It seems lately people are more interested in “to be or not to be” rather than looking at “to work or not to work.”
People hate the idea of “work”. They prefer to daydream about holidays, leisure time and early retirement. Actually in the last 20 years the word “work” has become almost as dirty as “f….” Well, you know what I mean…
On the Medicine Wheel the word “work” is in the South where the word “medicine / power” is also found. When you start exploring the South of the Medicine Wheel you begin to understand why the elements of growth, trust and love are found there; but also the moons of territory and inter-relations. Look back at those moments where you feel you’ve grown the most and tell me does it look like a cruise trip down the Mediterranean?
I meet a lot of people and “work” with a lot of them. I’m always surprised to hear that most people have high expectations but don’t like the idea of working for them. There should be more coffee breaks; more money for the hour; more vacation time; less responsibilities; and more empathy for people who are living with illness, dealing with divorce, old parents etc…
“In a perfect World,” said a manager in a local business, “we’d be able to give them bigger bonuses, better salary and retirement packages.”
It seems to me like there’s the politically correct statements; the programmed expectations; the numerous illusions; and then, there’s the actual reality of today’s working and business force. The way I see it is if the expectations don’t match the potential and possibilities then, expecting is a detrimental attitude. We need to learn how to dream again and in my World this means looking at what we want realistically and working our ass off to make it happen.
On one hand we are teaching our children to do less, expect more, and complain about it; and on the other hand, we are telling them “don’t hold your breath none of this will accomplish anything.” These inconsistent statements; which end up impacting our children the most are strangely enough shaping our future and making our present moment not only incredibly challenging, but a hopeless and helpless situation.
I often do circle with children between the age of 8 and 12 years old. It is amazing how much they soak in and ironically, no matter how much we say that children are sponges at this age, these days they are not taking in what we teach them academically. They are way too busy with the World: Their family life, technology, Hollywood, and so much more…
Sit in a circle with elementary school children and ask them a few key questions and they’ll literally list all of what is wrong with the adults in their world and the World itself.
A simple question about homework for example can become a conversation about worries, stress and expectations.
“Mom doesn’t understand my homework, she’s too old for it,” said an 8 year old boy recently, “and anyways she’s too tired for homework at night.”
“My dad isn’t home when I do my homework,” said a young 9 year old boy, “he’s still at work and anyways it’s a mommy’s job to help children with homework.”
My grand-mother helps with my homework” said an 11 year old girl, “because my mom and dad were not good parents to me.”
Drugs and alcohol are still an issue in most families. I’ve talked about the effects of alcoholism in my family; and heard my parents discuss how it was an issue as they were growing up. No matter how much we paint it as “a rite of passage for teenagers” or a welcomed aid in social events it is still about needing “time off.” We constantly seek out ways to tune out the reality of “labouring” through life.
Most of the parents we spoke to believed they were good actors and careful in censoring their use of leisure drugs and alcohol; yet, 4 out of 6 children knew exactly what their parents were doing whether it dealt with sexuality, drugs or alcohol. Honestly I remember being a child and I knew when my parent were under the influence. I could feel they were different and sadly as well as ironically, I remember telling my grandparents one day how my parents were nicer to me when they were drunk.
Today, I can’t help but shake my head.
According to a long list of reporters, psychologists, and statistics we are nicer to children than we have ever been. Children are allegedly protected nowadays against sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse. We have social workers and social programs to remove children from abusive settings. We have the police, call centres and even schools who are devoted to giving the best to our kids. – And yet in every circle I have ever given I always get one or two teenagers out of 30 who tell me: “Nobody was around for me.”
Just yesterday I had two elders share the most awful story with me. They live in front of a day care and elementary school. Since the start of school in September, they’ve witnessed a black car parked in front of their building. It’s there for two hours during lunch and reappears at the end of the day. Kids constantly come to the window and after exchanging money they leave with drugs. A few of the elders who live in the neighbourhood have been reporting the phenomenon to the police and each time they are told: “There’s nothing we can do…”
One elder was told: “Aren’t you getting tired of reporting constantly the same incident,” as if the officer was getting annoyed with the complaint.
The elders I was talking to were frightened. They talked of an increase in crime and a fear towards being unprotected. More and more we are programmed to believe that nothing can be done to change the issues in our World. We are told not to fight and not to work…
We’re spiralling a downward spiral and yet, it doesn’t take much to bring forth change. Teaching our children, teenagers, adults and elders how to work through issues, memories, and daily tasks certainly won’t solve the problem but it will definitely ground us enough to be able to tackle every other issue out there, one at a time. Example, I told the elders to approach the school and day care. Complain to the caregivers so they can speak to the parents and the kids. Rally people in the community together. Work with others to get rid of drug pushers.
“The Police would be most likely to participate” I explained, “if it was approached by a council or what we call “a circle of people.”
No doubt it takes a lot of consciousness, strength, energy and effort to bring about change. Yet, if we all make the conscious decision to devote our lives to change and truly, WORK at it --- it won’t use up all of our energy. Every day, I remind myself to anchor the SOUTH in my life: To stand in my power, to use my medicine to benefit others, and to work towards the future; which for me means committing to the next 7 generations. Don’t be afraid to work at something – it’s the medicine we need to get out of depression, suicidal tendencies, irrational emotional reactions and lethargy etc…