Point of Extraction
"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by standing in one's own sunshine."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stress, a defining characteristic of our modern culture. There seems to be no escaping the endless void of stress. Whether it is work, family, finances, or a cruel mix of it all, resistance is futile. I tell you now, I believe none of it. I refuse to believe that anything should cause us to be afraid to venture outside the norm, to strike out on a new adventure, to contemplate the meaning of life, or to simply live. In all our stress we have forgotten how it feels to be at peace for any more than a moment or how to be at peace with who we are for that matter.
Let's remedy that shall we?
In a previous blog entry I introduced the idea of self-imposed exile, isolating yourself from the outside world so as to take the time to find parts of you that may have been lost to the chaos. I'd like to take that idea a step further and talk about the act of extraction.
When I talk about extraction, I literally mean pulling yourself out of the equation all together (this has to do with perspective only, not tune in, turn on, drop out style). So often we put these crazy blinders on and end up looking through the lense of our own irrational emotion. In the wash of these emotions we begin to see only ourselves, and the world, through this jaded rationale. On the whole, this act has nothing to do with a selfish instinct on our part, but has everything to do with the system we currently occupy.
In this system we are constantly bombarded with the idea that we are merely part of a whole, a cog in the machine if you will. This sense of constant belonging places the weight of decisions made by the whole evenly on each individuals shoulders, dispersing the load squarely between parts of the whole. In theory this should work to alleviate the stress on each individual, but it hinges on one very important factor: each pillar (individual) must be equally as strong as the pillars it is surrounded by in order to evenly distribute the weight of choices made. This is simply not a truth that can be applied to any species, especially humanity.
We are not born equal. We do not develop equally. We do not love equally. We do not hate equally. We do not think equally. We are different in almost every way from those around us, and in order to realize this, you must extract yourself from the principles that govern the life we live.
Money, currency, commerce, monetary value; we earn it, we spend it, we save it, we invest it, we can never escape it. For most, accumulating wealth is indicative of a type of happiness, for others it is merely a means to an end. No matter how you view money and its impact on your life, when the bills begin to pile up, the debt collectors begin to harass you, and you still have mouths to feed, stress is soon to follow.
The first instinct for most is to look back with regret on the decisions that led them to their current financial predicament. This is an exercise in futility. The past is a jumbled mess of circumstantial evidence at best, to rely on it outside of cursory glances is beyond worthless. You have already absorbed what you could from those experiences, put them out of your mind and focus on those things in your present.
The easy way out involves the thought, "How can I get out of paying for this?" As I'm sure you already know, this doesn't work. What you need to do is extract yourself from the anger, and guilt, to a place where you can clearly define your motivations. Begin to take a closer look at the why behind your finances, and a how may be easier to swallow.
Understanding the original motivation behind some expenditures is important for two reasons: First, it is way easier to justify paying for something when you fully understand the impact it has on your daily life. Second, after coming to grips with the first part, frivolous expenditures begin to come to light. This deeper understanding of personal expenditure gives perspective to the whole idea of money, giving it a higher purpose instead of merely something you continually donate to the void.
You must extract yourself from how you have been told to proceed and blaze your own path.
During our more formative years we are encouraged to look at our profession and work life as some grand accomplishment to strive for. Unfortunately we are also told that with enough effort we can do whatever we want to in life. This isn't unfortunate because it's untrue, but because at the age we are told this, we have no clue as to what we want to do, nor what our childhood desire may entail.
Many of us get bogged down by the thought that we haven't made of ourselves what we should have...we haven't accomplished what we could have. These thoughts tend to narrow our view of who/where we are.
In order to achieve peace in the workplace, you have to extract yourself from the indentured service attitude that seems to permeate the modern workplace and erase all those silly childhood expectations from past.. You are not there to do someone's bidding. As a matter of fact they are paying you for your expertise, for you help in achieving their goals. Does this remove responsibility? Of course not, that would be irresponsible, but it does put you on equivalent playing fields. They need you to perform a service and you need their money to achieve your true goals.
Most importantly, you must erase what you have been previously told, or have seen, about "work" because it no longer applies. There is no plane of existence in which circumstances remain the same. The era in which we dedicate ourselves to a profession and allow it to define us has passed, and we see the futility of that idea every time we drive past empty buildings and foreclosed homes.
Your work life should never define you, it should only serve as a means to facilitate your truest self, the one that is happiest outside of the confines of work. True happiness can never come from someone else telling you what to do.
This is the culmination of all the extraction my fellow humans. All the stress we have alleviated, all the moments of peace we have accumulated, all the self-awareness we have cultivated is expressed in the beauty of true personal relationships. Immerse yourself in the joy of having a partner to extract with. Everything else should fade from existence when you are in the moments shared with a loved one. Never, ever, let the manufactured stress from the outside world pollute those moments that you have with the person you love.
Let me know what you think below...