Harder I Work, The More I Love

Lynne Twist

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Awakin FeatureBurnout is being disconnected from Source. I don’t think it’s as related as we'd like to think, to working too long or too hard or eating pizza and Coke instead of veggies and water. All those things play into it  -- I don’t recommend working yourself to death or anything. But true burnout is being disconnected from Source. That’s really where it happens.

We all know times when we were soaring: we were working 24/7 and we wanted to work 24/7, and what we were producing was so exciting that we couldn’t stop. That’s an example of being connected to Source in a way that your body will go with you.

At the same time, I do think it’s important to take care of one’s capacity to serve. That’s the other thing I feel responsible to take care of: to nourish my own capacity to serve, and that comes from Source. That comes from meditation. That comes from being in nature. That comes from being in touch with the love I have for my husband and my children and my family. My love for God. My love for the spirit world. My love for the shamans. When I’m in touch with that, I can do anything. And then that’s a source of enormous joy.

We once had a conference in Ireland with the Nobel laureates. We sponsored women to come from war zones all over the world. This conference was very confronting.

At one point on the second day, I was having lunch with colleagues from Iran, four lawyers who worked with Shirin Ebadi. A group of six women arrived in a van. My colleagues saw the van pulling up and they ran across this green lawn crying with joy. They were all lawyers who had worked together for years before they got arrested. As the women got out of the van, women who had been in prison for years and tortured, they all ran towards each other and they hugged and they rolled around on the grass and they cried and they danced. It’s making me cry thinking about it.

Then that night we had a party, the most joyous, raucous, wild, wonderful party of all women dancing with each other that I’d ever seen in my life; women from the Congo, women from Ethiopia, women from Honduras, all of whom had been through hell — the kind of things they’ve been through, you can’t even talk about.

My assertion from that enormous experience, and I’ve had many experiences like that, is that the pain and the joy are one. It’s all connected. And often the deeper people have allowed themselves to go into the pain, the greater capacity they have for joy.

I’ve seen that particularly with African women, with their incredible burdens in many cases. But when they celebrate — which they find a way to do every day, through singing, through dancing, through feeding each other — the joy is just breathtaking. I’ve been in Rwanda after the genocide and found the joy there in those people. I’ve been in Ethiopia after the famine. The capacity for human joy is probably unlimited.

I find it in myself. I find that my capacity for joy is enhanced by my capacity to face the suffering world and engage with it. My capacity for joy and lightheartedness and fun and release is strengthened by my capacity to face the darkness. And my capacity to face the darkness is strengthened by my capacity to celebrate joy. The harder I work, the more I love.
 

Lynne Twist is the founder of Pachamama Alliance. The excerpt above was taken from an interview with Lynne.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the notion that the deeper people have allowed themselves to go into the pain, the greater capacity they have for joy? Can you share a personal story of a time your capacity to face the suffering world directly expanded your capacity for joy, or vice versa? What helps you take care of your capacity to serve?

Add Your Reflection:

6 Previous Reflections:

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    On May 5, 2020 Stefanie Skupin wrote:
    I love this piece of writing. I can so relate to it. Work being tiring is only always a mindset. It comes from not being present with what we do, for whatever reason. We might not like the work we are doing, we might not be doing what we want, we might not feel connected. Then we blame the work or our circumstance and feel powerless to change. I've seen the same that Lynne Twist sees. When I'm able to allow the pain and suffering in my life, I'm also given the power and connection to do something about it. On all levels. What keeps me from allowing is my thinking mind. Believing that my reality should be different than it is leaves me powerless. I get tired, exhausted. Accepting reality exactly as it is allows me to make clear and informed decisions. I'm energized. The next step forward is totally clear. The satisfaction of doing the work I do is boundless. Joy enters life. As a middle class white women I have faced little adversity. And in my thinking I have found th... [View Full Comment] I love this piece of writing. I can so relate to it. Work being tiring is only always a mindset. It comes from not being present with what we do, for whatever reason. We might not like the work we are doing, we might not be doing what we want, we might not feel connected. Then we blame the work or our circumstance and feel powerless to change. I've seen the same that Lynne Twist sees. When I'm able to allow the pain and suffering in my life, I'm also given the power and connection to do something about it. On all levels.

    What keeps me from allowing is my thinking mind. Believing that my reality should be different than it is leaves me powerless. I get tired, exhausted. Accepting reality exactly as it is allows me to make clear and informed decisions. I'm energized. The next step forward is totally clear. The satisfaction of doing the work I do is boundless. Joy enters life.

    As a middle class white women I have faced little adversity. And in my thinking I have found that I carry the dark stories of humankind regardless. Never having faced torture I am still troubled by it. Not having lived through war I can still feel the hurt and fear of it. As I notice these thought patterns in my life, I can be with them, accept them, and inquire into their truth. I found that only when I allow the darkest corners of my mind to be what they need to be, do I have access to the height of love. Coming out of inquiry of deep fear comes such joy in life, joy in this moment, and exuberance in celebrating it, every moment.[Hide Full Comment]

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    On May 5, 2020 A. Thiagarajan wrote:
    Had never thought in this direction at all. Would always shun and worry about the darker side though have been a counselor helping people come out from their grief by providing the calmness and comfort. Though theoretically agree on the nature of life being swings of joy and grief - have never felt it as much so far as I had after reading this piece!

    The deeper you dig the higher the capacity - for both joy and pain - mind boggling arithmetic of emotional capacity!

    Thank you forthis insight!

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    On May 5, 2020 allie middleton wrote:
    thank you for the inspiring use of contrasting states of being to help humsnity co--evolve...
    As welet go if suffering as a voluntary state and embracethe crestingof attention on loving what is...
    if our sharedessence is more nourished by rooting with the currents of moving energy regardless of how we feel about them, that we will find afreedom torelax into a placeof deepawareness that invites joy and a motivation to seek harmony and fun in daily activities (work)
    the rest is the magic of listening from our expanded hearts and rolling joyfully on the earth with others...
    and trusting that new containers for shared action to benefit others arise from those places...

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    On May 5, 2020 Carole Damy wrote:
    I share Lynnes'sreflection... The deeper you may have gone into pain, the more space is created for joy... It does not mean that you need to suffer to experiment joy...It means that when you experiment a huge degree of pain, you realize that the only and universal remedy is to connect to the same intensity of joy....The birds are singing to remind us this Truth everyday...Theri freedom comes from their inner joy...Let's learn from them!

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    On May 2, 2020 David Doane wrote:
    I'd like to know what Lynne Trist means by Source. She said when she's in touch with Source she can do anything. I doubt that -- I wish we could do anything -- as I see it, we can only do what we can do. I think pain is of the body and mind and joy is of the spirit. For one person pain may make it more difficult to be joyful, and for another pain may increase capacity for joy. A person with awareness of connection with the Source can be in pain and be joyful. Pain has definitely helped me appreciate absence of pain and the experience of joy. Seeing people suffer pain has expanded my capacity for compassion, and seeing the end of people suffering pain has expanded my capacity for joy. Experiencing the joy of service helps me take care of my capacity to serve. Taking care of me, including to know the difference between caring and carrying, helps me take care of my capacity to serve.

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    On May 1, 2020 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
    It is my understanding based on my experiences that deep joy comes from facing pain, suffering and hardship rather than running away from it.It is like going through the heat of the fire to experiencecoolness. It sounds counterintuitive and paradoxical. Deep joy is born in the womb of love. Mother goes through the agony and pain of birthing the baby and feels deep joy when the baby comes out from the womb. Such joy is not temporary. The flow of joy keeps on flowing when she raises her baby who goes through passages of life. Her source of deep joy is pure and unconditional love for her child. Suffering is the first noble truthaccording to the Buddha. We all suffer physically, mentally, emotionally and relationally. I have experienced such suffering through out my life. Such experiences have been beneficial to me. By facing such experiences and by going through them I have become more empathic, compassionate and kind to myself and to others. I know where, how and why my shoe pinches and... [View Full Comment] It is my understanding based on my experiences that deep joy comes from facing pain, suffering and hardship rather than running away from it.It is like going through the heat of the fire to experiencecoolness. It sounds counterintuitive and paradoxical. Deep joy is born in the womb of love. Mother goes through the agony and pain of birthing the baby and feels deep joy when the baby comes out from the womb. Such joy is not temporary. The flow of joy keeps on flowing when she raises her baby who goes through passages of life. Her source of deep joy is pure and unconditional love for her child.

    Suffering is the first noble truthaccording to the Buddha. We all suffer physically, mentally, emotionally and relationally. I have experienced such suffering through out my life. Such experiences have been beneficial to me. By facing such experiences and by going through them I have become more
    empathic, compassionate and kind to myself and to others. I know where, how and why my shoe pinches and that way I have learned where, how andwhy other's shoe pinches. Such knowing comes from facing our suffering with compassion and kindness for ourselves and for others in our lives. Denying, averting or reacting to suffering causes more suffering.

    The tree of love grows by nurturing the seeds. Self nurturing and nurturing other folks in my life helps the tree not only to survive but also to flourish. Working on myself mindfully has been very helpful to me. Serving others selflessly has always brought deep joy, contentment, fulfillment, and happiness in my life. In that sense I feel the same way like the author Lynne Twist says: "The harderI work the more I love."
    Namaste!
    Jagdish P Dave'






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