In many countries, human activities are organized around the seasons, or where seasons are more continuous, around periods of wet and dry or light and dark. Work which incorporates the rhythm of nature and an understanding of life is healthy and soul-enhancing.
Shift Work Needs to Shift
Working on 12-hour shifts and varying often between day and night shifts with no adjustment time neglects the body’s natural rhythms. Shift workers live an average of six years less than non-shift workers and have more health problems. Those who are not shift workers but manage or own businesses also work very long workdays or weeks together. Wages have not increased to keep pace with inflation, and everyone works longer hours for less pay.
The Cult of Overwork
In the increased anxiety around keeping businesses profitable, making enough wages to earn to support your life and avoid cashflow issues, work addiction has become the norm. We must ask ourselves if we are engaging in soul-promoting or soul-destroying activity through this unhealthy focus on continuous work with no attention to cycles or development. We must ask ourselves what void this social reality of work addiction is attempting to fill.
Learning from Nature
In the natural world too, there are periods of intense toil and sacrifice to mate, give birth and raise the young. However, this sacrifice has a cycle, a rhythm and a purpose. Sacrifice and toil towards a positive end and a life-enhancing purpose allows us to live in harmony with the natural changes of seasons and the processes of birth to death. If the sacrifices inherent in work have purpose, and a positive result, then periods of overwork help to develop stamina rather than to promote addiction.
Rest and Reflect
- What do you think about this idea? How would your work be different if it respected natural cycles and seasons of people and the planet?
- What are the indicators of work addiction or sacrifice in your life?
- What could nature teach us about rewiring ourselves for healthy work instead of addictive work?
- At work, what is the role of sacrifice and purpose within a context of naturally unfolding cycles and seasons?
This is the second part of a trilogy of podcasts taken from the beginning of a book I’m writing called ‘The Spirit of Work’. This book based within knowledge combined from spiritual practice, world religions and great thinkers and offers a framework to reimagine work from the context of humans as spiritual beings taking spiritual stewardship of the planet.
I look forward to your responses and feedback – I’d like to know if this material helped you, or if you would like to suggest some changes. You can comment on this or any of my podcast episodes in our WorkandCulture twitter account or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also leave a voice message in my Skype account AMGEDUC. Or, if these musings inspire you to work with me, I would be most interested in hearing from you. We can chat and see what might be beneficial to both of us!