We’re taught to get the work done first and then we can do what will make us happy.  You know, “Do your homework or you don’t get to go out and play.” It’s practical, it builds a good work ethic, it’s a virtue to be able to work hard and achieve, blah-blah-blah.  It’s true like all partial truths.  This concept hides as much as it reveals.  It hides the fact that this work ethic doesn’t help us build the life we want, it actually takes it away.  It benefits employers and companies and agencies and governments, it doesn’t build healthy families, good community, or thriving society.  What it does do is generate output.  We’re great at that.

But let’s keep this at the individual level. People talk about the cup being half full or half empty depending on your perspective and all that, but what about the cup that’s completely full.  If we are putting our heads down and working to get all the work done before we play, but there’s never an end to how much work needs to get done, then there’s no way for the cup to even sit at half empty.  If nothing goes in, everything goes out, then the cup is going to become empty.  And it’s going to stay empty.  In fact, we’ll be blowing Heart out with spoonthe dust out of it, scraping the bottom, and shaking it upside down trying to find where the bounteous wellspring of abundance went to all the while we’re so exhausted we can hardly stand up, our attitude flushed down the toilet long ago, and if someone talks about the American dream and the laws of attraction one more time that someone is going to have their hear removed with a spoon because it will hurt more.

So what if we did things the opposite way?  I know, we’ve been warned a million times that playing first means what needs to get done won’t get done and the world will come crashing to an end, but lets set that aside for a moment.  Think of it like the space on the maps that says “Here be dragons.”  If we start doing what we want, then the cup starts to fill up.  I mean, how can it not.  You’re getting something you want and you’re able to stop expending energy forcing yourself not to have or feel emotions about that thing.  It’s a twofer.  So then you do some more of what you want and the cup fills up even more.  It fills up with sleep, and rest, quiet and healing – basic triage for all the doingness damage that’s been done. And once the cup is that full then you can stop feeling the incessant need to isolate and medicate, you will feel like yourself (someone you probably haven’t met for a while), and feel like you want to engage a bit in the world.  Interesting enough, that engagement usually is a mix of practical and pure joy activities.  And so the cup keeps filling because the practical doesn’t take it all and the joy puts in more than was taken out. That’s when the real amazing part happens, because at the tipping point when the glass is what we would consider full, we start seeing things differently. We start seeing ourselves differently. We start seeing how we can get the needful things done in a way that doesn’t hurt us, where we can prioritize our happiness so it’s the first thing on the list and not the last, and recognizing that it’s not selfish to do so, but practical.  Which is when the cup overflows and we start living the life we want, which is overflowing with abundance not only for us but everyone around us.  That was the goal all along, right?

So while I applaud a good work ethic, I suggest that it be turned around.  That instead of facing outward it should look inward.  Luckily we have an empty cup ready to receive the bounty that will come it’s way.