Friday, March 13, 2009

Me and Work - Rituals in the Workplace

More burning bushes! I have been reflecting on Work over the last few days. So, of course, I ran across a number of posts this weekend on the subject of work. This was the best one.

I have been doing this kind of thing for a long time. The first time I sat down at a PC, in the early 1980's, I was volunteering at my church, doing data entry of the weekly donations. DOS used to have that irritating error message that required the user to "press any key to continue". I always hit the "L" key and silently said, "Lord, have mercy." The current version of Windows does not use that error message; I miss it. For me the "L" key is the Lord's Key. I miss having to hit it a half dozen times a day in order to continue my work. Sometimes I hit it just because I need to ask for Mercy. I should probably do it more often.

I have devised other little rituals that I use during the day to remind myself that my work takes place within the context of something larger than the mundane tasks at hand. After I quit going to church, the Liturgy of Life has taken on enormous importance. Instead of Liturgy being something I participate in, more as a spectator than anything, for an hour or so once a week, Liturgy has become sort of how I live my life. Liturgy (= the work of the people) is not a dog and pony show put on by the ordained ministers of a Church on Sunday morning. Liturgy is what I do while I'm living my life. It is how I structure my days. I am one of the people. Liturgy is my work.

My Daily Liturgy at my place of employment includes certain rituals I have devised specially for use there. Little things. Things that may seem silly, but which, through repetition, have come to be opportunities for me to practice reverence. They have become holy moments for me.

I am usually the first to arrive in my office in the morning. I make the coffee. In so doing, I bless it and I bless those who will partake of it (including me). I don't use the Sign of the Cross or any specific prayerbook prayers. I bless the coffee with ritual movements repeated carefully and intentionally day after day. In the Holy Communion Liturgy, the rubrics prescribe the movements of the priest's hands as he (always he!!) consecrates the bread and wine. I always loved to watch priests who did the movements carefully, gracefully and intentionally in accordance with the rubrics. I do something of the sort with my coffee-making. I do everything in the same order every day. I tear the pouch in same way. I push the coffee filter into the basket with my fingers in the same way. I pour the coffee and tap the last granules out of the pouch. I work quickly, but I try to be graceful and intentional in my movements. Making coffee is a moment of Consecration, at least it is the way I do it.

I start my day with the Ritual of Coffee.

Next comes the Ritual of the Blinds. My office faces west. In the afternoon the sun shines in and I have to close the blinds due to the glare on my computer. Most of the people in my office leave their blinds closed all day. I'm a sunshine freak. I open my blinds the first thing every morning. There are four separate sections of blinds in my office. I open them in the same order every day. As with the coffee, I try to do the movements smoothly, intentionally and reverently. As I open the curtains, I greet the sky and the sun, welcoming the Light into my place of work.

After that my days get a little [ahem: a LOT] hectic. I occasionally resort to the Lord's Key for a moment of Mercy. Sometimes I remember to acknowledge and seek the wisdom of my Begging Bowl, but once my day really takes off, I don't have a lot of rituals because I'm usually just sort of hanging on for dear life.

Perhaps I need to add a few rituals during the rest of my days to round out the Liturgy of my Daily Work.
Zemanta Pixie

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