“The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.”–From Marge Piercy’s, “To Be of Use”
This poem by Marge Piercy is a favorite of mine. It defines, for me, that struggle for self-actualization in one’s vocation or calling. But there is another kind of work. It is the work of self-love and acceptance so that you look within for a place of refuge when challenges arise instead of looking outwardly for succor. The things we look outward for can take many forms. Television, social media, people, and food are a couple of forms that seem harmless in and of themselves. I could name far more harmful means. Really anything can be harmful when it is a proxy for looking inward for contentment, peace, and happiness. When we make even the most benign things proxies, expecting them to give us what we should give ourselves, we can lose ourselves in them.
This work is very difficult. Thankfully, we don’t have to get there all at once. Little by little, step by step, day by day is the surest way. Some days I do well at this and on other days I do not. When troubling emotions arise and I acknowledge them and let them pass without doing harm to others, I am doing well. I don’t do so well when I magnify those emotions and project them upon others or engage in things to take my mind off the emotions. It is okay to redirect yourself, but it is harmful to do this before acknowledging the emotions and the origin of them.
Today, I am okay. I’ve done some walking, writing, and reading. I contacted a friend via text and she called me instead of texting back. I couldn’t hide the blahness in my voice in the way I could with texted words. She acknowledged that we both were sort of ‘boring’ today–our calls are usually livelier–so we ended the call after sharing what we had done for the day. Maybe a shift at the library today would have been good today. I don’t work again until Saturday.
I call this post, “Press” because on days like this pressing is what is advisable.