Laboring Under Illusions

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In the United States and Canada, today is Labor Day: the Monday off that celebrates the efforts of workers.

If you’re a business owner, there’s a good chance you’re working today. This quiet day at the end of the summer can be a great opportunity to get stuff done, to reboot for the fall.

I’m not here to say “don’t work” or “work”. I’m here to ask you to be curious as to how you are working or not working today.

Soon after I started my own mindfulness training, I noticed something odd about my desk. On some mornings, I was excited to sit down and start typing; on others, it felt like there was an invisible force field around my workstation, deterring me from entering.

Mindfulness generates awareness about what’s going on with us. We notice how we feel. Next, we bring some curiosity to that awareness. We might ask: Why do I feel like that? What’s going on here?

I would often find myself sitting down – yet feeling bad. I could push myself to start work in defiance of the force, but invariably when I did that, I was listless and distracted, and my efforts were poor.

But when I noticed what was going on with me, I would realize there was something that needed to happen first, before I could do good work. There was a roadblock that was keeping me from progressing on a project.

Once we realize that, we an remove that block and start working with flow.