the key to worldly success: you’re not gonna like it

Drudgery is as necessary to call out the treasures of the mind, as harrowing and planting those of the earth.

-Margaret Fuller

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Are you kidding me? frozen salad again??

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That’s right; I’m talking about drudgery.  I told you you weren’t going to like it.

It’s nearly impossible to work on a small farm and not develop a sense of religious awe, amazement and/or wonder.

Spending so much time alone with your thoughts and directly engaged with Nature and your own limitations, you can’t help but be filled with humility and a sense of quiet joy.

But just as often, the mind chatters with frustration, discomfort and resistance. And, there’s just no avoiding the awareness of how helpless we really are against Nature’s random whims which can really undermine your sense of importance.

It’s true: some days, I just don’t feel like it. These icy winter mornings I admit the possibility of lingering in my warm sheets, enjoying another warm, slow cup of coffee and reading a good book crosses my mind.

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SOMEONE’S GOT his HAY HAT ON – CAN YOU SEE HIM? What’s this got to do with drudgery? Not much, but it’s one of the little amusements of the season…

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I don’t want to pull on all those layers and trudge out into the winter blast of a morning to  carry hay here, haul freezing water there, feed cows, pigs & horses,  shovel, dig, plow, sweep, mow, repair, haul, chop, fix, fill, empty, wash, or whatever.

It’s drudgery I tell you. But what is drudgery but the tempering of faith and character? Make peace with drudgery and you can do anything.

Whenever the darkness of drudgery and discomfort is getting the best of me, I talk myself into looking at it this way:  performing menial tasks with a willing and serving heart is like saying a prayer or performing a Devotion. Emphasis on the willing and serving part – that’s when real mastery kicks in.

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Henry’s got his hay hat on…

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Ego aside, performing lowly service free of grumbling and resentment always rewards with something good. It may be a special moment shared with the animals, an inspiringly beautiful scene, the satisfaction of becoming skilled and self sufficient, or the gift of a fantastic idea.

And, nearly always, performing chores Acts of Devotion  overcomes my weaker ego and I return home filled with energy and enthusiasm and renewed commitment, glad I got to be out there doing my thing and feeling sorry for those who missed out by staying inside distracted by aimless, soft pursuits.

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Silly Bess is wearing hers…

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So, see? Now you’re jealous that I get to go out and wrestle in the cold with the tractor, dirty bales of hay tied with frozen strings, a bunch of pushy heifers and freezing water. But no life is without it’s particular drudgeries. 

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Femme says I’m the silly one – she’s just saving some for later

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How do you manage daily drudgery?

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14 thoughts on “the key to worldly success: you’re not gonna like it

  1. ….Anyway, who gets to say what tasks are “lowly” and what tasks are not? Being in the moment and experiencing each task for all it has to offer and teach is what’s important. Yes, acts of devotion, indeed. And I love the hay hats!

  2. It’s all about drudgery around here…..especially certain time of the year. I like a good routine though. I think you really have to love what you do and it won’t seem so much like drudgery ;)

  3. This is a beautiful post Jackie – quite fitting for a Sunday morning. If we didn’t have the quite moments of reflection, then we can’t have the awe. That’s part of the issue with the world, isn’t it?

    1. I believe it is Tammy. We’ve become so unaccustomed to putting in the work, and nobody seems to appreciate the value of menial labor anymore.

      We need to re-introduce the depth created by mystery, craft and incubation to our instant results, on demand lives.

  4. Great post. I think anytime something goes from love to job, drudgery is inevitable. I’ve heard that even with something you’re passionate about, once it becomes your livelihood it also becomes 80% tolerance and 20% inspiration (and that’s when you’re doing something you like). Personally, I like to deal with the 80% type days by coming home to a nice slab of beef and a little scotch.

    1. Nice to hear from you Jake – I was just wondering if there would ever be more of your very funny posts the other day.

      Our loss, probably due to an excess of 80% days, scotch and beef, lol.

      Hope all is well :)

      1. Yeah, the last few have definitely been downers. Great to see what you’re up to and catch up with the cows, humor will definitely be on the docket in the near future.

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