Monday, July 27, 2009

To Be of Use

Part of having self-respect and getting respect from others is about, not only respecting others, but helping others and doing work that is useful and meaningful. I believe that each of us wants to do things that make a difference--and as we do them, we feel better about ourselves.

Of course, doing meaningful income producing work in today's economy is a near impossibility. A friend of mine recently quoted me lyrics from a song we both knew: "Your life is more than your work and your work is more than your job..." (I can't find the song on the internet but I'm pretty sure the folk group Bright Morning Star recorded it and maybe someone in the group wrote it.) Our real work seldom gets paid but it may be the most useful things that we do.

Of course this is all related to my post last month on 'People Who Need People' (6/6/09). I think that helping others is some of the more useful work that can be done; other than trying to make the world a better place (aka Social Change) which, of course, really does help others, if not directly then in the long run. What I'm saying here is that being useful not only feels good, but I believe it's a basic human need.

Ram Dass and Paul Gorman, How Can I Help?--I mentioned this book in my resources to my 'People Who Need People' post; it's full of challenging and sometimes helpful guidance; a very condensed, 'digested' version is available online and though I think it may be out of print, the book is available from used book stores as well as Ram Dass Tapes
Joe Dominguez & Vicki Robin, Your Money Or Your Life--A program for achieving financial independence that deals with the way that consumerism ruins our lives and the earth and advocates nine steps to increase financial security--I mentioned this in my resources to my post on 'Protection from Poverty' (6/18/09)
William Morris, "Useful Work versus Useless Toil"--An 1896 analysis of what work is actually useful, as opposed to what benefits the capitalist system instead of people (also on the internet here)
Marsha Sinetar, Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow--A guide to developing 'Right Livelihood'
Barbara Sher, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was--A motivational guide to figuring out what you really want to do

Quote of the Day: "The work of the world is common as mud. Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust. But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies... The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real." - Marge Piercy

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