Meaning in The Middle

I was on the phone with an old friend who had known me for a long time and witnessed my passion and capacity for helping messengers.

“How long do you think will you have to work there?” he asked after I told him I had a part-time job at Whole Foods.

“I don’t exactly have to work there,” I responded. 

“Oh, I thought maybe you were doing this… because… business is slow…” He fumbled a bit, searching for words.

“Well, that was certainly one of the reasons I was open to a job. Something was stuck and not moving, so I thought I’d take some of the pressure off the business. But isn’t it strange that the day after I was hired at Whole Foods, contracts for True to Intention began to close? I literally made more money in my business that month than in any other month last year.” I laughed as I shared my ridiculous story.

“Really?” He was obviously stunned, much like I was the day after I got hired. “So, what do you think this is about? It seems like The Wind wanted you there for a reason then, right?”

“Well, I think part of it is to unwind the thinking that led to your initial question.” I paused when I heard him take in a big breath. “No, it’s okay. Trust me, I have been listening to that same lyric from our industry:

“You can make more money living your passion.”
“Get out of the rat race and do something meaningful.”
“It is your birthright to create the life and business of your dreams.”

I continued, “Somewhere along the line, I took on the belief that the opposite of meaningful is menial (lowly and sometimes degrading). If you’d asked me before I took this job, I would have told you that people create meaning wherever they are; but as I’ve worked behind the register, I’ve heard the voice telling me that ‘I am made to do more than check and bag groceries, clean cafes, etc. I am supposed to be speaking on big stages, helping people heal st*ries, guiding powerful messages and messengers into the world.’ And yet, I’ve had all of these extremely meaningful moments with team members and customers. My beliefs about who I am and what I am supposed to be doing with my time are unwinding in between the somewhat menial tasks, as I co-create meaningful moments, conversations, and even relationships with customers. In fact, I have my first Whole Foods baby this week.”

“Your what?” he laughed.

“Yeah, this couple has been coming in the last few months and I’ve been watching her get bigger and more uncomfortable and anxious. As someone who remembers that time very well, I’ve tried to encourage her positivity and excitement about what’s ahead—telling her that motherhood is hands-down the best adventure of my life. She’s asked for advice, and we’ve had half a dozen quick moments of connecting as women, wives, and mothers. And then last night, after a few weeks of not seeing them at all, the husband came through the line and was surprised when I asked, ‘How did it go?’ The 15 people in line behind him smiled at his proud daddy joy and crooked their necks to see the near hundred pictures he tried to show me while giving me all the down-and-dirty details of labor and delivery.”

My friend laughed on the other side of the line. “That’s awesome. Are there more beliefs?”

“Oh yeah, there are plenty more. But there’s one more piece about the menial tasks…” I started. “I’m finding them very helpful. I mean, I already know this after all that I have learned about the conscious and subconscious; but this particular job full of non-creative tasks has created A LOT OF SPACE for the better part of me to develop solutions and expand my capacity. I’ve noticed some very interesting and awesome (and uncomfortable) up-levels in my work and personal life in the last few months. It’s definitely not all pretty or easy, but I’m not sure I would have gotten here without this experience.”

“Huh, well, that makes me wonder if I need a side hustle in the other direction,” he wondered out loud to me.

“It’s doing me a lot of good. I had no idea I needed this, and I resisted it fiercely. But I’m not sure I could have gotten these lessons at this visceral level without it. Wouldn’t it be crazy if we were all thinking that going back and getting a J.O.B. (almost a four-letter word!) was the end of the world, when it could really be a way that The Wind is helping us to improve what we are doing and how we are doing it?”

“Yeah, that would be…” 

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