Core Circle - Work and Vocation

Opening Words:

"Formal religion always gives us hints about the depth dimension on anything in daily life, in this case the idea that work is not the secular enterprise the modern world thinks it is.”

- Thomas Moore

"....they thought that play and pleasure are more blissful than work; but there is nothing more blissful than work, and love, precisely because it is the supreme happiness, can be nothing other than work."

- Ranier Maria Rilke

"I don't like work -- no man does -- but I like what is in work -- the chance to find yourself.  Your own reality -- for  yourself, not for others -- what no other man can ever know." 

- Joseph Conrad

“A society that gives to one class all the opportunities for leisure, and to another all the burdens of work, dooms both classes to spiritual sterility.”

- Lewis Mumford


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For our purposes, think of human work as different from doing a “job.”  Human work includes whatever we might do to earn a living, but it also includes washing the dishes, meditation, prayer, self-improvement, raising our children, maintaining our relationships, shopping for groceries, jogging, thinking, doing the laundry, learning to love…  In short, think of human work as the Work of Life.

From physics, we know that work is to directed energy to effect change.  But physics also assures us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In other words, it is largely through our work in trying to shape the world that the world in turn shapes us!  In this sense, engaging in the work of life is a channel or conduit, and perhaps the primary way in which we learn about ourselves and the universe.


Focus Questions:

How and where did you learn to work?

Remembering your childhood, what stories from your family, or what stories that were read to you about work were formative, informative, or often repeated? 

Is there a connection between those stories and your personal work history? 

Is there a connection between those stories and how you think about work today?

Who were your role models about work?  What and how did they teach you?

If given the task, what and how would you teach a child about work?

What do you know, or what have you learned, that has shaped the method or content of what you would teach?


Likes And Wishes


Closing Words:  Two final quotes:

"By the work on knows the worker."

- Jean de la Fontaine

"Work is love made visible."

- Kahlil Gibran