If you think of work as only the means to earning money, you’re missing work at its best — like work with meaning, work with joy, work that stretches your talents, engages your body and spirit as well as your mind, and sends you home inspired by deeper connections with other humans and the earth. And if you think of work as something that ends when the official workday ends or when you retire, you’re not considering how rich the work of our lives is.

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Work to my Dad was his spiritual tonic. He was more in touch with Life when he was building or repairing something. He also enjoyed helping a neighbor, friend or even a stranger who wasn’t as skilled as him. Dad never, ever bragged about his accomplishments. He simply was a “doer” and not a talker. If something needed done he did it.

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Many economists feel there will not be a significant surge in jobs before 2012. What to do? Perhaps its time to take a closer look at starting your own business. Here’s an assessment from small business consultant Pat McHenry Sullivan in an interview by Ellen Augustine.

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The Olympics are about so much more than winning or the feelings that go into it. For me it’s about doing one’s very best after many years of focused practice and extreme dedication. It’s about the ability to be centered enough to perform at one’s peak in front of the world watching. It’s about the drive and passion to be the best we can be at something and going after it. It’s about the ability to perform with precision despite any pain or obstacles that get in the way. And these lessons are applicable to all of us, including the spiritual practices that we can bring to our work, money and other important matters.

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We’ve got to slow down and be like white lines on mountainous roads to each other, my Dad, the late Bill McHenry, once told me. Otherwise, how can we see and safely navigate the inevitable ethical fogs of work and life? … Each of us has a set of unique signals that let us know when we’re in or out of integrity, whether we call those signals our North Star, our touch stone, our inner compass. Or my favorite, which I learned in Dad’s shop, the level and plumb which have helped carpenters build on true and on the level for over 5,000 years.

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