Thursday, August 23, 2012

I'll Take One Life with No Work, Please. And a Side of Sparkle.


I am reading a book right now that basically makes me feel like my head might just **POP**!

The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff was published in 1986; I would have been one year from graduating from high school.

The book is about how we raise children, but it's about so. Much. More.

It is one of those books about which people say hyperbolic sounding things like, "If a book could change the world, this would be the book."

The truth, though, is that that hyperbole is...true.

There is one concept early on that strikes me as utterly, ground-breakingly revolutionizing.

Jean spends a bunch of time with the Yequana, a tropical rain forest tribe of Brazil and Venezuela.

She does some hard work with these people, of course, being used to a Western lifestyle and suddenly having to spend time every day just getting drinking water.

She growls and feels grouchy about this work, but she looks around and sees the Yequana are always, well, giggling, laughing, having fun, enjoying themselves.  Even when they are doing something that seems a bit dangerous or physically exhausting, they are...smiling.  ((insert creased eyebrows face of confusion))

She comes to learn that they...

Wait for it...

This is huge...

Let this sink in for a moment...

They do not have a word for "work."

It is not a concept in their culture.  They have words, of course, for separate activities, but they do not have one for the idea of "work."

Is it sinking in yet?

This means, of course, that there is no distinction between work, play, rest, recreation, leisure.  Everything is just...stuff you do.

And they do it all with playfulness and in community.

Here's a little story from my own life:

Imagine that Marcy and I are working on a project in the yard.  We are...cleaning garden beds and trimming bushes.  We have a list.  Or at least, I have a list inside my head of "things we must get done."

She turns to me, quite frequently, and says, "HUG BREAK!"

(By the way, this is a true story that is replayed over and over again in our lives.)

And I say, "No! We have to FINISH!"

And she pouts and says, "There is always time for hugging!"

You get the idea.

I have learned that the most efficient thing to do is to give her that hug break...so we can get back to the work.

Marcy is one of those magical creatures that you hear about -- like a unicorn -- but I happen to live with her.

Her natural attitude toward FREAKING EVERYTHING is that LIFE IS FUN!

It is like she was raised by Yequana!  Or Care Bears...

The point of all of this:

What would happen if we got rid of the idea of work in our lives?

What would happen if we saw everything as an opportunity for play?

Do you hear the start of a true, real revolution in these ideas?

I do.

But as the Dalai Lama says in the film Kundun, "You cannot liberate me.  Only I can liberate myself."

It's up to you.

Did your head pop?

OH!  And I don't think a fundamental change like this happens in one SNAP!  It can take time, and it takes daily, minute by minute remembering.

It takes, again to quote the Dalai Lama, CONSTANT EFFORT.

Which as I have said one million times, does not mean "once in a while."  Constant.  All the time.  Every second.