When I journal or write things that are only meant for me to write, I often use this term called ‘my work.’ I don’t mean my job, like the thing that makes me money. I don’t mean checking things off of my to-do list. I mean the ‘work’ that when I say it, sends tingles down my spine and makes my heart smile. It’s the work of joining with millions of other people, some of whom I know, some of whom I will never meet, to collectively heal our world.
The distinctive thing about ‘my work,’ and the thing that makes me feel so good when I say it, is that it really is work. It’s slow, and incremental, and not always glamorous or even visible. It’s copy and pasting data into a spreadsheet for hours late into the night, and knocking on doors in the blazing heat, and making dozens of phone calls inviting people to community meetings. It’s spending a week to prepare a two-hour anti-oppression workshop, and spending six weeks to organize a two- hour community energy forum, and spending seven months to plan an eight-week summer program, simply trusting that each will have an impact to justify all that time.
This ‘work’ is so powerful because it is a true expression of deep love for the world, and hope for the future. I was introduced to this concept at a summer camp where I worked two years ago, where the phrase “Work is love made visible” was often thrown around. However, it was not until Summer of Solutions that I fully understood what this means. My work with Summer of Solutions helped me fully embody the idea that to work in developing the green economy is not just about getting things done, but also about continuously enacting our loving the world.
This concept is expressed beautifully by the poet Kahlil Gibran, who writes:
“Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfill a part of earth’s furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.”
This other important thing about ‘my work’ is that it really is mine. As Gibran puts it, the work that we do was assigned to us when the Earth’s dream that we are fulfilling was born. ‘My work’ is beyond my choice. It seems too integral to my being to be something I could ever get disillusioned about.
My goal as I leave Summer of Solutions and begin a year of launching a brand new program (New York City- it’s on!) is to carry my passion for ‘my work’ into all my interactions. My hope is that I can engage new people in this movement by fully demonstrating that this work makes me feel fulfilled and happy and grounded, not just when I win or succeed, but just because I’m doing ‘my work.’
Elana Bulman- Twin Cities Program Leader