Sunday, January 24, 2016

Work, Ego

After 20 years in my chosen field of work, I still love what I do.  On Sunday afternoons, I start looking forward to Monday morning; what will I do tomorrow, what will I create?

At the moment, my position requires that I train and advise, in a day-to-day service environment.  I am an implementer, not an administrator.  My biggest decisions affect the agency, but not the whole field. 

So it was with some apprehension that I attended a policy group last week.  My boss couldn't make it, and she asked me to go in her stead.  Upon entering, I saw people I've known for many years, some for as much as twenty years.  They greeted me warmly, but I felt out of my depth.  There was nothing for it but to put my head up and act with confidence.  In the group, I began to share my opinions and my vision for the future of our collective endeavor.

As I did so, a curious thing happened to my sense of self.  I heard myself talking with confidence and with experience.  My views were careful and reasoned.  As I heard my own voice, I realized that if someone else had said those things, I would have thought that person was wise and determined and tough.  A person who knows that compassion is not easy or simple, a person who knows that the hardest thing about doing good is accepting that you will fail along the way, and you'll have to live with that.

As I heard my voice, I heard a stranger talking.  This hardened, patient, quietly wise person could not possibly be me.  My sense of self would not allow it.  But it was un-deniable that I was the one who was speaking.   And in that moment, I saw and felt my ego step out of the way and allow me to be the "me" that I had become.

In that moment, I experienced "me" without an ego in the way.  Just for a moment, I was only the assembled aspects of awareness and action, a point in space-time where something was being done without a doer.

These moments come along frequently in my work now.  I've learned to watch for them, to give in to them when they sneak into the room and sit down beside me.  I know now that every time they happen, I come away more aware than I was.

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