As I’m getting ready for holidays a question about my salary came up in one of my workplaces. I sat down with someone to answer some questions about it. As I looked at what I was paid I felt a sense of obligation and unease rise up in me.
Am I really worth what they pay me?
Do I give them value for their money?
In the last four years I’ve been cultivating a life that is Spirit led, rather than driven by ego, culture, obligation or responsibility. In the last four months the word I’ve been living into has been ‘sustainable’. How do I have a life that is sustainable? I found I was getting exhausted and just couldn’t keep up the pace.
Do they pay me to get exhausted or do they pay me to be sustainable? I’m so well taught in obligation, responsibility and productivity. They feel normal to me. All around me in the workplace I see people that work, work, work. Somehow being exhausted at work is accepted, and actually, often silently applauded. It is seen as good to work really hard.
To say I’m feeling grounded,
that my life is sustainable,
somehow seems like I’m cheating them! I’m not giving them my ‘all’. Do I really earn my salary if I don’t exhaust myself?
I need a new question: What difference does it make if I give my employers and parishioners – my exhausted ‘all’ or my ‘sustainable’ self?
I want a sustainable life, one based in Spirit led freedom. If I pursue that end I think the quality my people will receive will be a stronger Spirit offering. Am I deluded? Am I lazy?
As I head off on holiday, I’m delighted to realize that I’m not exhausted. I’ve been able to make the changes I’ve needed in the last four months so that I think I still fulfill my work commitments. I’m able to provide the spiritual leadership I’m asked to offer without draining myself. No burnout is happening. Parker Palmer describes burnout as happening when we’re giving what we don’t possess, giving beyond what is our calling to provide. I hope I’m learning to live closer to my deep God-soaked truth. I trust my people are still being spiritually nourished and spiritually led through me. I hope I’m learning to work more intentionally and stronger in the way that blesses God, and in doing that earn my salary!
I won’t be posting blogs during my summer break. I’ll return in August and start again. Right now, I’m hanging the sign ‘Gone Fishing’ on my door. I’m off to hug a few trees, listen to the birds, paddle a canoe, enjoy family time and read a few novels.
May you find a sustainable and enriching rhythm for your life!
See you in August!
Love and prayers,
Community Leader Contemplative Fire Canada
“Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” ~ Etty Hillesum