July 26, 2007

Out of sight, but not completely out of mind

It's the first day of a four-week vacation I've been looking forward to for months now. Time to unwind from the stress of the office, and to do a few of the things I don't get around to in the nine-to-five grind (nine to six, in my case). And although I plan to distance myself from my everyday routine, and my everyday state of mind, I don't plan to "escape."

What do I mean by that?

A few years back, when I was working somewhere else, a colleague of mine came back from a multi-week vacation. I asked him how it had been. "Wonderful," he said, "I didn't think about this place for one second." At the time, this sounded just fine to me. But now I think this typifies a psychopathology of our times.

Indeed, I plan to allow myself to let thoughts of work slide for a few days, maybe even a week or two. I'm lucky enough to have the kind of job that I don't have to stay in contact with the office even when I'm on holiday. I'm a corporate editor. I'm either there to edit or I'm not. So I don't have to think about the office. But I also don't plan to blank it out, like it's some kind of bad dream I'd rather forget.

Eventually, during some of my more reflective moments, I plan to think about my workplace. "On vacation?" you say, "Are you nuts?"

I've had a change of attitude in recent years. Most of my life I made a sharp division between my work -- the place where I made the money I need -- and my "real" life (friends, family, intellectual and artistic pursuits, mystical studies). But the job I have now was the result of intense visualization, and part of the way I got the job involved a prescient dream, and a coincidental (read: synchronistic) conversation with a casual acquaintance. This job was fate. Now I realize that most, if not all, of my previous jobs had been fate, too. Now I pay more attention to what happens at work. I do my best to apply myself to the work. Not out of ambition, but out of a sense that it is a path of growth and development. I pay more attention to the relationships I develop with people in the office. In general, I try to be as aware and conscious as possible at work, and about work.

But things go wrong, and I recognize repeated patterns that have hindered and hurt me in the past. Now I meditate on problems and challenges I have at work and visualize the things I desire to manifest in my work world. But that can be very hard when you are in the thick of it.

Now that I'm on vacation, I plan to take some time to think about work, and to visualize the solutions to problems that have plagued me. In proportion to the rest of my vacation, it will be a tiny fraction of the time. But with that little bit of investment, I will be better prepared to return to the office, and I will have set energies in motion that will aid me in mastering the situation once I've returned.


Attila Borcsa said...

thanks for leaving a reply on my blog, now I discovered yours and looks like you have quality stuff here!
Regarding this post, interesting how you do not wish to separate work from real life, still you plan to think about work while in real life :) It is really the ideal way of living to be able to not to separate work from real life. Don't you think? But that might be a result of "luck" or good fate. Now you wish to manifest things at your work, still you admit it was fate that you got there. I am not sure about what kind of change you wish to manifest, but do you think you are there to bring a change?

Theo Huffman said...


I'm only replying now because I've been away in the countryside with my family and some friends: taking walks in the woods, cooking (for nine people!), seeing some sites (around Szigetvár), reading in the garden,... all those things one does on vacation.

And now to address your questions:
It is really the ideal way of living to be able to not to separate work from real life. Don't you think? But that might be a result of "luck" or good fate.

As I once heard a wise aikido teacher say: "If you can't get involved in your community, you should find a community you can get involved with." To say it is ideal is not the same thing as to say it is a matter of luck. Ideally one should not compartmentalize one's life. One should be conscious and involved in all of it, and understand that it all inter-relates. (I'm beginning to sound like a Buddhist all of a sudden). I can't fully live this way yet, but I am striving to. Ideals are to be striven for.

I am not sure about what kind of change you wish to manifest, but do you think you are there to bring a change?

Though I didn't use the word change , I guess all solutions are necessarily changes. Am I there to bring a change? Yes. To the corporation I work for? Probably not. It's a huge Behemoth that exists in many countries. The solutions I seek are mostly about how I relate to my work, and how I relate to the people I work with. I always endeavor to be a positive force in the lives of people I interact with regularaly.

Crystal Tang said...

I like the fact that you talked about visualizing what you want. I am not in my dream job, but I do believe in fate. I'm not sure what it has up its sleeve, but it seems to be stuck up there. My dream job is in the arm pit of fate.

Theo Huffman said...

Hey Crystal,

I've been reading your blog. Working in a plant nursery ain't a bad job. OK, maybe it doesn't pay like being CEO of an insurance company, but who'd wanna be CEO of an insurance company? (Come to think of it, one of the greatest American poets, Wallace Stevens, was vice president of an insurance company. Different strokes...).

I worked in a garden shop once. Other than spending an inordinate amount of time watering all the starts in their shallow plastic trays so they didn't dry out, most of my time was spent reading huge gardening reference books so I could wisely advise people who came to me asking what I recommend planting "in that shady spot behind the house next to the arbor vitae." Primulas?

Anyway, count your blessings. You'd have plenty more diet and exercise issues if you sat at a desk all day, like I do. I'm into a serious exercise regimen. Have to be.

Thanks for dropping by and commenting.