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Kelly Prentice on the beauty of imperfection
My Struggle with Puritan Work Ethic

IMG_0670It’s a paradox I’m trying to figure out about work ethic in this time and place in history.

On one hand, I know there is work to be done and I feel this sense of obligation to DO. Call it the Puritan work ethic, the Western mind, or the Virgo in me… And there’s that kind of smug self satisfaction (that only humans have I presume) when checking off the to-do list.

On the other hand, as I sit completely silent in meditation each morning, so much MORE gets done. How is this possible? Some people might say I’m lazy, even good-for-nothing, if they saw me sitting for 20 minutes every morning. But I realized, when you learn to listen and be guided, amazing things occur without DOING anything. Thoughts arise. They might be mundane, they might be more deep. No matter, the practice is to try to let each thought go. More thoughts come. You let them go. You begin to realize that you had no idea all of these thoughts were roaming around in your head. But, then you realize what a relief it is to empty yourself of these thoughts. Sometimes it’s a hurtful comment that someone made the day before. Sometimes it’s a something more like, “What do I make for dinner?”

Then you learn how to be the silent observer… You watch your breath. You watch and listen to your body.

As you practice more, you begin to find more space between your thoughts. First, a little bit, then eventually what feels like a vast ocean of open space.  Then, it hits you. Forget the to-dos on the list, this is what you are meant to DO. Just sit. Without this sacred practice, this sacred time, you would not let go of the mundane thoughts that pollute your mind. You would not be open to new ideas, new energy, to the magic that is life.

Why is our self-worth so tied to the need to accomplish tasks?

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