Thursday, September 25, 2014

Entry 23: Meaningful Work


Entry 23: Meaningful Work

Oct. 19. 2012

Is there more than one definition of hard work? Did a guy who used to be in the Navy Seals become lazy because he can no longer do 300 pushups due to being injured in a car accident? Did the progressing arthritic who needed to get a special cart with wheels to get their groceries become a cop out? Am I a cop out because, although I pushed myself to make a nutritious dinner, I needed help to pick up the mess and clean up the dishes to load the washer, because I was having a fibro flare?

Society today is so go go go, so we tend to feel like “failures” when we just have to stop, or make modifications. North American society especially seems to look upon un-faulted debility as a shame, or as a pity...or as both synonymously.

To make matters worse, this shame seems to extend to whether a person "requires help and/or accommodation." In many other societies and cultures around the world, and sometimes even in religious beliefs...debility is seen as a "family responsibility.” If a family member is sick or injured, other family members come in to help them without much question or resentment. In Islamic cultures it is seen as a religious service to Allah, as a great positive of family loyalty and love. I've found this through having Islamic friends, although I am not religious but spiritual.

If many were not as blinded by islamophobia, they could see the positives. I think we should remember that religious extremism occurs in all religions, and that positive attributes occur in all religions too.

Extremism doesn't necessarily represent the key philosophies and principals of those religions. I personally am not able to agree with absolutely everything from any one religion, so I choose not to be of any one particular religion, although I’m spiritual.

Back to why I brought up Islam, I recently read a paper about how autistic children in the middle east (particularly severe) get some of the greatest care and unconditional love within their family, in the whole world. It was interesting to observe.

Many cultures and religions, Islamic being one of them, would consider having the thoughts of needy family members being a burden as morally wrong. It is. However, our North American societal attitude is of someone who may be disabled from full time work and needing the help of caregivers being “lame” and “less achieved.” It's also, paradoxically, beneath a surface glossed with phony philanthropy, in a series of "politically correct" and "obligatory" actions.

Here it is not only a burden to help another person, it's something we better be paid to do. In fact, we accept this as fully part of business to "serve" people.  This way, quality of care is given in tiers based on financial status.

The most important point to this is that the ones who collect the most money from this "service" are those who aren't doing any serving at all. Not only has "helping" service been mostly capitalized on, but it is placed on a pyramid where the ones who are doing the serving are getting paid the lowers wages, sort of subliminally suggesting that it is a form of labor reserved for the "economically/educationally inferior." The ones running the “helping” business aren’t doing the bulk of the work, but are raking in the doe. It’s like modern serfdom.

Often, those who are unable to work, especially if on disability income assistance or whatnot, are placed even lower than those who are "at least able to work." It definitely goes unsaid and is very subliminal, but it's very much the way many tend to think of those having to be on disability assistance. It's a source of shame.

It's almost like society is under a sociological hypnosis and they are all chanting "time is money, money is time, time is money..." and there is no moment to stop and say that you love this person, have compassion for them, and see them as a human being.

Another fellow human being whom you are helping because that is love and service, and that is what we are supposed to do with each other. That is what we're here for. Not to be obsessed with material gains and status in the way of level of education, rate of wage, level of political power.

Sadly, we are often disabled from finding the time to provide more assistance to those in need, because we need to earn a living and survive ourselves. In fact, and in respect, it's necessary to be paid even if one wants to be in the helping profession passionately. This is the way it is right now. Obviously, people have to make a living. It's about being fair about it, and (in my humble opinion) being self- employed interdependently, as opposed to being "below" in a tier system.

Those who are really able have the time to freely help, without losing out (including a needed pay check) are the wealthy. Of course, they do not do it often enough. They are often wasting a lot of their time and money on things that are ultimately irrelevant.

Leading was supposed to be for a helpful purpose...not for abuse of power by multiple ways of retaining multiple and proverbial material possessions to the point of gluttony.
Following wasn't supposed to be really following in the way of a herd, to a leader who says they are better than you, in exchange for comfortably overly modest sense of self and basic security.

I think following really means following purpose, virtue, the pull of the universe, following in the way of observing where there is need for service, and a compassionate desire to give it. Following by way of working with a team to build a bridge or a temple, or a shelter from the cold. If we help our loved ones in need then that is spiritually following.

Again, some cultures frown upon paid positions to service those in need, out of belief that it is a family affair. I see their viewpoint, though here it's not set up like that. In theory though, it's beautifully primitive and humanistic.

When did everything, even the personal things like healthcare and caregiving move from shamans and loving family members, turn to money making businesses where someone at the top thrives in luxury and those underneath take a wage barely decent enough to care for themselves… as they perform the necessary labors? It happened starting long time ago.

Eventually those caregiving people may end up sick and tired, and need the system and caregivers paid a low wage too. The cycle continues. Well, that's backwards to the family inclusion that represents love, as opposed to greed...just look at it. However, it’s set up this way and almost unrealistic to get out of it. Change can only happen slowly, by way of gradual modification. In addition, there are people out there, even smaller-business-based companies within the helping professions, who are genuinely coming from compassion.

So back to my question and actually, what is the real defintion of hard work? Busting in obedience, in order to be qualified, classified, certified or whatever else it takes to be in adequate wage rate, to survive and pay debt? To become the people at the tops' favorite banking and spending victims? Or trying your best with what your life experience has given you, to follow a purposeful career which answers only to your own entity, and in which your cost of service is fair, reasonable, and allow the time needed to hold your family dear, and help them unconditionally as you are able, and as is needed. This holds virtue.

Even if you are sick with chronic illness, debilitated and compromised in some way; but you spend each and every day enjoying life as best you can to the fullest; this is the best one can do. Rising above, practicing hobbies and talents, sharing them as a therapeutic outlet for yourself and others, is wondrous. Whether you are part of creating positive political change that will work to abolish injustice.

Whether you are an artist producing beautiful works...I feel that the real "achievers" are those who are true to themselves, and good to others, who "harm none" and also, care for themselves too.

I feel it’s greater to be one who is conscious of humanity and purpose, as opposed to being "obsessed" with what society deems as "achievement" and "adequacy." This attitude infiltrates our North American culture, and the culture of the modern "developed" world. Maybe we need to look past the illusion, slow down and go back to the beginning...before we started to try to become "Civilized" and Colonial.



- Rose Whitson-Guedes



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