When work swallows us whole

“We can’t turn our true selves off and on situationally and expect them to carry and sustain us. Rationing creativity results in bipolarism of the spirit. Our creativity is also our life force. When we turn it off and on like a spigot, we start to become less and less able to control the valve.” ― S. Kelley Harrell

Work is work, right?

It pays the bills and not much else.

Of course, this could be my dystopian version; yours might be very different — do share.

In truth — my truth — no one wants to work. Instead they:

want to be seen as who they truly are;
want to create;
want to come alive to true self; and
(god forbid) want to be happy.

But work’s not set up that way. It’s there to keep you in line in a way that, over time, first represses the soul, then eviscerates it.

In short, your (true self) completely disappears.


This was me at least.

And so, I jumped from the professional but oh-so-wrong world of private practice (law) into the unknown.

No plan.
No goals.

I didn’t want to be anything more than free.

I know, it looks dreadfully irresponsible but the truth was, having brushed up against death, I wasn’t about to button up my life in an environment which hadn’t, at least, been a partial contributor to my hospitalisation and/or (new) self-realisation.

To say I was hell-bent on following my call would be severely overstating my exit from law. All I knew was that if I didn’t cut the Gordian Knot on my crappy work environment I might not be around for very much longer. Yes, it really was that stark.

Of course, I could have, like a few people have opined, sucked it up and been more considered in my approach, but that’s not my style. I’m either all in or nothing.

But what about you?

Do you love what you do?

Or is it (at best) Ho-bloody-hum?

Of course, what you do next is entirely a matter for you but remember this: you only have one life, and despite what you’ve been conditioned to believe, it was never meant to be used up doing something that brings little if any joy. And it’s not because I say that. No, you know it in your heart.

As Steven Pressfield says in the War of Art:

“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance.

This second, we can sit down and do our [real] work.”

I accept that if you’re up to your neck in debt, have a mortgage to pay and family to support all this “up and at ’em” talk may feel disconnected from the real world, but my simple advice, as hackneyed as it may sound, is never put off something that you could and must start today. As the saying goes, this could be your last day on earth, and I don’t know about you but I sure as hell don’t want to find myself in a place where all I’m doing is arguing against the system that seems so intent on killing my soul.



If you’re interested, I record a daily micro.podcast and a longer monologue where I explore in greater detail some of the issues in this post.

If you’d like to know more about my work and how I can help, please feel free to check out the archive and my services page. At the moment, I’m able to take on a few more coaching clients, and if you’re interested all you need do is email me or telephone using the details on my contact page.

Photo by Mar Bustos on Unsplash