Do What You Love/Learn to Love What You Do

Singer/Songwriter Marc Anthony is quoted as saying: "If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life."

While I believe this is true, it's not the experience for some of the people I know and coach. From teachers to real estate agents, in sales or retail, working from home or commuting twice a day, there is a lot of dissatisfaction out there when it comes to work.

But here's the thing: some of my coaching clients will reveal to me that they not only despise their job, they are unhappy with their homelife or their health or their relationships.

It makes me think that it is not what they do to earn money nor the muscle ache nor the broken marriage... perhaps the common denominator in all areas of the person's life might be the person themself.

Which reminds me of a story:

There once was a monastery that was very strict. Following a vow of silence, no one was allowed to speak at all. But there was one exception to this rule. Every ten years, the monks were permitted to speak just two words. 

After spending his first ten years at the monastery, one monk went to the abbot. "It has been ten years," said the abbot. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Bed... hard..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the abbot.

Ten years later, the monk returned to the abbot's office. "It has been ten more years," said the abbot. "What are the two words you would like to speak?"

"Food... stinks..." said the monk.

"I see," replied the abbot.

Yet another ten years passed and the monk once again met with the abbot who asked, "What are your two words now, after these ten years?"

"I... quit!" said the monk.

"Well, I can see why," replied the abbot. "All you ever do is complain."

So let's continue. What can one do if there is bitterness and discontent all around? And how do we love what we do so that we can do what we love?

1. Acceptance

Whatever you cannot enjoy doing, you can at least accept that this is what you have to do. Acceptance means: for now, this is what the situation, this moment, requires me to do, and I do it willingly. You probably won’t be able to enjoy changing a flat tire on your car at night in the middle of nowhere and in pouring rain, but you can bring acceptance to it. On the surface, acceptance looks like a passive state, but in reality it is active and creative because it brings something entirely new into this world. That piece, that subtle energy vibration, is consciousness, one of the ways in which it enters this world is through surrendered action, one aspect of which is acceptance.

2. Enjoyment

The peace that comes with surrendered action turns to a sense of aliveness when you actually enjoy what you are doing. When you make this present moment, instead of past and future, the focal point of how your living NOW, your ability to enjoy what you do-and with it the quality of your life-increases dramatically. Joy is the dynamic aspect of being. Watch this: If you say, I enjoy doing this or that, it is really a misperception. It makes it appear that the joy comes from what you do, but that is not the case. Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you. The misperception that joy comes from what you do is normal, and it is also dangerous, because it creates the belief that joy is something that can be derived from something else, such as an activity or thing. You then look to the world to bring you joy or worse, happiness. But the world cannot do that. This is why many people live in constant frustration. The world is not giving them what they think they need.

What do you dislike doing? Dusting… Then, whenever you dust, let dusting be a vehicle for mindfulness. Be absolutely present in what you do and sense the alert, alive stillness within you in the background of the activity. You’ll soon find that what you do in such a state of heightened awareness, instead of being stressful, tedious, or irritating, is actually becoming enjoyable. To be more precise, what you are doing is not really the outward action but the inner dimension of mindfulness that flows into the action. This is finding the joy of being in the moment while you are doing whatever you are doing.

3. Enthusiasm

There is a third way of creative expression that may come to those who remain true to practice of mindful living. Suddenly one day they know what their outer purpose is, have a great vision, a goal and from then on they work toward implementing that goal. When you have arrived at a place of purpose, everything belongs... all can be fodder for the fertile ground you are cultivating in these short years we call our life. You realize that you are "in-Godness" which is the literal meaning behind the word enthusiasm.