The International Coaching Federation’s annual conference ended recently and, while I did not attend it this year, some of its messages are continuing to reverberate through the blogosphere.
One conference presentation given by author and scholar Richard Tarnas concluded with a poem by Marge Piercy that most beautifully captures the joy of my work, and the spirit of so many terrific people whose tenacity and sense of purpose inspire me regularly.
After a great day of coaching, I realized I am blessed with such wonderful clients that I had to share the poem to express what it means to be working with such remarkable people!
And for you to remind yourself what it is to be of use, as you undoubtedly are, no matter what you feel about your work.
To Be of Use
The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.
by Marge Piercy (Thanks to Andrea Lee for drawing my attention to this lovely poem)