# Why Care?
Why should we care about the work in front of us?
This may appear to be an absurd question. The reasons should be obvious. But any time the words “should” and “obvious” appear in a sentence, I quite often find it useful to take a closer look.
When we care about something, we pay attention to it. Further, we pay a depth of attention. The greater that investment, the greater the care.
Meanwhile, as we sustain attention on something, we tend to find more meaning in it. Meaning is something developed over time. It involves a depth and breadth of connection between thoughts, emotions, and experience, conscious and unconscious. The greater that depth and breadth, the more meaningful it is. That holds for what a single person finds meaningful or for a community.
Developing meaning is a fine goal, but let’s go further.
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
Campbell, author of *The Power of Myth* and *The Hero With a Thousand Faces*, notes that people generally do not seek a “meaning of life”, but instead seek a feeling of being alive. But surely these ideas are related. In fact, I wonder if the development of meaning—within, through, and around ourselves—at least lends to a feeling of being alive.
If the theory holds, then by actively finding ways to care, not only about our work, but also about those around us and beyond, we gain an experience of being alive.
Now, we cannot simply say, “Ok, I’ll care then.” Caring is not something one can force into being.
Let’s consider the the nature of caring in the context of depression. Depression often carries a symptom of not caring, or at least caring less, about one’s self or others. The process forms a wall between the self and the world. One’s sense of being alone builds and sometimes even paradoxically heightens when in the midst of others.
Often that sense isolation is related to a feeling of disconnect, not only from others, but from anything that feels meaningful. It is hardly surprising, then, to see that a parallel emotion is a lack of feeling alive.
Telling someone who is depressed “to care” is similar to saying, “snap out of it”, which is about as helpful as a slap in the face.
Navigating one’s way out of the hole of depression is rarely a simple matter. However, a common thread in treatments tends to be to try to find something tiny that can be done. So long as that tiny action connects to what feels meaningful, a small spark of vitality sometimes appears. Picking up a single stray piece of clothing in a room of total disarray is sometimes helpful. Any development will, of course, still need nurturing and guidance, but a start is a start.
I present depression as an example of great distance from caring to highlight the growing nature of caring. It is not something one simply does. Instead, it is developed over time—a practice.
As we focus upon something, weaving a rhythm of being with it in some harmony with our lives, consider how it can be meaningful, we tend to care more and feel more alive in the process.
Productivity is many things. For some, it is about doing a lot in a little time.
But, truly, productivity is so much more. It is about:
- Setting yourself up for success.
- Being focused where you want to be.
- Doing things that you find meaningful.
- Being creative, sometimes even in harsh environments.
- Forging your own paths.
- Finding your voice and delivering it well.
- Knowing and actively deciding on your obligations.
- Knowing where and how to say “no”.
- Avoiding procrastination.
Too often, many of us fall into just going along with and fighting whatever the world throws at us. “Go with the flow!”, we say. Meanwhile, we might think, “I’d like to do that one thing. Maybe one day I will.” The days go by. The goal never arrives, and then we wonder why or blame circumstance.
But when we learn to take charge of our lives and the world
around us, we start living life with intention.
Of course, striking out may seem scary. It takes courage to live life with purpose and on purpose. Roadblocks and worries, fears and concerns show up everywhere.
This is my passion. I want to help you to find that sense of your own unique play to meet the world so that you can:
- Create a life that is yours.
- Find and follow an inner guide in a way that works for you and those you care for.
- Decide on your obligations and meet them while building the world you want.
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