My favorite luddite introduced me to Thomas Moore on Meaningful Work this week. In true luddite style, he handed me two audio cassettes with Moore’s excellent dialogue. I must have looked a little puzzled, and confessed I didn’t have a thing to play them on. No worries – he happily lent me a portable cassette player reminiscent of my high school days.
Now, my fingers are not as adept at the play-pause-stop-rewind-forward shuffle as they used to be. Once upon a time, I carried my first Walkman around singing Beach Boys tunes. I seem to recall knowing just how many seconds of rewinding it took to find the exact section I wanted to hear. For those of you who know what I’m talking about, it’s rather like riding a bike. Before long, I was on my way, loving what Moore had to say.
I was struck by Thomas Moore’s suggestion that we think of our life’s work as an opus. Most commonly applied to music or other works of art, the Latin term opus refers to any work or accomplishment. Certainly, our work as parents can easily be thought of as an opus! I am embracing these highly empowering thoughts from Thomas Moore on Meaningful Work, and applying them to my life as a parent:
- “The process of our work is as important (or more) than anything we might produce.” I see the process of parenting as more important than any so-called “finished product” (read: adult) that I help produce. The day-to-day journey, and my evolving relationship with my children, is what matters most to my soul.
- “We find ourselves in our work….We are revealing and incarnating that person we are that we don’t even recognize until it is revealed in our work. We open to the realization of who we are and what we are capable of.” I had NO idea the person I would blossom into as a parent. I certainly didn’t feel like a “natural-born mother” after giving birth to my first daughter! 7-1/2 years later, I am amazed at the person I have become. I am by no means perfect, but there is a depth to my life, and an internal happiness that is greater than anything I knew in my pre-child life.
- “If we can have the vision and commitment to give ourselves to something bigger than ourselves, some of the rewards are spiritual rewards.” I don’t think it’s possible to devote ourselves to our parenting opus without reaping significant spiritual benefits.
- “It is a pleasure to see ourselves mirrored, reflected in the world outside us…a cure for narcissism.” It IS a pleasure to see myself mirrored and reflected in the outside world through my children. I am a better person for it!
Do you have thoughts on your parenting work as an opus? I’d love to hear about it by reading your comments on this blog.