Is there anyone out there who can relate to the words written about life in 1845-1847 by Henry David Thoreau?
“Most men, even in this comparatively free country, through mere ignorance and mistake, are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them.”
“He has no time to be anything but a machine.”
“…, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough…”
“…; making yourselves sick, that you may lay up something against a sick day, something to be tucked away in an old chest, or in a stocking behind the plastering, or, more safely, in the brick bank; no matter where, no matter how much or how little.”
Today I watch and observe the same. People wake up sleep deprived to an alarm that insists they step back on the treadmill. They prepare themselves for a day at work, commuting idling behind stop light after stoplight. Hurry to work, spend more time there than with your family, commute back home to share what little energy and presence you have left. Hit repeat the next morning… Living for the weekends and days off.
Now this would not sadden me, if I saw happy people. If I experienced people excited to “go to work”, witnessing joy and passion. In the thirty seven years I have been working across the grand diversity of thirty different jobs, it has been my experience that happiness is not what greets me when I enter the door to my workplace. The negativity vibrates off the walls like a slap in the face. My colleagues count the hours until the day is done, they groan about the meetings and lament the shortcomings of those in charge.
Humans are not robots. We are fueled by emotions, desires, passions, and the ultimate wish to love and be loved; celebrating in the interconnectedness of friends, family, community. In our world presently not only do most people robotically go through their day, they sit behind a machine that is completely detached and void of fulfilling any of their internal needs. This rectangular box dictates the day’s progression. It has become a physical extension of our body and sadly how we stay connected to others versus sharing time in person.
Thoreau stated clearly, “He has no time to be anything but a machine.” I wonder what he would say now about all of us? Yikes! If he found himself shaking his head one hundred and seventy three years ago, I fear his whole being would go into shock today.
What might change if we started to show up differently? I might not enjoy my present employment, however, the day will be more fulfilling if I shift my attitude and become aware of how I can serve and be positively present with those around me. I do experience that positive behavior can be as contagious as negative.
Today’s Exploration –
Are you happy with your life?
Do you go through the motions of your day like a machine?
What “finer fruits” are you missing out on in your daily life, that you can choose to start noticing?
If you are not happy, what are some small steps today that you can choose to shift things?
What if every time you found yourself complaining, you caught yourself and changed it to a positive thought?
In closing, I wish to invite you to “try out” how just changing your mindset can hugely impact your experiences and thus your life. YOU choose how you feel, NO ONE makes you feel anything.