This content was published first in The Sunday Letters Journal: https://sundayletters.larrygmaguire.com/p/another-year-over-so-what-now by Larry G. Maguire on Mon, 02 Jan 2023 15:59:59 GMT
New year parties have ended, the cleanup commences, and the subtle realisation begins to set in that it was all a bit of a sham. We said good riddance to ‘22 and celebrated the prospect of a better 12 months ahead, but what’s the difference between this year and last, today and yesterday, this second and the one before? Why should our experience be any better or worse, given the arbitrary change in the date on a calendar or the movement of hands around a clock face?
The truth may be that there is no fundamental difference at all. Dates and times are merely abstract ideas, and choosing to act on their say-so can be counter-productive.
At face value, life appears to be linear and progressive, but on quiet inspection and although our language suggests otherwise, we can see that there is more to it than this. We don’t travel along a narrow two-dimensional timeline from birth to death; life experience is not based on cause and effect. The present and future are not pushed out of the past. Instead, it is more accurate to say that life happens here and now in our present moment experience, and both the past and future emerge from the present. It was Now when we marked the time in what we call yesterday, and it’s still Now . We may agree on a system to track our movements and gauge ourselves against one another and the world, but just like a ruler measures length, these are abstractions.
It gets light, and it gets dark. It rains, and it sunshines. We become wrinkly and grey. People come in and out of our experience. We love, and we hate. We laugh, and we cry. We create, and we destroy. We live, and we die, and we do it all Now . Or is it done to us? I can’t quite decide. Maybe it’s both. Regardless of what’s going on and who or whatever is doing it, it appears to be happening in a single moment that remains unchanged despite temporal fluctuations.
In fact, there seems to be no doer doing the doing. Instead, it appears that whatever goes on does so of its own accord. Our language tells us that we are nouns and nouns verb. But we are not nouns — animated objects making things. Instead, we are processes going on of their own accord. You don’t beat your heart or grow your hair, for example. You don’t choose to love or hate. You don’t choose your interests. These things occur without conscious choice, and we become aware of them after the fact. In large part, the orchestra plays itself, and we are either in concert with it or not.
“Temporality is profoundly linked to blurring. The blurring is due to the fact that we are ignorant of the microscopic details of the world. The time of physics is, ultimately, the expression of our ignorance of the world. Time is ignorance.”
― Carlo Rovelli, gravitational Physicist
So here we are in the midst of it all for a very short “time”, and we are either positively oriented and moving in accordance with our intuitive selves, or we are on the surface, negatively oriented and apprehensive. These states are not concrete, by the way — there are variations on these combinations of things, and we can describe them in our own particular way. Suffice it to say, however, we can feel ourselves in growth, decline, or stagnation, and we may sometimes need help to make a breakthrough.
In terms of a life well lived, whether we decide it’s the beginning of a new week, month, or year is irrelevant. What matters is that we feel when the moment is right to move. Until then, we are immobile or, at best, pushed around by circumstance. We move in accordance with the momentum of our culture, and it informs, dictates, and directs us. In this, we will have little choice but to accept its boundaries and therefore be restricted by what is possible and what is not under those terms. And our daily work is no different.
An Alternative Way of Living & Working When I write about commanding our own work, it is more than work — it is life itself. Work is a metaphor for life, and it is not a case of choosing one or the other. Most people believe it is, however. To work in the traditional sense is to earn permission to live. To work, in my understanding of the word, to Command Your Own Work , is to live. It is to be free from the tyranny of traditional work under the command of others and instead decide what you want to do for yourself, your family, and for the sake of the work itself. This difference is a vocation rather than a job.
❌ No more clocking in and out.
❌ No more being a slave to time and the working week.
❌ No more being told when to work and when not.
❌ No more a sense of dread from the prospect of making a mistake.
❌ No more dancing to the tune of someone else’s fiddle.
Commanding Your Own Work Is Not For Everyone It is not an easy transition from what Chomsky called “waged slavery” to working free. And perhaps it’s true that we’re never entirely free, but there is a better way to live. It’s not for everyone, either. Most of us are so wholly conditioned to work for others under their terms that it is inconceivable that we could work freely and for ourselves. For many, even having a job and stable work that provides an income is progress. For these people, working for others is proper. But for others, this situation is intolerable.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working for yourself already — running a small business or operating as a freelancer or a consultant; if the work dictates to you, then you are not working free, and you are not in command of your own working life.
An Invitation To Change… If you would like to change this situation and are ready to release yourself from the tyranny of the clock and the hierarchical command of others, then maybe I can assist you. I am a private practice psychologist , which involves helping people find clarity and direction in their work and business, and I want to invite you to work with me.
Because I operate alone, my time is limited. But I have some openings for one-to-one clients over the next two months.
Register your interest below if you want to secure one of the available places and get in control of your career or business. (There are no costs to register. ) There is no time like the present – literally. Register your interest, and I’ll explain how things work.
Register Your Interest
Regards for now and all the best for the coming year,
P.S. If you have any trouble with links or there is a problem registering, email me back for more details.