Surviving or Flourishing?
“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” - Mary Oliver
Full immersion. It’s the recurring theme of Mary Oliver’s work. As a poet, she constantly invites and even provokes readers to question how fully they are engaged with their One Wild and Precious Life. If you applied her challenge to your work life, what answer would it evoke?
21 days ago I had a sabbatical from my usual routines and took part in a rewilding retreat with the tagline A chance to slow down for 20 whole days, live in a magical location and breath deeply. The respite from email, Facebook, mobile phone and computer, was a welcome break from all the surface noise. Having neglected to do a great deal of reading over the last few years, I savoured a couple of books, including Studs Terkel’s classic, Working - people talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do.
In an interview he held with a movie critic, she spoke of traversing a sea of unfulfilling jobs until finally landing something she loves. Reflecting on the pilgrimage she said, “I never felt they [office jobs] were demeaning, but they exhausted my energy and spirit. I think most people work at jobs that mechanize them and depersonalize them.”