Spirituality, Eros and the Great Resignation

Today I have no meetings, and tasks are expanding to fill the vast swaths of empty time. Which means I’m scrolling through LinkedIn a lot. Which means I’m seeing lots of stories of people leaving their jobs, lamenting or celebrating the Great Resignation, posting new job openings on their teams. I have calls this week from former colleagues who are newly unemployed and thinking really creatively about what to do next.

People are making decisions about whether to seek higher titles and responsibility or to stay in a role with satisfying work, sufficient money, and a sustainable workload.

Pandemic times, man.

I know lots of factors are driving the Great Resignation and other shifts in people’s lives. But I hope it’s also a sign of people getting in touch with what’s important to them. Making a conscious choice about what they will put their time and energy toward.

This passage from Father Clay seems tailor made for the discernment so many of us are undertaking. This paragraph hits me especially:

“It is helpful for each of us to see where we are driven, and then to ask ourselves, What is this doing to my life? What is this doing to the people close to me? What is this doing to people who are not close to me? What is this doing to my community, my country, my world. What is this doing to our earth?”

My discernment started with my layoff (three years ago this week!) and has continued as I build my consulting practice and feather a homey nest for my husband and children. Some of us need a bit of permission to ask the questions Father challenges us to ask. And even more permission to shift in response to the answers we find.

If you’re considering joining the Great Resignation or have to manage teams and companies through it, good luck to you. If you’re considering smaller shifts, good luck to you. May you hear the small still voice that tells you where to point the fire in your belly to be made whole and do good in the world.

The Fire of Spirit and Eros

The Greek word for desire is eros, from which we get the English word erotic. To be human is to be erotic. To be erotic means to be sexual but much more than that. It’s a fire in our belly. Eros can drive us in many directions:

  • It can drive us to seek money
  • It can drive us to seek justice
  • It can drive us to sexual activity
  • It can drive us to protect the earth
  • It can drive us to protect our loved ones
  • It can drive us to pursue our musical or other artistic talents
  • It can drive us to pursue whatever talents we have been blessed with
  • It can drive us to seek fame and status
  • It can drive us to seek positions of power
  • It can drive us to seek scientific discoveries
  • It can drive us to advance in our trade, business, or profession
  • It can drive us to advance in a religious institution.
  • It can drive us most anywhere.

It is helpful for each of us to see where we are driven, and then to ask ourselves, What is this doing to my life? What is this doing to the people close to me? What is this doing to people who are not close to me? What is this doing to my community, my country, my world. What is this doing to our earth?

I suggest that we think of eros as neither good nor bad, but rather as a powerful desire that we can use well or badly, or some mixture of the two.

When we channel eros well, we are made more whole. When we channel eros badly, it tears us apart. When we are more whole, we are a blessing to ourselves and others. When we are torn apart, we are destructive to ourselves and others. Eros is like a bulldozer. A bulldozer may be used to shape the earth in a way that is beautiful and/or useful, or it may be used to destroy everything in its path.

From “The Fire of Spirit and Eros” in Awesome Love by Father John Clay, (c) 2013

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