Move the Rocks and Be Happy About It

Rock Moving
Rock Moving

At some point in my teen-age years, my Dad told me about a time he was pressured into attending a function he did not wish to go to.   Nothing eerie or out of place, just a simple social function his presence was requested at and one he had no wish to attend.

He finally decided to go out of respect for the person inviting him.

On the way to the function, he was asked to put a smile on his face.

He closed the story with the phrase,

“You wanted me to go, I’m going.  But I don’t have to be happy about it.”

Patience…we’ll get to the rocks, which I know you’re dying to hear about…

**********

During the course of my BS career, I worked nearly 30 years in a variety of industries.

Before Stroke – but it does ring true for other reasons…

There were few jobs I couldn’t find a way to be happy in.  Even when moving rocks, patiently, from one place to another.

Back and forth – Back and forth.

Sometimes, the people I was moving the rocks for made the time interesting.   As a bartender and waitress, I met many folks and heard a wealth of stories and wisdom while I ran around, taking orders for rocks and delivering them to those who wanted them.

The rocks, themselves, rarely changed.    Over and over, I took orders for rocks and delivered them.

At some point, the stories became cliche, because I’d heard it all before.   I became tired of the industry that required me to show up and smilingly deliver rocks, day in and day out, with no benefits, no room for advancement and a death certificate required should I have pneumonia and foolishly claim to be too sick to work.

I moved to a different rock pile.

**********

Learning at the new quarry kept me entertained for quite some time.   I now had to use computers to record for others data concerning the rocks I moved, when I moved them and how they were doing at their new location.

Occasionally, I found myself mindlessly moving rocks from one pile to another, report on it, and then report when I moved them back to their original location – when that occurred, I ended up changing quarries within a year – I was unwilling to move rocks simply for the paycheck.

**********

And then came the day when I was in charge of coming up with a plan as to how rocks would be moved.    I was delighted.

FINALLY!   I have the power to make sure any moving of rocks will be done in an efficient and useful manner.   Each rock touched is merely one piece of the magnificent structure and while duly noted and reported, the moving of the rocks became synonymous with the building of The Great Pyramid.

Purpose, Higher Ideals and Goals, Efficiency, Economy…

I was in Heaven.

**********

Then I discovered there are many who like moving rocks from one place to another without really changing anything.   Moving rocks around aimlessly is big business and those who engage in the activities are very defensive towards anyone who dares to question the purpose of their activities.

I spent 9 months pleading for rock movers to see the big picture.   To dream of what they could do once freed from the insanity of lugging rocks back and forth, every day, with no sense of purpose or accomplishment.

To no avail.   Livelihoods were at stake and resistance was strong.

**********

During this same time period, I noticed how very unhappy the rock movers were.    Break time meant talking about anything except life in the quarry – the party later tonight or the latest jokes and gossip making the email rounds.    Snide remarks regarding other workers in the quarry were common and among the sections most ripe with rock movers, lay the most venomous snake pit ever known to man.

I came to the conclusion that pointless moving of rocks erodes away the soul.   Deep down, the spirit knows it’s being wasted away, engaging in the futile and redundant each and every day.    But the ego understands that when you engage in the unneeded and pointless everyday, there is little room for failure.

Show up, move the rocks, be happy about it and you can survive.

I left the quarry.

**********

My co-worker
My co-worker

Now, I’m moving rocks, blocks, tires and dirt.   From one place to another.   There are days when I faithfully lug my teal bucket, reminiscent of those used on archeological digs, except for the size and color, back and forth.

Back and Forth.

All while praying for strength and stamina to carry the bucket just one more round.

Please, today, let me move more rocks.

No one pays me to do this.   No one records how much I get done each day and no one cares if I fail to take a 15 minute break at 10 or decide I’m knocking off early at noon. I do not have to sit for an hour each quarter to hear about how my supervisor wishes I could move more rocks and write better reports to justify my activities to the budget committee.   I do not have to attend seminars, classes or meetings in order to move my rocks.

I do not have co-workers who snidely comment on how much I’m paid to move rocks and I don’t have to justify my rock moving techniques to them, or train all of them on how to move rocks efficiently.

I no longer have to convince people that moving rocks in this way makes sense.  Builds for the future.  I do not have to prove that my 5 year plan is good for the ages and is fluid enough to handle future rock moving activities.

I have only to carry my bucket to the front yard and start moving rocks.

And man, am I happy about it…

Perspective, Part Dos

I’ve had the metaphor of bonfires as part of my personal toolbox for quite a few years now.   When I first latched onto it and who may have shared the idea with me I have no idea, but I know I often look at myself and laugh at the realization that once more,  I’m dancing on top of the wood pile, screaming about the unfairness of it all, when I could just as easily step to the perimeter circle, have a beer, roast a marshmallow and enjoy the beauty of the night.

I firmly believe it our duty as friends and family members to be the gentle reminders to those burning in the middle of their own bonfire.   For when your tail is on fire and you are in massive pain, it’s hard to see the beach for all the flames, if you’ll pardon me making up my own little metaphor…

I’ve been blessed with many in my circle who are kind enough to hold out a hand and gently urge me to join them on the outside looking in.

But it is not always so…

I’m also blessed with those who help me in other ways:

“Why did you build the bonfire anyways?   It’s not like you needed one.”

“You just need to put the fire out.   No sense asking for trouble.”

“Hey – you made your fire, now you must roast on it.”

While all of these may be valid points, I’m not sure they do much in the way of helping anyone step back from their bonfire.   They may incite one to leap from their own bonfire into someone else’s, but in the end, what has really been accomplished?

**********

A few years back, the news was full of stories regarding the crashing of space junk into Jupiter.   Scientist were seen giving each other high-fives and laughing in ecstasy over all the data they would get and study for years from this one event.

I thought about what their thoughts might be had they been living on Jupiter at the time of the event.

Very different, I surmise….

**********

Life events change your perspective – sometimes for the better, just as often, for the worst.

In the end, choosing perspectives is our greatest power…

Perspective

bonfireThe grace and beauty of baptism by fire –

Flames licking and leaping forward with intensity – illuminating all previously cloaked in darkness.

Consuming the old, making way for new.

Passionate energy, reaching ever for the heavens.

A sight to behold standing apart,

Where the gift of warmth limbers what has been paralyzed by cold-

And melts the cage of ice encircling one’s heart.

Just as easily, one may run blindly within the center of the pyre, cursing the heat, crying in pain and begging to be released from hell’s fire.

“Please,” calls the sage.  “Come sit by me, over here, where the view is spectacular.”

And weeps at the reply, “Can’t you see I’m busy just now?”

Window 263 – Evolving from the past

Serendipity! Poets4Justice read this gem right after visiting my Where did I go? post and was kind enough to share this. Lovely and concise, I just had to share it with you!

A Window Of Wisdom

photo(5)

“Our past is the place where our journey began but it is not where it will end, unless we remain the same.”

If you only know me from my past, then you don’t know me at all and for me to know you I would have to go back into my past, which is a place I no longer need to visit, because it no longer exists in me.

~ WOW ~

View original post

You’re Safe

While we’re on the subject of frowned upon language, I will admit, I curse like the proverbial sailor.

No, I was not raised that way and yes, I kiss my mother’s cheek with this mouth – whenever it’s not otherwise occupied by being washed out with soap…

Cursing is my way of relieving stress.   It’s my way of alerting the Universe that I’m not particularly pleased right now and could it please show me what I’m missing?

I’m certain the Universe scurries to answer whenever my voice cries, “WTF?” over the vast regions of space…

You may disagree and that’s your right…

**********

In my childhood, I was expected to take the Word Power test featured in the Reader’s Digest each month.   You know the one, a list of 20 words and multiple choice of what the word means.

The household I grew up in also placed a high premium on reading and a well-rounded vocabulary – those who cursed were deemed as too ignorant to better express themselves.

Hmm… so if I have a good vocabulary, then I can cuss, right?

And so, over the years, working in arenas that rewarded, rather than disdained, coarse language, I learned how to foul, filth, flairn with the best of them.    I would include one curse word with three or four words most people don’t use in everyday language, just to mess with people.

I once said, “I’ve never heard of anything so asinine” in the hearing of a co-worker that hated me saying ‘damn’.   She flew into me, citing, “Well, that’s just dandy, you even make up your own cuss words.”

I must say, I believe she felt rather asinine when I informed her that it was a real word and the definition meant ‘obstinate or stupid’.

But one thing both I and others who know me have learned – –

If I’m still cussing, you’re safe…

**********

In my early twenties, it dawned on me that if I was really, really in a temper, my speech was very, well, tempered.   Cool and calm, big words slid out of my mouth to inform the object of my displeasure in no uncertain terms that while they had every right to their opinion, they had ruined their chances with me and that should they find themselves conflagrant, I would not deign to convey a molecule of humectation to assist in extinguishing the ravaging of their viscera.

(Translation – I wouldn’t cross the street to pee on you if your guts were on fire.)

As long as I was cursing and asking the gods just what, exactly, was going on, I was still in a place where reason, logic and a debate could ensue to correct whatever the issue was.

If the cursing stopped, the debate was over and I was done – Forever.

**********

I then realized, sometime in my thirties, that some folks do not take your displeasure seriously unless you curse.    Over the years, I’ve logically and calmly, using good vocabulary, explained to various people what exactly the issue is as I see it and cheerfully asked how we might go about correcting it.

For some, until I said, “I’ve tried every reasonable way I know how to explain that what you promised, you did not deliver – but apparently, you aren’t f**cking getting it, so patch me through to your supervisor, unless you want to take the ass chewing yourself.”

This, unfortunately, has gotten results.

Which means my cursing habit has been long reinforced.

**********

I’m not a fan of always cursing when you can get your point across better in other ways.

My kids know they aren’t allowed to curse until they’ve demonstrated a wide and varied vocabulary, coupled with sincere attempts to communicate in a calm and logical fashion…

But I will say, cursing has it’s place and it will be a cold day in hell when I stop saying f**k.