When the Wolves Feed On Us

One more reason you should be listening to the One You Feed podcast is this interview with Jonathan Fields. It’s so full of insight and wisdom, I couldn’t zero in on one idea to focus upon for this blog post.

As so often happens in my life (I’m guessing in yours as well) there is synchronicity between ideas and circumstance – a cacophonous soundtrack of disparate harmonies and counter-rhythms that at first listen are in conflicting keys and time-signatures but will suddenly tune in on the one and resonate deep within us.

For me this week, I’ve been contemplating the more mundane aspects of my day job, of how to integrate the pursuit of money, of how to manage the responsibilities of caring for my family, and of how these essential but problematic components fit in with my art and with my efforts of living a mindful existence. You know, the stuff that we’re all constantly dealing with but that doesn’t warrant a blog post.

And as is typical I didn’t find a ready solution.

But I did notice a shift in my perspective of these weighty issues, issues that given my default I usually take on with a sense of deprivation and fear. I can be as contemporary a male as the next dude, but within my current circumstances, I need to be able to provide my family with a home, medical care, clothes, food. This is my role right now, and I can’t escape that dreadful, gut-punch sensation that I could be doing it better.

Yes, I’m fortunate to have a job. I’m fortunate to at least be close to covering the basic needs of my family, but I struggle with whether this is enough. I’ve mentioned in previous blog posts my very 90s concept that we creatives could work decent day-jobs and still make room for the art, the true passions. The problem (besides the fact that there are fewer and fewer decent day-jobs available) with this approach is that it keeps our creative selves separate from our work selves, it divides parts that are unhealthy to divide. Few of us get to work dream jobs – how many of us even know of occupations that precisely fit our unique brands of crazy? – but I’ve come to believe and to practice that if I let it, my job can be fulfilling if I bring myself to it mindfully.

Mindfulness didn’t work for me this week.

This is the struggle as it’s really happening, I suppose. I can’t breathe away the needs and expectations. I can’t sit with the discontent and the anger. I’m stuck. But the grace here—the growth here—is that I’m conscious of it. Instead of just reacting, I do have a sense of remove that is helping me to recognize, if nothing else, I’m getting caught up in my thoughts and not letting go of the ego investment.

Today, right now, there is at least awareness.