I like surprises, usually.

Last winter, I attended a business seminar. The obvious repertoire of business topics was covered and this Zen proverb:

Before Enlightenment chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment chop wood, carry water.

This Zen proverb was the unexpected. Arguably, it was an unusual blend of business and spiritual concepts. Remarkably, it is this proverb that was my greatest take-away from the training. Initially, I struggled with its’ meaning and relevance to work. As I struggled, the meaning became more intriguing. For me “chop wood, carry water” has come to mean living in the present moment. This twelve word proverb is simple but living the principle can be challenging.

Ho-hum or amazing?

“Chopping wood, carrying water” makes living straightforward and less complicated. When I am present, I am open to my environment and find that good things happen all day long. Some of those good things are small but if I was not paying attention, I would have missed them. I have grown to be grateful for the commonplace and relish the beauty of nature and the extraordinary people I meet.

“Chopping work, carrying water” and grant writing.

The core of “chopping word, carrying water” is the work of the day, actually very hard work. Being present does not eliminate the necessity of work. Reaching goals and objectives, whatever your profession, is hard work. Raising funds for any organizations is hard work. In an economic downturn, fund raising is extremely hard work. Grant writing, specifically, is a highly complex process and requires extensive preparation and skill. The beginning of the hard work really only begins once the funding has been received and the project starts.

Hot Tip

Life is not about drudgery. Do the tasks that play to your strengths and delegate tasks that play to the gifts of others. A round pegs in a square hole is never a fit, nor will you ever be happy. Rejoice in what you do best and remember you have a lot to offer.

Best wish and good luck, Kathi

Believe in possibility and yourself.