“You need to be generous to yourself in order to receive the love that surrounds you […] it is at the edge of your soul, but you have been blind to its presence.”*
‘Modern laziness avoids emotional labour.’**
Maybe we think turning up is enough, completing what is expected us, or maybe ignoring the unnecessary. The question is, are we also missing the opportunity.
Emotional labour opens possibilities:
“When a great moment knocks on the door of your live, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.”^
Seth Godin describes what he sees as modern laziness:
“This is the laziness of not raising your hand to ask the key question, not caring about those in need or not digging in to ship something that might not work. Lazy is having an argument instead of a thoughtful conversation. Lazy is waiting until the last minute. And lazy is avoiding what we fear.”**
Beyond opening our minds to something different or new there is something more. To open our minds takes us beyond downloading but when we open our hearts to possibility, we are taking a deeper dive. Emotional labour involves stepping inside the world of another, being prepared to take a risk and meet them there. Eugene Peterson sees that in hoping to avoid despair (and perhaps disappointment) we also avoid hope:
‘Hope is a projection of the imagination; so is despair. Despair all too readily embraces the ills it foresees; hope is an energy and arouses the mind to explore every possibility to combat them.’^^
There is an even deeper dive.
To do something together or for each other, imagining new possibilities and then prototyping perhaps takes us to where Iris Murdoch describes when she claims:
‘Of course Good is sovereign over Love, as it is sovereign over other concepts, because Love can name something bad.’*^
Emotional labour is critical for moving us into what is possible though we hadn’t seen it and here we feel most alive:
‘when the soul is turned towards Good the highest part of the soul is enlivened.’*^
What we seek most of all may be found in what surrounds us but we have never ventured into.
(*John O’Donohue, quoted in the Northumbria Community‘s Morning Prayer.)
(**From Seth Godin’s blog Modern laziness.)
(^Boris Pasternak, quoted in the Northumbria Community’s Morning Prayer.)
(^^From Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.)
(*^From Iris Murdoch’s The Sovereignty of Good.)