Moving Grasshoppers

Well, this week wasn’t an “I’m here” kind of week. It was an “Oh *!%*#” kind of week, a week of being stuck on a level of relating to the world that is pretty useless.

Someone at work told me about a wasp that kills grasshoppers and then takes them back to a tunnel it built in the ground. Before it takes the grasshopper into the tunnel, it flies through the tunnel to make sure no one has invaded it. If you move the grasshopper away from the tunnel entrance, the wasp will move it back and then go sweep the tunnel again, no matter how far you move the grasshopper, no matter how recently it swept the tunnel.

The tunnel I’ve been running through with great zeal this week is the “I’m not good at my job” tunnel. And because I am really clever, I’ve been moving my own grasshopper by repeatedly trying to assess how bad of a person I am for having missed some deadlines. Don’t try this at home—it’s for advanced monkey minds only.

The problem is, as Cynthia Bourgeault would say, that I’m running the wrong operating system. Whether building myself up or tearing myself down, I’m still basing my identity on job performance.

It’s interesting that over identifying with job performance does not improve it, at least for me. Quite the opposite. If my sense of self is based on whether or not the magazine comes out on time and there’s no way the magazine is going to come out on time, I’m pretty screwed. My personal reaction to this situation is paralysis, which is generally not conducive to getting work done.

Jim Finley says we need to find our identity and security in God alone. That sounds pretty good. I think I’ll start judging myself on how close I’m getting to that standard instead. Excuse me, there’s a grasshopper I need to attend to. Bzzzzzz.

9 thoughts on “Moving Grasshoppers

  1. Ah, Rachel, you are amazing. Treating your mind with humor and metaphor and God. And writing about it so the rest of us can see it in ourselves in a better light. Thank you. Love you heeps and beaps.

  2. Since I haven’t had a job to tie to my identity or self-worth for a little while, it’s made me realize that I’m so much more. I have people who love me. I have interests beyond Cal Poly. I wake up breathing every morning. A job is all consuming for obsessive perfectionistas (like you and me) who still think about our work when we’re not at work. Find a way to separate your brain once you leave the office. A wise friend had a tree outside his office where he would mentally ‘hang’ his work jacket – all the annoyances, worries, tasks – when he left at the end of the day. It would be there waiting for him when he came back. But while he was home he could think about the rest of his life… in the present. Truly, we’re paid to work 40 hours each week. Take another 60 for sleep, showering and other necessities, and that leaves us 68 hours a week to fill however we choose – including our pets, our favorite people and our purpose in life. We ‘pay’ ourselves by spending time doing what we love and fulfilling our souls. That’s an expense we can all afford. XO

  3. OMG me too me too me too me too me too me too. This week has sucked and what has sucked the most this week has been me, my mind and the mind tricks I’ve been pulling off. Ugh. I’d love to get over/get beyond this. I stand with you in solidarity and hope we both pull through asap.

  4. Your posts always make me smile. The struggle with ego is just always there. We CAN work on it, with it, and your words help. Suddenly, like a
    grasshopper, there it is again. If only we can NOT be so hard on ourselves. I feel my shoulders dropping as I write. Thanks.

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