Today, I am a dung-beetle.
I am a dung-beetle, pushing my cherished ball of odoriferous dung up a large hill that is seemingly three miles high. I know if I stop to take a breath, or have even one moment of indecision or doubt or lack of energy, all of the work I’ve accomplished over the last years will disappear. The ball of dung will roll back and squash me thoroughly as it careens downhill to even past my starting point. And there is no one to brace that ball of dung until I return.
At least that is how I feel.
I’m sure that everyone who works as a leader and change agent has days like this. And I don’t entirely know how to get through this feeling. Do I take the chance of the dung ball rolling and just…let go? Can I go get a coffee, even if it is not fair trade or I forgot my reusable mug? Can I take a few personal hours for my own joy (and what would THAT be?) and not worry about the quarterly report on energy efficiency that no one reads anyway, or forego making another tip sheet to post in the toilet rooms? I bet I can.
I bet if I were gone the dung ball might end up a different consistency (to overly stretch my metaphor) or be moved on a different path, but it would move. And I bet I will be better off if I let it go for a little while.
It’s all about commitment and about celebration, two of the Nine Habits for Greenies I wrote about the other day. I know I will return to push that crap uphill and will do so with renewed energy and purpose, because I am committed to engagement in sustainability. In the meantime, a broader perspective may help me to find a better path or enlist a compatriot to lend a hand in the efforts. I also know that if I am always pushing, always putting in mindless effort, I am not taking time to celebrate. Celebration is an imperative.
So here’s what I need to do. I need to brace that ball while I take a breath and look around. Maybe even try my hand at something completely different such as writing a letter to a friend or taking a slow foods cooking class or putting on some skates to see if I still know how to glide on the flat. I need to celebrate how far up the hill I am! Then I will come back later, or tomorrow and get to work with a better idea about why I’m doing it, with my commitment refreshed and my spirit re-connected.
No one can be committed without respite, and we cannot celebrate unless we step back and look at the work we’ve completed.
Good luck, be greener, and breathe,