The Flood Cometh
Everything hit in November.
There were a few hints that the weather would be changing beginning in mid-October, but I didn’t pay them much attention.
What’s even more true is that I met those hints with assumptions rather than curiosity, and dang, that was not so useful.
Specifically, the front that came through was a flood of work. (The details aren’t all that important…)
If you’re thinking this is a first-world problem, yeah, it is.
If you’re of the mind, as work goes, that a flood is better than a trickle, that’s hard to argue with.
If you buy into the popular notion that busy is somehow a mark of status, you might not like much of what I have to say.
Long hours and hard work are not problems for me and, odd as this may sound, that’s part of my issue…
Because my “drug of choice” is work.
And that translates to a pattern of pouring myself into work with gusto, enthusiasm, and a kind of git ‘er done focus and intensity that snips the cord connected to consciousness and intentionality.
When the flood cometh, the plunge into work can feel heroic.
But this particular hero (who thinks he can outswim the flood) has deep, shadowy roots. Those twisted tendrils are embedded in looped tropes of less-than and never enough, all driven by a relentless inner-judge, ever ready to declare me guilty of terminal laziness.
If that sounds crazy, I assure you it is.
Like any addiction, it’s built on a fragile foundation of seductive lies and false promises telling me that love can only be earned by working myself to the bone…
When I step back and look from a distance, what becomes very clear is that this ancient go-to pattern is stressful, exhausting, unsustainable, and wildly unhealthy. Slowing down to take in the bigger picture also allows me to see (and feel) the abundance of love I have.
That love recalls Madge from the old Palmolive dishwashing liquid TV commercials: “You’re soaking in it.”
Here’s the thing: Even though the foundations are showing signs of cracking and fatigue – consider the current Covid-inspired “Great Resignation” – we continue to live in a culture that all but worships effort and busy-ness.
If that, too, sounds crazy, yup, I assure you it is.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m wildly grateful for the quality, level of compensation, and quantity of the work that’s come my way.
At the same time, it’s been only 6 months since I stepped away from a piece of work that was, for the better part of 17 years, a real-life dream come true.
I left that gig in the interest of focusing on my own stuff, including not only my clients and my group men’s programs, but also the many creative endeavors that feed my soul and ignite my spirit.
What I know now is that the addicted one in me remains all too willing to trample my own life-affirming creativity to chase after his next falsely noble, heroic fix.
All of this tells me that going forward, a key piece of my own inner work is upping my game of discernment. That will very likely involve politely, clearly saying “no” to gigs that, just a few years ago, would have put stars in my eyes.
There’s more than enough to go around, and chances are good that some of what I say “no” to will make someone else very happy!
Chances are even better that no one else is going to be able to walk the creative avenues that feed my soul. No one else is going to write my songs, for instance.
That is the one job only I can do.