Sunday, August 3, 2008

Suffering and Working

The other day, I was reading The Way of the Shaman by Michael Harner, and in his quest to become a shaman, he ended up in the deep jungle, and at one memorable moment, when he was exhausted and hungry, the medicine man who agreed to teach him said, "Good! You need to suffer. We want the Gods to take pity on you. Then, they might help you." And I thought to myself... THAT'S IT!

In order to Create Work You Love, (which is what we are currently working on over at the Prosperity Project) you have to be willing to sacrifice and suffer. I don't know for sure that the suffering in and of itself is necessary... but I do think that the willingness to do so is important. By that, what I mean is... when you find something that you are so committed to, so in love with, so passionate about, that you're willing to sacrifice everything for it... then you've found your "dharma," your "life's work," your "bliss".

Just think about it... if you think I'm wrong, I'd sure like to hear what you have to say about it.

I grew up on the concept that Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and all the great saints in the bible went through "trials and tribulations." Don't believe in the bible? Ok... how about Odin, Father of the Gods... he suffered - willingly... Look at just about every religious icon... and you'll see sacrifice and suffering. But that's not all... If you want to lose weight, or "beat" cancer, or climb Mt Everest... a fair amount of suffering seems to be a prerequesite for success. Read stories of great entrepeneurs... you'll see suffering and deprivation and the willingness to endure regardless of rejection and humiliation...

The more I thought about it, the more I am convinced that:

  • The "Gods" are much more likely to take pity on you and support you if you are willing to go through a fair amount of suffering in order to reach your goal.

  • If you are already doing a fair amount of suffering, there must be a really good reason for it, and the "Gods" are probably supporting you in some way - if only by keeping you alive so that you can endure even more suffering and eventually maybe even reach your goal.

  • When you find the work that you love, and work that loves you, it often requires a willingness to give or to sacrifice... and again... endure a fair amount of suffering - at least initially. Once you have "paid your dues" and "offered up your first born child" and stuff like that, things tend to smooth out, and you generally have a decent, if not a happy ending.

Now, this may not be true for everyone, but it appears to be true for me. And it might even be true for you. So... how is this helpful in my quest for work that I love? Well, I got to thinking about work that I'm willing to suffer for, and I did come up with a list, here it is:


  1. Blogging - I am willing to be up all hours of the night, I'm willing to give all my free time, I'm willing to sacrifice quite a lot to be able to do what I'm doing right here, right now. I'd do it for free (well, I practically do), I do it if I'm sick, I do it if I'm busy, I do it hell or high water... If I could make an adequate living by blogging - I'd be one happy camper!

  2. Playing on the computer - Ok... that does include blogging... and it also includes making cool stuff for cafe press, designing websites, and helping other people with their computer stuff. Again, I do it if I'm sick, I do it for free... I have to MAKE myself NOT do it so that I can have time for things like... taking a shower...

  3. Art - when I have art in progress - I can't hardly stop doing it. Yes - blogging can and does interrupt it, but I have an amazing amount of stamina and energy when I'm doing art. I can't stand at the sink and wash dishes for 5 minutes without getting tired, but I can stand at the table and work on a mosaic for hours and hours and not even notice that my feet are sore... not even notice that I even HAVE feet.

  4. Spirituality, Shamanism, Magick - I'm sticking this one in here even though I'm not sure that it's true. I want it to be true - so I'm putting it here! And god damn it, if I put it here that MAKES it true.

So... I figure that if I had a job creating shamanic art in a ritual way and then putting it on the computer and blogging about it - I'd be in heaven! I'm going to put that into a search on Monster.com and see what I come up with.

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