Take What You Have and Make What You Want

As summer comes to an end, lots of us think about going back to work or school. When I was in high school I used to get depressed on Sunday evenings, anticipating sitting in a schoolroom the next morning. Is there some other way to think about going to work or school that brings us life rather than depletes us?

My mentor used to say, “Take what you have and make what you want.” I learned that lesson one night after I arrived at Chicago’s O’hare Airport and my sponsor was driving me to my accommodation. At the airport parking lot toll booth we encountered a handsome Italian man swho sang us a few rousing verses from the opera “La Traviata.” He was having so much fun, and so passionate—and not a bad singer—that all of us in the car applauded wildly. Although we had been tired, we came back to life. That man made our night.

I later read that a sociological survey asked, “What do you think is the most boring job in the world?” The most common answer was “toll collector.”  Yet this toll collector turned “the most boring job” into an ecstatic experience for him and the people he encountered.

Your experience of work or school is not a fixed condition thrust upon you. It is what you make of it. How can you make your work day more fun?  How can you think about it so it is empowering?  What is your highest potential in that position?

Investment of heart is also a huge factor in relationships. A seminar participant asked me, “How can I let in more love from my girlfriend?” I told him, “You don’t have to let in more love from your girlfriend. You have to let more love out from yourself.” A Course in Miracles tells us that in any situation in which you perceive that something is missing, what is missing is what you are not giving. While we may struggle to  manipulate people or conrtol situations, we gain far more by manipulating our attitude. What hurts is not what you are not getting. What hurts is what you are not giving.

My friend Claudia didn’t like her corporate job. She wanted to do something more creative and aligned with her values to help people. When she was offered a night shift, she took it to have more quiet time.

During her shift she went to the ladies’ room and noticed that when the custodians replaced rolls of toilet tissue, they were discarding the old half-full rolls to replace with full ones. Claudia thought this was a waste of a good resource, so she took the half-full rolls to a local homeless shelter.

There Clausia developed a relationship with the staff and residents, and she was offered a part-time job, which led to a full-time job as a supervisor. and then director.  Claudia loved her work so much and she was so good at it that she won a national award for service organizations, and she went to Washington D.C. for a luncheon hosted by the nation’s First Lady. All because she had a bright idea about a very commonplace object.

In my new book The Mystical Messiah, I quote Jesus saying,  “You have been faithful over a few things, and I will make you ruler over many things.” When you make the most of where you are, you open the door to where you would like to be.


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