Henry David Thoreau
There are those recurring posts on Facebook about insightful but elusive words for feelings that you find hard to express. I don’t know if there is a word for someone who feels overwhelmed when there are many things to do and far too many agendas – if there is one such word, it fits me to a ‘T’.
I get quite uncomfortable when there are too many things to do on a regular basis. I don’t mind few hectic and action packed days once in while, but I prefer peaceful life and some exclusive time with myself daily.
I am exploring work opportunities now that do not require me to work full time. Though I love and enjoy my work immensely, I would like to have time for my other interests & pursuits. Thus, I am asking potential clients/associates if it would be possible for them to offer me a role with flexible work option and lesser hours per week. In fact, I believe a focused individual can easily complete almost everything in 30 hours that others claim to complete in 40+ hours working *full time*. When I propose this, few people understand, most do not. Some close friends also get perplexed when I tell them that I’d align my work with my purpose &core self, yet I wouldn’t prefer doing too much of it. I need time to relax, I need time to enjoy my favourite book/music/movie/whatever, I need time to stand & stare and I just need some time to do nothing…..I am not sure if I can convey my need for free time to them, but for me it is important to have nice rhythm to my day and to my life. Frenetic pace, is definitely not my rhythm! Anyway!
I don’t think I can ever thank Brainpickings.org enough for giving me glimpses of so many beautiful authors and their wonderful work. This time, it was this wonderful journal entry from Thoreau, his Walden remains one of my all time favourite books! Not only that, his life and philosophies are quite inspiring as well!
I remember physics lab experiment for resonance with tuning forks – and I still vividly remember those vibrating strings and the sound when it *really* resonates well. I could feel those vibrations and sound within me when I read this excerpt by Thoreau –
The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. There will be a wide margin for relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk. Why should the hen set all day? She can lay but one egg, and besides she will not have picked up materials for a new one. Those who work much do not work hard.
And this is what he writes about his neighbour, poetic farmer –
He does nothing with haste and drudgery, but as if he loved it. He makes the most of his labor, and takes infinite satisfaction in every part of it. He is not looking forward to the sale of his crops or any pecuniary profit, but he is paid by the constant satisfaction which his labor yields him.
There are times when I have experienced this meditative poetry in my work and I know I can aspire to be closer to this experience when I am working in my own rhythm, not otherwise. Anyway!
I am wondering what these kind of resonances do? Besides such late night hyper brain activity and associated ramblings, they somehow reassure me about my closely held views regarding how I should work, and strengthen my somewhat hesitant voice when I speak about my work preferences. For my thoughts often sound radical (if not ridiculous), to many conventional people, who probably do not even explore if their work translates into some meaning for them! Reading this was in a way some reassurance for me to know that I am not alone, and my thoughts were echoed by someone I adore so much! Probably, that’s how conviction is built – bit by bit, brick by brick!
The Journal of Henry David Thoreau, 1837–1861
I have already added ‘The Journal of Henry David Thoreau’ in my wish-list! (Gifts welcome… :P) If you’re interested, here is the Brainpickings article discussing a part of Thoreau’s journal – http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/02/10/thoreau-hard-work-efficiency/
WARNING: You may eventually spend lot of time reading all associated links present in that Brainpickings article, it happens with me often! :-)
Edit: 22 Aug 2015
Some interesting articles related to this-
To Work Better, Work Less –
That is to say happiness is ultimately not found in late nights spent at work, but in finding a way to work less, even if that means buying fewer things or recalibrating your perspective such that having free time no longer suggests moral shortcomings.
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek) –
The ultimate tool for corporations to sustain a culture of this sort is to develop the 40-hour workweek as the normal lifestyle. Under these working conditions people have to build a life in the evenings and on weekends. This arrangement makes us naturally more inclined to spend heavily on entertainment and conveniences because our free time is so scarce.