Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nestle, power and work

Nestle [vb] - to settle snugly or comfortably as if in a nest, to press closely or affectionately

The other day, while watching my three Dachshunds wrap themselves around each other, winding into one large ball of fur with three heads, six eyes and twelve legs, I pondered how reassuring it must be to nestle like that.

Do people nestle anymore in this digital age? With most of us living online, our addresses are punctuated with dots and forward slashes, our virtual street names all start with htpp:\ and everyone is connected, yet terribly alone, how could we nestle?

I believe we are living in a weird anthropological time in the history of humanity. Encounters of the flesh have been replaced by apps and applets, bytes and browsers, clicks and chats, firewalls and frames.

Instead of visiting Grandma’s, where dotted Swiss curtains hang helplessly in the south window of her musty nineteenth-century home, we revel over the latest text messages and Skype videos.

Remember what it was like to nestle - curling into a fetal position, resting under the protective presence of another’s reach, leaning into another’s providential shield.

I believe in nestling. In fact, I think if we all nestled more, we would feel more self-assured, more loved, more empowered.

Power [noun] - position of control, authority, influence over others

Speaking of power, there should be a universal law against using the vocabulary of freedom to gain power in both political and personal relationships.

When it comes to power, my work ethic appears to control my life. I’ve often wondered why, until recently, when it dawned on me that my parents often expressed their love for me through work.

Work [noun] - activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something

My parents worked to provide good food and plenty of it.

They worked to have a big house, to buy nice clothes, to drive me around in a new car and to pay the utilities bills. Most of all they worked to protect me.

Considering that my parents expressed their love in this way, I now realize why I experience difficulty turning off my compulsivity to work.

Like a perpetual switch, I find pleasure and satisfaction in work - scrubbing floors, cleaning toilets, washing dishes, raking leaves, sweeping sidewalks, folding clothes, organizing files, writing stories, writing more stories, and on and on.

Funny thing about much as we love our jobs, we work our entire adult lives so that we can stop working and retire.

Some of us are counting the years to retirement.

Some of us are counting the months.

Someone I knew at work had been counting the days until his retirement. On December 14, he had only 160 or so to go.

When I heard that he recently was diagnosed with inoperable cancer, I slumped with sadness for him and for all of us. He died on March 6.

No matter how we measure life, we know two facts: life is way too short and goes by far too fast.

This is why we need to nestle more, love more and work less.

2011 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning columnist. Her writing has won first-place in competitions of the National Federation of Press Women, South Dakota Press Women and Iowa Press Women. In the 2009 and 2010 South Dakota Press Women Communications Contest, Paula's columns took five first-place awards. To contact Paula, email, follow her blog at and find her on FaceBook.

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