Friday, May 30, 2008

I wrote this entry yesterday during my dinner break at work and am posting it today.

That which offers no resistance, overcomes the hardest substances. That which offers no resistance can enter where there is no space.
--Lao Tzu

I feel better at work today than I did yesterday. After coming off a restful Memorial Day three-day weekend, I felt good at work Tuesday. My mind was clear and quick, at least for me, and my body felt strong and durable. I came to work Wednesday hoping I'd feel the same way, but I didn't. Not even close. My mind felt fuzzy and slow, even for me. When my co-worker called out the numbers of the medical charts I was supposed to pull from the shelves, I had to keep making her repeat the numbers. Sometimes several times. By contrast, the day before, I was often pulling the right chart before she even called out the entire number. And my body felt so tired and old yesterday! The job I do is physically demanding. It fatigues guys half my age. But I still felt way more tired than usual yesterday, and much slower than usual as well. And I felt soooooo bored! If one could die from boredom, I was teetering right on the perilous edge.

Yet, things are better today. Much better. Part of it might be due to some energy fluctuation, random or otherwise, in my bodymind. And part of it may result from a decision I made early on today not to worry about or fight how I feel. Just relax, focus, and think and move with unforced naturalness.

One of my co-workers is a master of this. He's a little Hmong man from Laos, but our supervisor calls him Superman because he can do any job required of him and do the work of two people in one shift with seemingly effortless ease. No matter how much work he has to do, he never seems to be in a hurry, never seems to be forcing anything. And even though he's nearly a foot-and-a-half shorter than I am and probably weighs less than half of what I do, he never seems to strain under the heavy weight of an imposing stack of medical charts as thick as metropolitan phone books, as an almost perpetual smile graces his constantly calm face and demeanor.

A guiding principle of philosophical Taoism is wu wei which I roughly define as "effortlessly efficacious action." It is exemplified by a great surfer who masters the waves with unforced grace. My co-worker is a living example of wu-wei. I want to be too. When I am, for a fleeting moment, I'm as close to heaven as I'm ever likely to be in this life and in the workplace.

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