Life At Work, The Beginning

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Central Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

While shopping with The Misses last Saturday, I found myself bored inside of an outlet clothing and merchandise store. Rummaging Around, I spotted a small book section. During previous shopping excursions, I had found little nuggets of literature gold...yet, nothing like this.


Thomas Moore, unbeknownst to me, was a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author. One of his works, Care of the Soul, elevated him into National Prominence. That day, in the store, Way Behind several not-so-famous cookbooks, was the GEM that I'm about to tell you about. A Life at Work.

For the last several years, I had embarked upon a personal quest to discover meaning in both my personal as well as professional life. It is said, When the Student is ready, The Teacher will appear! I can attest to that axiom. Thomas Moore's, A Life at Work, was written especially for me.

Moore chronicles his own struggles with the World of Work and Career. Ultimate disappointments, vocational path changes, self-doubt, and experiencing a Chaos following events completely beyond his grasp and control. Seminarian, Wannabe-priest, University Professor, Psychotherapist, Husband/Father (twice), and finally Published Best-Selling Author. I felt and connected with Moore's Sturm und Drang.

A Life at Work, the book, is an awakening. A Discovery! In fact, the book cover jacket's subtitle is, The Joy of Discovering What You were Born to Do.

Leaning toward the spiritual and esoteric, it is no surprise that Moore's background as a Seminarian lends influential significance to his writings. Historically, work and careers wasn't something that one could cook up with regard to personal aspirations, dreams, goals, and passions. Whether the Parent(s) had worked within a trade-vocation, a family business, or societal economics, a worker was almost pre-destined to follow a vocational path.

Moore entreats the reader (finger pointing to me), to engage in introspection via spiritual insight as well as in-depth grounded research. This in-depth, grounding is that of Finding One's Roots. Getting in Touch with the Soul. Then, and only then, can one hear the Calling--Voice--Urgings to go along a particular path.

So engaged, was I, in A Life at Work, that I've decided to prepare and publish an unauthorized book report. Whether this report will be a multi-part sectional research project or simply an essay...perhaps even a chronicle. I'm not entirely sure?

Yet again, A Life at Work has spoken to me in a most sensual manner. I hear the call to fully explore its meaning; the need to share my thoughts is too great. Can a Candle hide its flame in the dark? The light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. Source: QuotationsBook dotcom

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Life At Work, Pt 2, Chaos and Alchemy

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Chaos and Alchemy. Two STRANGE words indeed. Sure, you've all heard of chaos before. Chaos is when you have a HOT date and your hair doesn't fall just right and/or you notice a ZIT on your face (it wasn't there before). But what about Alchemy?

Alchemy is one of the central themes throughout Thomas Moore's Life At Work. He intertwines the alchemistry of work life throughout his 188 page book. Before moving forward to delve into Moore's Alchemy, let's shoot for an understandable definition.

Alchemy: - is both a philosophy and an ancient practice focused on the attempt to change base metals into gold, investigating the preparation of the "elixir of longevity", and achieving ultimate wisdom, involving the improvement of the alchemist as well as the making of several substances described as possessing unusual properties.

Alchemy is the science of understanding, deconstructing, and reconstructing matter, although it is often seen only as the pursuit of turning common metals into gold. A scientific theory says that if Alchemy is stopped in the process of deconstruction, the object will be destroyed (source: Wikipedia.org).

Ok, now that we've gotten that straightened out, let's move on. "But wait, I hear you screaming..." while scratching your head.

No worries; later for this rocket-science-out-of-this-world-magic-trick-stuff. All that you and I need to know is that alchemy is a mixing and separating of things and thoughts in order to create something uniquely new.

Back to Life At Work. Moore uses alchemy as both a resource and definition as well as a literary prose (writing) style. Life ain't Easy and neither is Work (hmmm, that could be a great book title for either Mr. Moore and/or this Writer).

The approach that Moore takes to dissect the dissonance between the two, is to inject as well as project Alchemy into the mixture or equation. Because, neither work nor life is a simple packaged one-size-fits-all. Further, by combining both Life and Work into a single concoction...well, let's just say that there ain't any magic blue pill or silver bullet to make it all good.

Chaos is a whole 'nother slice of cake within itself. Chaos is non-order; misalignment and non-organization. Yet is possesses the seeds of order...the seeds of greatness lies within this Chaos of things.

Dr. Wayne Dyer refers to this phenomena as Dharma and/or The Tao Te Ching. Chaos appears on the surface as misfortune or Bad Luck. It is undeniably uncomfortable and downright painful.

Moore suggests in Life At Work that only IF we could see beyond this chaos. He describes it (Preface) as an Opus of the Soul. Opus means A Work--used interchangeably as a lengthy musical piece or composition. Moreover, both Alchemy and Chaos are temporal (temporary)...as is human existence itself.

Whether we are comfortable or Fitted to the work we're into, the alchemy and chaos will certainly unfold. Just as the four seasons come upon us; just as the clothing fashions of the times change--so goes our life at work. The pattern is individualistic; no two alike chaos for any two like human beings. "Like Sand in an Hourglass, so Goes the Days of our lives (Ed Prentiss-Days-Soap Opera; source: Answers.com).

Without going off the deep end, into a tangential abyss, think of alchemy and chaos (related to life at work) as the symbolism as represented by the caterpillar and butterfly. The lowly caterpillar longs to fly, but it cannot. It sings, I Believe I can Fly! So what happens next?

The caterpillar spins and weaves its cocoon. Before long, through struggle, chaos, and yes...alchemy. A Beautiful Butterfly is Manifested! Next installment in this series, we'll discuss Thomas Moore's 'Calling.'

So engaged, was I, in A Life at Work, that I've decided to prepare and publish an unauthorized book report. Whether this report will be a multi-part sectional research project or simply an essay...perhaps even a chronicle. I'm not entirely sure...

Yet again, A Life at Work has spoken to me in a most sensual manner. I hear the call to fully explore its meaning; the need to share my thoughts is too great. Can a Candle hide its flame in the dark? The light shines in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not (source: QuotationsBook dotcom).

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Life At Work, Pt 3, The Calling

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

The Calling is Life At Work's focus for Chapter Two. An Internal Indication... a Blissful Sign. These are some of the many terms that Moore uses to describe this esoteric phenomenon. Rather, Chapter Two begins with a story.

Mahud was a simple man who lived in a small village and made his living selling vegetables at a busy market. He was comfortable enough and liked his work. But one day, the Angel-Khabir appeared to him and told him to jump in the river.

Without thinking about it, Mahud leaped into the flowing water.

The story progresses along wherein every so often, Khabir makes an appearance to Mahud--telling him to do something.

Radical changes, usually; quit this job, go down or up to this or that village, and wait to see what happens. Of course, being a symbolic story of the highest order, Mahud FALLS into a foreign and new vocation. Then another, and another--You get the idea...

In his Late years, Mahud gained a reputation as a Holy Man. Folks came to him from far and wide...seeking answers to their problems, illnesses, and issues.

Mahud was humble; he knew as well as communicated that his abilities were only able to manifest due to his unfailing allegiance to following the Angel Khabir. In a single word, Mahud was Obedient. He listened to The Call; he listened via his Open Heart!

I've often found it fascinating how persons enter into various occupations, vocations, and work paths to success (or failure). At first, I believed that we simply FALL into something; then, developing it from there. Now, I'm not so sure...

What I mean is that perhaps through this mystery and wonder, there is an Unseen force. Not suggesting that this is the Hand of God, an Oracle, Angelic Superbeings, or any such conjecture. Simply, could our very vocational path be a part of a Greater Design as is the Galactic Creation of the Universe itself.

Who's to say that each individual human being isn't of spectacular ordination as is, say War and Peace?

Returning again to Life At Work, Chapter Two...The Calling is an Individualistic urging. "To Each His Own," {Cicero, Roman
author, orator, and politician (106 BC -43 BC); source: WiseGeek.com}. Do you, as do I, Ignore The Calling...The Voice?

We aren't obedient nor loyal to, The Call. Why Me? we ask when faced with a work life change (voluntary or involuntary).

Moore suggests that we become simpleminded as was Mahud. Follow the Angel's directives. Without hesitation, without resistance, and without mistrust. We go to a new place; the unknown.

"But once there, you know it is what you have been
looking for all the while." -Life At Work, pg 26.

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Life At Work, Pt 4, Soul and Spirit

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy." -Kahlil Gibran

Of the 12 chapters of Life At Work, my favorite is that of Chapter Three--Soul and Spirit. For the life of me, now having digested all of Life At Work book, it is perplexing as to how Moore was able to accentuate his treatise for both Soul and SPIRIT within 19 pages.

The subjects are Huge! Volumes upon volumes have been written on the singleness of each...let alone both. The 19 page context goes to the heart of Moore's genius. The simplicity within this duplicity. Perhaps it is the hidden passion that I've adopted for this work...The Genius Within.

Again, Moore begins with a story (or a fable; difficult to ascertain). --Moore admittedly utilizes Story-telling as a writing formulae-- His story of the 15th century priest, Marsilo Ficino, is the archetype for this 'soulful' chapter.

As a youngster, Ficino's Parents indentured the boy into a life of Arts and Letters servitude to a wealthy aristocrat. Although somewhat dubious,
this financial alliance was not unholy.

Ficino mastered Latin and Greek; Moore's literary connection to Ficino is within the position of a person being grafted to one's soul. "To be grafted to Soul means to be open to the life that pools deep inside you, allowing it to coalesce into a career or other kind of work (page 28)."

Soul-Breathing

Life At Work, page 29, submits that our Soul is what makes us unique persons. Moreover, we become truly alive when connected to cherished friendships, family gatherings, and other forms of close deep relational human interaction. Our Soul, as defined by Heracleitus, is Deep. Depth--without bottomless limit.

Moore makes a point that human souls require air...to breathe as does our body itself requires air/oxygen to fully function.

Relational to work and career, when we are ill-fitted for a particular vocation or location, our souls are left breathless. Unable to breathe, The Soul begins to die. The same is true whether or not we are in a giving and mutually-beneficial relationship.

Our souls are alive when we can make human connections, feel in touch with others around us, and become connected with a purpose higher than that of ourselves. What I love the most about this chapter is that the Soul is presented as a Being rather than as a separate and abstract part of our existence.

Moore writes that "it is necessary to love what we're doing and what we're making." He goes on to emphatically state that; "People who are frustrated with their work often say they simply don't love what they're doing and therefore feel unmotivated to get to work. Love is the impetus that propels us toward our life work."

The Spirit

"The spirit is quite different from the soul, and it, too, should be in harmony with your life work. Spirit is the upper region of experience and includes your worldview, ethical sensitivities, ideas about life and death, religious beliefs and understandings, and intellectual development." (pgs 36 & 37).

Moore is careful to interject that Spirit isn't necessarily spirituality or religious. Simply, Soul is lower or deep; Spirit is the higher or the Head. One isn't better than the other...the two work in harmonious tandem.

The danger with the Spirit is that it can be crushed or wounded. Note a child that has been told to go to their room or to stop making noises. Their spirit is crushed. Too often, as Moore points out, we allow money to become and assume our spirit. The result--a mixed alchemy of negative emotions and physical ills and manifestations.

Life At Work really expands upon this topic...perhaps better than any other secular available book or publication. In the final words of the chapter, the book concludes with the premise that Soul and Spirit work like lovers; a two-dimensional completeness that allows our work life to be a contributor to ourselves as whole human beings. Complete persons in the Family, Community, and the World at large.

"Spirit moves us into the future, while the soul keeps us tied to the past." Embracing these two factors, we are no longer satisfied with the pursuit of a job; rather, we crave fulfilling work activity that makes our lives complete.

Make sense?

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Life At Work, Pt 5, The Ivory Tower

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover is yourself." -Alan Alda

Life in the Ivory Tower

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Let Down Your Hair," goes the Prince from the fairy-tailed fable. Life At Work speaks to our lives--In The Tower. I had never, until now (after reading Thomas Moore's book), put 2 + 2 together about working in the tower.

My office, is on the 1st floor of a two-story building. My Boss' office is on the 7th floor of a 10-story building. My ambition was to have a position, within the corporation, that was on the same level as is his. The money, the title, and the office. Seventh Floor!

Life At Work (page 80) points out that mythology, religious teaching stories, and fairy tales reveal patterns that challenge us as human beings. Moore submits that for some, the alchemy of life work discovery doesn't necessarily begin in chaos...it begins in success. Or rather, the 'Illusion of Success!'

Towers, Cubicles, and Pursuing Happiness

Surely, we can't simply Walkaway from our jobs. Yet, what we all want...deep down, is to be happy. Our training suggests that we can have money from our work--even moments of bliss; however, one cannot have both money and happiness at work.

The Big Idea is not to become happy nor wealthy from our work/career/jobs. The central theme or key to a successful Life At Work is simply to discover the connection between US and our Work.

I'm an Educator, but I work professionally as an
Insurance Agent. Connected...? Maybe so. Six degrees of Separation? Possibly! It's all of how I am, in the moments, at work. The connection between the Soul and Spirit of my Insurance career and the Soul and Spirit of my very being.

The main point here is not to become stuck inside the Tower (cubicle) walls. To know that we know that we know that where we are is actually where we are. Confused? Of course you are. The confusion comes with the not knowing...or more precisely, the unknown. What we don't know.

The feelings that we have at work, it is the general barometer that we use to gauge our work happiness and fulfilment. Of course, feelings and moods are important to the human psyche (spirit) and soul--but not so much. I believe that the real keys to the vault lies within the meaning(s) that we attach to our work.

Feelings and First Aid

Life At Work devotes short yet meaningful context toward the Worker's feelings and coping. Emotions is a more accurate synonym for describing the feelings we experience during our Life At Work. Moreover, it is the emotions of pent-up anger,
hostility, and dissatisfaction, frequently experience at work, that we combat on a daily basis.

These negative emotions, as outlined in Life At Work (page 88), stem from our work life situations. Issues of injustice, culture, loss of power, and others can contribute to Life At Work, Implosive Anger. "Venting feels good at the moment, but it usually accomplishes nothing and may be destructive. By venting anger, you can lose a job and harm important relationships (page
88)."

The Fix, the First Aid, or the Cope arrives by nurturing our Soul in the course of our Life At Work. Vacations are as much an integral component to career success as is Microsoft Excel proficiency. Self-recognition strategies to sense the inner stressor characteristics prior to manifestation. This strategy includes the avoidance of alcohol overindulgence along with proper diet and exercise.

Without sermonizing on the benefits of Clean living, I believe that Life At Work summarizes the remedy to ill-health (resulting from our work) to be this...Depth of Character. Deepening of our family relationships, cultivation of meaningful hobbies and community involvement, and connecting to spirituality (religion, art, music, etc.)

The next writing will be upon Life At Work's Care of the Soul At Work. Stay Tuned!

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Life At Work, Pt 6, Loving Work

by Andre V. Milteer, M.A.
(Texas, USA)

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Life At Work by Thomas Moore

Loving What You Do, the theme of Life At Work Chapter 10, is a recurring theme in all of our work lives. Let's test the water:

"How many of you all LOVE Your Work?" No, not the money, power, position, responsibilities, etc. The Work! Do you REALLY Love your work (job--career)?

The very same thoughts and feeling that you're having now, as I asked the question of you (do you...), are those of my own as well.

Perhaps, that is why, Life At Work (Chapter 10) resonates with me. Continue down this path with me as I engage Thomas Moore's writings and reflections upon this theme.

By now, after almost six installments of analytic review of Life At Work, the reader can see Moore's writing penchant throughout. It's reflected in almost all of his 15 book publications.

Life At Work is my first read of Moore's work; yet his book titles will support my contention. Moore writes about The Soul; this is his way, his Dharma, his Tao. The Soul is where Moore eventually gets us to within his many pages.

Whereas Moore explores the Greek/Latin types of love (Eros, Agape, Philia), I've decided to steer away from that topic. The exploration of that course is too far and wide. For the sake of simplicity, let's just say that Love..Is What It Is!

Regarding work: Who do you love...What do you love...How do you love? Love is an emotion (many will disagree; citing that love is first a thought)--a feeling. That feeling (of love that is) is usually a burning desire and/or a pleasurable sensation. Have any of you all ever received a work-related Raise and/or Promotion?

How did it feel? Good-to-Great, Right?

That pleasurable feeling (love), felt upon the receipt of the monetary raise-promotion, was time-sensitive. Short-lived; soon it wore off and you were back to where you started or worse. The Old Grindstone, no doubt. Why, because what we were in love with, in the first place was recognition, financial gain, power...The Stuff!

Stuff--in and of itself is OK. But Stuff ain't gonna take you down the long-long-long Yellow Brick Road. And so, we enter again on Life's Work-Highway. Speeding up, only to slow down as we approach Exits. Looking for an exit; looking to get off this Work-Highway that is leading us down a path to ultimate success.

However, that proverbial success is the Work-Highway's success-destination (aka, destination to success). It belongs to the Work-Highway...it doesn't belong to us. Kinda like 'My Office' doesn't belong to me; it belongs to the Employer to whom I answer to. Are you starting to get this as I am?

The Donald

Real Estate Mogul, Billionaire, and Television Star of The Apprentice is the media epitome of success. Without regard to the inner personal machinations of Mr. Trump, we can suggest that The Donald has led a financially successful life.

Viewing his Hit television show, the boardroom scenes show a CEO that carefully analyzes, reviews data, sizes up the Apprentice
wannabees, and summarily Fires one or two players. He is Good!

Behind all of this is the probability that Trump LOVES his work. It's been said that we must have a passion for our business...and that our business must be in our passion.

I submit that Donald Trump's wealth is an outgrown of his Life At Work, Love for his business! When is the last time that You or I proclaimed, 'I Love What I Do?

What Do I Really Want?

After going back and forth, over the years, I've embarked upon a new career path. Waiting for, The Call, I've braced and prepared myself for the career change. I want it badly; yet the change will occur and when the Divine Creation deems it so.

Until then, I wait, and I wait, and I...

A Life At Work, is for You and I. My multi-part book report is for your benefit. Yet mainly, it is for mine own. My report is therapeutic and releasing. While I wait for, The Call, I'll share my secret career wish with you all via YouTube Video...

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