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May 12, 2011

Do You Have Work You Love? National Holistic Institute Mentor Views Work as a Transformative Process

I recently celebrated ten years of teaching at the National Holistic Institute, and this gave me an occasion to consider some of the life-enriching aspects of a career in bodywork.

Consider this: have you ever had a job you disliked? Perhaps you’ve even had a job you hated?!  If the answer is “yes”, then you already know what a drain it can be to have to work a job when your heart just isn’t in it. But then there is the economy! In this financial day and age, there are plenty of people who would settle for any work! Work can cause stress, to be sure… but not working can stress us even more.

So having work, it seems – particularly, work we can be passionate about – is a blessing.

The term “work” has interesting connotations. In some contexts, work could be synonymous with something arduous, something unpleasant. But in the spiritual tradition of Alchemy, the term “Work” has a very different implication: transformation! Not simply the transformation of lead into gold, the Magnum Opus, or ‘Great Work’, of the alchemists was about transformation generally – darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge, matter into spirit.

I would argue that, in this Alchemical Way, work we love can transform us, teaching us the lessons and providing us with the challenges we need to progress along the Path of our lives. Bodywork especially, with its emphasis on self-knowledge, compassion, safe space, and connection to another person, causes us to get real, to honestly confront our fears and limitations… and to overcome them so that we can continue to facilitate the healing of our bodies, our communities, and our planet.

Work that you love can transform you. Do you have Work You Love?

~William Mathis
Mentor, NHI Petaluma Campus