I don't know whether I will post this for us or not. This morning, I am thinking about work and shame. Thinking about the way shame subverts our thinking, even in our work. Not in our paid work necessarily ~ but that is because the rules and the roles are very clear ~ but in our ability to be tumbled into our work, into the moment in front of us, body and heart and soul. This ties in to integrity, but also into something very much more. Work, simple physical work requiring no great thought, is a precept of most spiritual beliefs I can think of. In working outside yesterday, I reminded myself again and again just to do what I was doing. A good, good job but no thought beyond the physical work I was doing. This morning, I am thinking about, reading about, shame and the invisible place beneath it. It is the invisible place that, in its very invisibility, informs the shame. Just because it is there, there is shame. Little banners and stickers of shame, all around the invisible places within us. I think, this morning, that our attitudes toward our work can be healing things. Whatever the work is, our attitudes toward it, our decisions to engage fully, matter very much to our healing. We use our work to stand before the invisible place, very present. I read this morning about misogyny and age and women and depersonalization. About the sense of contamination or decay that surround the aging process, most especially for the female. And I wondered how to be healed, how to stay (or become) centered, how to cherish being here at all (which is often lost as we age, and come to see ourselves as others see us). Work is the answer. Not the physical work of whatever we are doing, but the commitment to it. This morning, after skipping around reading many things without much discipline or grace, I decided to think about how I was thinking about what I was doing. It was a simple matter to grant myself the dignity of the work I was doing, but I had to choose that. Negativity at the heart of us regarding our work and its value was a paramount thing preventing concentration. It was as though I did not perceive myself, for myself, capable of producing work of value. I was surprised, to realize this. It has to do with not paying attention, with not requiring ourselves to pay attention, to what we are doing. It has to do with that shame mindset ~ that is here, somewhere. Then, I remembered the Benedictines and homemade soup and homemade bread and washing dishes by hand and maintaining silence, and how that felt, to be in that space the Benedictines had created through the force of their will. There was nothing there, when they began construction of that place I came very much to love. Nothing there. Now there is a University; a hospital system; a culture of caring and generosity and volunteerism. A renewal center. And part of that is that days they did not want to work were just days they did not want to work. Part of it is that no work is seen as more valuable than another. Work itself is the value. Talent or education decide the kind of work, but not the attitude toward our work or the ultimate value in it. I think we've all forgotten that. We think it is about relaxing when really, it is about wholehearted presence in something made meaningful by our presence; made meaningful because we are there. And we have been talking here about integrity, and about Germany and what that means, to claim Germany. And the Buddhists too, cultivate simplicity and work and silence and no work is more valuable than another and no person is more valuable than another. So, that is what I am thinking about this morning as regards the shame base, and how to heal. Could it be so simple a thing as our attitudes, our sincerity, toward our work. To do something well for the sake of it, and to require that of ourselves instead of the whining and sulking and defying I was doing yesterday about working outside when I would rather have been here, where there is feedback and sometimes, I get gold stars. Working, alone or alone in a group; integrity, a thing we practice alone or alone in a group...maybe even joy, a thing we practice alone or in a group. Cedar There is something here for us; something to do with our attitude toward ourselves, and what is revealed in the way we see our work. "When chopping onions, just chop onions." It's like that. Tears are part of chopping onions. What is coming next once the food has been prepared is in the future. Getting through the chopping part or complaining about the pain or remembering other onions are distractions. "When chopping onions, just chop onions." That is from Michael Pollan's Cooked.