Today was Labor Day. I woke up feeling very anxious. I felt like I should be doing something. No matter what I do sometimes I feel like I should be doing something else. I had the day off from work and so did my kids but my wife was working. I had to come up with something to do and if I did not come up with something the kids would end up watching TV all day. I hate that because it makes me feel like I am failing as a parent.
We just moved from Connecticut to North Carolina. The area is new to me and I am not entirely sure what there is to do around here. There is this lake nearby where we can rent a kayak. I did not really want to do that because we just moved and I have been hemorrhaging money. It seemed like an unnecessary expense. So I was torn. I am a bad parent if I do not spend money and take my kids somewhere but I am irresponsible if I spend too much money. I cannot win either way. I recognize this dilemma because of my experience with Gestalt therapy. No matter what I do I am wrong.
It is interesting to consider this feeling of needing to do something within the context of Labor Day. This holiday celebrates labor, hard work. I used to work for a national law firm and hated it because it felt like I was not doing work of any consequence even though I was working long hours. I never felt like my work was important. The dilemma repeats itself. I work hard but my work is not important. So I am not really working. It does not count. I cannot win.
But there is a small victory in recognizing the fact that I cannot win under any circumstances. I recognize that there is this force that wants to fuck with me no matter what I do. When I am not aware of this I think if I just get all my ducks in a row then I will not be fucked with. This of course, is an illusion. I am asleep when I think this way. There is no way to get all my ducks in a row and even if I did I would be fucked with then for some other reason. When I recognize this I am more awake (in the Buddhist sense of the term ‘awake’).
So where does this leave me? When I wake up feeling anxious I am being fucked with. There is an energy within me that is telling me I am doing something wrong. To the extent I feel anxious I am believing the message of this energy. To the extent I recognize this dynamic I gain separation from it. This is a victory but each victory is small. So on Labor Day my task is to do nothing and to try to be okay with it or at least recognize the energy trying to make me feel not okay with it.
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