's success-destination (aka, destination to success). It belongs to the Work-Highway...it doesn't belong to us. Kinda like 'My Office' doesn't belong to me; it belongs to the Employer to whom I answer to. Are you starting to get this as I finally am?




Real Estate Mogul, Billionaire, and Television Star of The Apprentice is the media epitome of success. Without regard to the inner personal machinations of Mr. Trump, we can suggest that The Donald has led a financially successful life. Viewing his Hit television show, the boardroom scenes show a CEO that carefully analyzes, reviews data, sizes up the Apprentice wannabees, and summarily Fires one or two players. He is Good!

Behind all of this is the probability that Trump LOVES his work. It's been said that we must have a passion for our business...and that our business must be in our passion. I submit that Donald Trump's wealth is an outgrown of his Life At Work, Love for his business! When is the last time that You or I proclaimed, 'I Love What I Do?

What Do I Really Want?

After going back and forth, over the years, I've embarked upon a new career path. Waiting for, The Call, I've braced and prepared myself for the career change. I want it badly; yet the change will occur and when the Divine Creation deems it so. Until then, I wait, and I wait, and I...

A Life At Work,  is for You and I. My multi-part book report is for your benefit. Yet mainly, it is for mine own. My report is therapeutic and releasing. While I wait for, The Call, I'll share my secret career wish with you all via YouTube Video...