Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | November 29, 2010

Spirited Away

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There is a beautiful animated movie called Spirited Away(the music and animation are both wonderful) in which a young girl is separated from her family and ends up in a bathhouse for spirits. Her name is taken away and she is given chores to do, and in time, the idea is to make her forget her old name and life and be totally lost in her new life. A young man, who is actually the dragon spirit of a river, befriends her and they each help each other get back to their homes.

I mention this because as the retail season is upon us, for those of us who work in retail, our souls belong to the job. We are inundated trying to have a successful season, and work takes up more and more of your time, mind, and spirit. I’m sure this is true in other lines of work as well. But as it consumes us, there is less and less time to be mindful of who we truly are, of our source, of the fact that we are making our way in a world that is layered with the template of the temporal, and as much as a civilized society needs a template, it is a broken one.

One day a week, I have found time to place myself in the presence of the Holy Spirit and the mystical body of Christ(present in the Eucharist) and remember who I am. Of course, being in the presence of the spirit is not just a one day affair, but you get the idea about being there in church, despite all the negative things we can say about church going, there is a truth that the Holy Spirit and the mystical body of Christ transcends the negative.

We are also able to place ourselves in the presence of the holy and the divine every day. There is a mystical connection when we do our tai chi, when we sit in zazen, when we sit in meditation, or do yoga or chi kung…or for that matter, when we write, draw, paint, sculpt, or get lost in a guitar riff.

There may be little time these days to be mindful and recollected. It is a good thing if we can overlay this mindfulness in everything, going to work, how we drive, how we interact with others throughout the day. What a cool way to influence the world around us, to share the positive energy we have become aware of and can exude with others.

I must admit, while for the most part I am able to be balanced and aware throughout most of the day, some of the challenges still get to me, feeling overwhelmed, feeling the negative emotions of customers, being tired. It’s hard to carry out my work duties and obligations in a very monastic way(I suppose some monks grumble too, having to chop wood or make bread or clean laundry when they’s rather be walking in the woods). But there are opportunities, every day, every moment. Small kindnesses go a long way. A dutiful approach to work. I just don’t want to be one of the many many people who go through life working eating sleeping without the mindfulness and awareness of the holiness of life. I need that spare time to keep me focused on the more important aspect of who we are.


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