According to the film The Story of Stuff, 99 percent of the objects we acquire and bring into our homes is disposed of within six months. This means we need more stuff. So we keep working. For the stuff.
We split the connections between ourselves and the world around us in order to do this. We choose to ignore the natural resources being used to create and carry the stuff. The chemicals used to produce and preserve the stuff. The trains and airplanes and cargo ships and containers that carry the stuff to us. The trucks that take the stuff from our curbs when we throw it “away.” The Earth and water where the stuff gets dumped.
All this splitting from the world begins to split us from ourselves. It destroys our fragile humanness and our connection to our fragile home.
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to do human work? What effects does the work we are doing have on the future? These are the questions that we ask in Earth Joy Writing.
We began last week to look at the work we do in a new light. Here’s another writing prompt to help you do that:
Write about the work you hate
Think about the work you do that you hate. It might be chores around the house or stressful encounters at the office. It might actually be the very job you have held for the past twenty years and are too afraid to leave. What work are you doing that you hate? Write about this. Write about why you hate it. Write about when you began to hate it and how that hate has changed over time. Allow yourself to let loose onto paper all the feelings of resentment and anger and despair you feel about this work. And when you are done, get up and walk away. Feel the difference that facing it makes. Begin to open to the possibility of change.
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Cassie Premo Steele, Ph.D., is the author of 13 books and a writing coach.