Last week, a lovely researcher named Toni showed up in our space. She’s doing her doctoral dissertation on coworking, studying the ways people who work in coworking locations conduct their work (how they collaborate with others, what type of work groups they are in, and what types of tools they use). Lovely work, yay Toni! And we hit it off as humans, so she’s coming back to cowork with us this Wednesday. Yay us!
As we talked about more traditional work, and about work in coworking and other collaborative work spaces, I said something out loud that I hadn’t put voice to before.
WORK is cracking itself wide open for us right now.
What we do. How we do it. Who we work with. Where we work. WHY we work. To what end or no end we work. What titles we shed and accept and create. What we choose to receive for our work. What counts as work. How work becomes integrated into ourselves and our lives and our communities. The relationship of being and doing. The relationship of work and play. The value of work itself. All of it.
Right now all of it is open and ripe for interpretation and for reimagination.
Work is cracked wide open.
There was once a kind, humble, and smart guy who said “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
He didn’t say when.
But to me it feels that now is when or the beginnings of when anyway.
Back in those days meek meant gentle, kind, and humble. To my knowledge, it hadn’t yet picked up the negative “human doormat” connotation some jerk decided to give it along the way. Being meek was about being present, being open. It was about taking the time to notice. Allowing time for others to do the same. About receiving.
And (holy crap, I may have just happened across a point in record time) here’s the thing about work cracking itself wide open.
To see it, to feel it, to notice it, to recognize it, and to do something about it, we must meet it cracked wide open ourselves.
Cracking open happens in too many ways for me to describe, but I’ll mention a few. Maybe it means making a leap of faith away from work that sucks the life out of you. Or allowing your hobby to take over until there is no time left for your day job at all. Or seeing potential in yourself and your community where others see none at all. Or being so drawn to people that you start giving them all your time and energy before you even fully notice it. Or it may be about losing your job. Or losing a person you love. Or waving goodbye to the you you used to be. Or caring so much for someone or something that you literally can’t do anything else but what you’re being pulled to do now for them and for yourself.
Nobody can tell us how to get there. But I can speak about what it feels like.
Some days, being cracked open feels so good it makes you weep for the beauty you experience. It feels like the whole universe is pouring into you, filling a joyfully self-emptied vessel until you have universe running down your face. Some days, being cracked open feels like courageous vulnerability and you notice that the only solid ground that actually exists are the hands that reach out to hold yours as you steady yourselves together. Other days, being cracked open can feel like being a walking open wound, broken, bleeding. But all days—all days—when you are cracked open you are present, you are noticing, you are receiving.
So you know where I’m going with this, right?
We’re bringing back meek baby!
Blessed are the cracked wide open, for we feel new possibility in chaos. We feel order in the apparent “mess” and we give it the space, air, and sunshine it needs to grow and become visible. And we receive it gratefully, humble, never entirely certain where it came from or where it’s going to.
And so here we are. Already present among the meek. Already cracked wide open. If we weren’t we wouldn’t have time for this, for us.
So we can stop worrying that we aren’t doing the exact right thing, reading the right article, meeting the right people, getting the right funding, putting the right thing on the resume, getting the major visibility, being asked to join the right group, or school, or job, or think tank, and everything else we’ve been told we should want. We can just stop. Stop worrying. Stop searching.
We are right here.
We are the gentle and the kind. We are the noticers, the receivers, the players, the goofballs, and the sharers.
We are the cracked wide open, and we are inheriting our earth one backyard barter, one bamboo bicycle, one song, one game night, one box of local vegetables, one story, one doodle, one homemade sock monkey, one photograph, one kind word, one swap, one share, one new best friend on the other side of the world, one cup of tea with neighbors, one game of hopscotch, one gentle response, and one gift at a time.
We are inheriting the earth because this story is the one that is persisting, sustaining itself, and thriving while other stories crumble to dust.
And we are in damn fine company.
Have you noticed?