I took my perch high on the twentieth floor of our Florida vacation spot, anticipating the warm sunshine on my face while meditating. Before I settled in, however, my eyes landed on a flurry of fluorescent clad construction workers climbing the half-built plot nextdoor. They were putting together a nineteen story high rise resort and spa next to ours, and the progress that they had made during our thanksgiving break had been astounding.
Each morning they would arrive on site, come together as an enormous group, talk, put their harnesses on, grab their tools, then ascend the skeleton structure to their designated workplaces. At lunch, a whistle would blow, they would descend, meet again, then eat, then repeat the process until duty-day was over. Each day they would touch on the greater mission at hand, each day they would go off and do their own particular job, each day they would support the whole by doing their individual part. It was incredibly simple. And the progress made after a week was remarkable.
I watched the construction choreography and I harkened back to every sports team that I had ever been on, my time in the military, my time on each film or television set, and eventually, even broader to the whole of our life experience, its components within. Before me, lay our job description for being human, exemplified each day next door: Decide on what you want to build that will house, support, frame your life. Make a blueprint of plans that feel good to you. Then take each story, each floor, each segment of your life at a time. Start each day checking in with yourself and the souls around you on that particular worksite. Check in with that particular mission at hand. Then disperse, and focus on your own job; on doing the very best that you can do with each aspect. Try not to simply go through the motions, but fully engage, focus on each task, while being aware of the entire machine as a whole. The more we all focus on the responsibilities of our own job descriptions, the more we do for others by doing what they don’t have to do, and thus contributing to the whole. The more we wake up, tune into our broader self—the self that connects to others on an intrinsic level—then move toward what impulses we are inspired to follow, the more we help the world around us. And productivity, progress, growth, expansion...they are the inevitable byproducts.
I sat and watched the workers and was reminded to not make it so complicated. I was reminded not to worry about those around me, not to worry about the frustrated, unhappy worker on the floor below, for that will cause me to shirk my own responsibilities, and cause a domino of chaos. That worker will find a more suitable place for a better contribution, and the more everyone else does their own job around him, the more clear his misplacement will become. I was reminded to just focus on what I am here to do, while being aware of—but not distracted or disheartened by—those who make up the rest of the whole. Healthy, whole, proficient cogs make brilliant, efficient machines that construct beautiful architectural works of art...works of art that employ, house, entertain, enliven everyone.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]