Finding Your Self at Work: The First Step, capitalism had become unmanageable

Finding Your Self at Work: The First Step, capitalism had become unmanageable

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EVO One Step at a Time. Image: Rachel uploaded to Flikr, accessed via Creative Commons Search.

This post is inspired by a new soul-colleague taking up his lifework without yet giving up his day job. I want to give him my best advice.

This comes from my deepest integration. It’s also inspired by  my soul-colleagues cultivating intentional communities, as well as income-sharing communities, and Point A’s loose web of urban communities, especially Point A-DC.

I understand how addictive a day job can be: The stability! The regular income.  Sometimes, the status. The routine that shapes us, the emotional security of overwork.

In capitalism, income is the difference between sink or swim. In capitalism, money becomes an addiction we will go to soul-killing lengths to keep pouring in. How can the 12 Steps help us?  I wondered.

My focus on capitalism as the addiction and not money is because I’m not ready to throw out money. Jesus is quoted: “the worker is worthy of his support.” (Matthew 10:10). Deepak Chopra describes “Money is life energy that we exchange and use as a result of the service we provide to the universe.” (Creating Affluence, p. 51). Importantly, these things feel true to me. They feel accurate representation of the way energy works. I think money is a perfectly acceptable baby. But its bathwater is revolting.

Here is Step One, revised “for general use with any addictive or dysfunctional behavior” by these folks, based on Alcoholics Anonymous’ historic 12 Steps. (That last link is also a download.)

1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction–that our lives had become unmanageable.

The way we work makes our lives unmanageable. We, rich and poor–working 80 hours a week at an excessively-paid job we are terrified to lose or 80 hours a week at 2+ minimum-wage jobs we are terrified to lose–don’t see our loved ones except on special occasions. Home, health, and habits are driven by something outside us we depend on but feel we don’t control. We are either preparing for work, traveling to work, working, or preparing again for work: we spend most of our salary earning salary. “Leisure” markets focus us on vacation and recreation and away from present experience, working. The Divine Curriculum I am always affirming in these posts gets my attention: A semi full of furniture just drove past my window bearing the slogan: “The Importance of Home.” What would you know about it? I wondered. Almost no one who sees the semi does so from home. No one who drives it or buys its contents is home. We can’t actually buy Home, no matter how exquisite the advertisements for it.

Many of us, especially those reading this blog, are figuring out how to quit the addiction. I like using the 12 Steps to structure our exploration because I trust them. Those who created them knew the first Step was hardest. The radical honesty it demands is powerful and a great bridge to Step Two.  Thank you for taking this walk with me.

Here is the second Step. You can find all the Steps to Recovery from Capitalism here.

 

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