I read somewhere that a tenet of Shaker religion is to do each thing you put your hand to as well and as perfectly as possible, as in hands to work and hearts to God.
I like that philosophy.
I like it because it says some important things that could serve us all very well, aside from religious ideas and ideals.
Most of the deeply dissatisfied people I have known in my life were dissatisfied mainly because they were forever looking for fulfillment in the thing they had not yet experienced/accomplished/bought/found.
It doesn't have to be that way. Fulfillment can be found in performing the simplest tasks as well as they can be done. You've experienced it, I know you have. The way it feels to sit in the car you so carefully detailed? The absolutely perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookie you just made? A painting, a poem, a pizza...anything that you carefully craft to make it the best version it can be.
There's more to it than the finished product, though. If you can begin the task with presence of mind and fullness of heart, then the process itself becomes a meditative, fulfilling, rewarding and powerful place. Your world centers again, Priorities right themselves, peace comes over you and you can invest yourself fully in the moment and what you are bringing to the work in your hands.
Please do try it. Put down your phone, turn off your television and throw yourself fully into the next task you take on.
Keep a vision of what you want to accomplish in your mind, and pay complete attention to each step as you go along. You can find a state of mindfulness in your daily chores that can enhance your sense of well-being and remind you that each small thing is an important part of a whole.
You may find that you have a new appreciation for everything in your life, when you have learned to completely notice the work you are doing. You will look at the products you buy in a new way. You will look at the people around you in a new way, too. You may find that you have newfound respect for the workers around you who make the world groove along and barely get a notice.
Obviously, we don't any of us time to do every single task with careful, slow attention to perfection. We live in a slap-dash, get-it-done world and time is money. The kids are hungry. I have a million things to do today. I get it. It is very rewarding to take an occasional stab at Shaker philosophy, though. It's good for us to slow down and uni-task. Even if you struggle to pay complete attention to one, single-minded task, please do try to exercise that ability. It is worth it to experience a simple, human and profoundly satisfying state of contented devotion to the task at hand. Fake it at first, if you have to and find your way into your own heart.
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