I’ve talked before about loving where we live…about making a relationship with where we make our home part of our spiritual lives. But a good portion of where we live is spent doing something that a good number of us don’t like in a place that many of us loathe. I am very lucky that I like my job, that I like where I work, that I believe in what I do, and that I like the people that I work with and that I work for. I have’t always been that fortunate though. I’ve worked places where I didn’t like the people, or I didn’t like what I did, or where I was…but I’ve generally been lucky enough that I could always find something redeeming, even if it was very small.
Nearly all of us have to work. Whether we work in the home, or out of it, in a factory job, a desk job, outside, or with the public or not. No matter how much we might like our jobs (and especially if we do not), it is still work, and there are still days where we would rather stay at home and drink hot cocoa in our jammies all day, or play at the beach, or just roll back over and go to sleep, than go to work. Its called work for a reason… And considering we spend so much of our time doing it, I think many of us need to develop a healthier relationship with our workplace and our workspace. So here’s my advice, not just to you, but also to myself:
Love your job.
If you can’t love your job as a whole, find something to love about it (other than going home at the end of the day or getting a pay check).
If you can’t find something to love about your job, find the something in what you do that is redeeming.
And if you can’t do that, at least find the honor in the act of working while you look for something that you can love
Another thing to think about: If every job sucks sometimes, how can you minimize the suckitude? Even more, since we spend so much time working and at work, how can we make our work spiritually meaningful, and our workspaces nurturing of our spirit? Particularly if we are in a secular workplace, and/or a work environment that is hostile to non-Christians? I’ve been working since I was 12 (with a work permit), which is as long as I’ve been Pagan as well (though not as long as I’ve been openly Pagan)…and several of those years were in the Navy, a few of which were onboard ships with very little private space. I have a couple of ideas, and if you have any as well, please feel free to add them in the comments.
- Don’t bring your work home, physically, mentally, or spiritually. If you have a bad habit of bringing work home mentally or spiritually, develop a personal ritual for your drive/ride/walk/bike home that lets you shed work from your psyche, or a cleansing ritual for when you come home, etc. If you have to do work outside of work, try to do it outside your home–in a library or coffee shop with wi-fi…if you can’t, try to have an area in your home that you just use for work or consider cleansing the area where you work at home, particularly if the work you brought home is frustrating or invokes other negative emotions.
- Protect your personal workspace from bad juju, whether that be your office, your cubical, your area, or just yourself. Consider carrying or placing stones or herbs that absorb or block negativity. Consider cleansing your personal space. You can do both of these without attracting attention–herbs and stones look like potpourri and decorations (stick a magnet on the back, or hot glue them to a clothespin and stick them up), and rather than smudging (which may be against fire code depending on your workplace), you can make an infusion in a spray bottle to clean with physically as well as psychically. Lavender and lemon make a wonderful (though somewhat nontraditional) cleaning and cleansing mix (there are enough people that don’t appreciate sage, that I would caution against using in a shared workspace). And, even if you work in a place where scents are unwise (if coworkers have allergies or you work with patients), you can do the same thing with salt water or with charged or blessed water.
- Invite good juju to you. Like the above, consider using herbs and crystals to attract positivity (rather than repell the negative). Consider shielding yourself or your workspace. Creating a renewing and nurturing work area when possible with live plants, bits of nature, use of color, etc. If you have a shared workspace or your person is your workspace, try making a charged infused after-bath moisturizing oil to use, or something else you can wear (like an amulet) under your clothing or uniform for the same purpose.
When you plan out what steps you would like to take, consider a few things. What does your job need from you? Do you need to be calm? Productive? Creative, accurate, empathetic, assertive, what? Also consider what you need from your job (from the actual work to coworkers, boss, etc). Do you need support, or do you need to be left alone? Do you need creativity or seriousness? These should be the good juju correspondences you are trying to attract. And, don’t forget to consider what you don’t need from your job, as well as what your job doesn’t need from you. What are your bad habits? These should be the bad juju ideas you are trying to get rid of, one way for the other.
The most important thing though, is to build resilience and have a back up plan. Not matter how much you may (or may not) love your job, there are always days that just suck. Think about developing a regular meditation practice as a method of building mental and spiritual fortitude, and to be more in tune with your physical state, which is connected with your mental and spiritual state. If you already meditate, developing a shortened “reset” meditation that can easily be done over a bathroom break can be that much easier. Become proficient (if you are not already) at grounding and centering, so that you can reach out and be connected at a moment’s notice. One of the most common (and for many people, most effective) grounding meditations and visualizations is the Tree of Life grounding. Put a little something in your pocket as a focus tool, like a worry stone or talisman. If you have an area to go outside and spend a few minutes renewing in nature when you are feeling stressed, that can help too.
While most of us have some work-free idyllic fantasy, its probably not happening any time soon, even if it might be a feasible long term goal. Find ways to make work spiritually and mentally renewing (and don’t forget the common sense healthy stuff like exercise, diet, and proper sleep!!). In the meantime, making work as pleasurable and worthwhile as possible is the best that most of us can do…