On Simply Being




This came across my phone screen:  “What’s your productivity score? This unique metric measures how well you’re handling the stress that work and life are sending your way by identifying key areas where you can make changes and achieve more! “

A few years ago, I would have tapped the link below to read more. However, now I am retired from my profession. I no longer want to achieve more and “skyrocket” my career.  I am not interested in making monthly or annual goals, increasing the department budget, hiring more people, learning new computer programs, vying for office space or doing more than last year. I am no longer under the pressure of many administrative deadlines. Even better, I have no more tough personnel problems or work with Human Resources. Letting go of my work life was not so difficult, although by most accounts I was successful. The burden of stress and responsibility made it so much easier to give up power, authority, respect and title in the workplace.

Enjoying the gift of unhurried time, my focus can be elsewhere. All that striving to serve others by growing the Spiritual Care Department of a large and growing academic medical center is behind me. Letting go is primary in the transition to this next phase of life. “To let go of the ego means, among other things, to step away from the coercion to succeed. It means to ‘go where you are nothing…’ The ultimate criterion for taking action cannot be success because that would mean to go on dancing to the tunes of the bosses of this world,” wrote Dorothee Soelle in The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Résistance. This is the opportunity to begin again. Not being swept up in the acquisition of money, the pursuit of more, or investing in the latest trends is like living aside of the mainstream. It entails downsizing and “downward mobility,” a phrase used by Henri Nouwen, when he resigned from a prestigious professorship at Yale Divinity School to serve in L’Arche, a home for developmentally disabled people. 

There is peace in slowing down to live more deeply and less expansively. Being content with enough and setting aside productivity gives me time to focus my involvement with what is most important to me now, like being loving and helpful in smaller ways. After all, we are not called to be successful; we are called to be faithful. And God is still calling.