Sunday, December 20, 2015

Industriousness  Yulmonath 20th
First night of Yule - Mother Night (Módraniht)
Sacred to Frigg, Freya and the Disir the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born.  We honor the beginning of the Sun's return and the breaking of Winter's spell.  Traditionally, this night belongs to Frigg, the mother Goddess and mistress of home and hearth.  Celebrations center around the wife or mother of the family as she symbolically cleans the house in preparation of Yule festivities, invites both the living and the dead to join the party, and bestows blessings and gifts on her family and friends.  Mother Night Parties follow a special blot and ceremony where the house is lit with candle light.  Sometimes, this includes a Yule Wreath of four candles, the decorating of an evergreen tree with sun wheels, and the lighting of the Yule Log.


On this day we also remind ourselves of the virtue of Industriousness.  Working to accomplish something.  Doing more than the least you can get by with.  How have you been productive?  Are you ending the year with goals met?  What do you plan to do in the New Year?

'Lose no time.  Be always employed in something useful.  Cut off all unnecessary actions.' - Benjamin Franklin

Industriousness: diligence; persevering determination to perform a task.  Synonyms: diligence, hard work, industry, application, conscientiousness, productiveness, energy. 

Industriousness is the willingness to work hard, always striving for efficiency, as a joyous activity in itself.  It is vital that we work hard at what we seek to achieve, for without consistent and well-directed effort, our goals will not be reached.  But it does not mean that we should work all the time, indeed one should be industrious in ones leisure pursuits as well, and avoid the concept of making work for the sake of having work to do.

Brid says, “I work hard at everything I do. I owe it to myself, to my family, to my community and to my Gods.  I figure my ancestors never sat around being lazy - working hard was inherent to their survival.  You didn’t work, you didn’t eat.  Your family might starve if you were busy loafing instead of doing something.  I try to make sure that I keep my mind and body working at all times - that doesn’t mean I don’t have down time, it simply means that I am at my best when I feel a sense of accomplishment.”

Blacksmith_1500.jpg - Image by John Burke/Taxi/Getty ImagesBeing Industrious develops self-respect.  Putting in an honest day's work lets you look at yourself in the mirror without feeling ashamed.  It is the same with life; to keep ourselves happy and motivated, we must always keep moving.

It fights depression.  Idleness may be the devil’s playground, but it is quite possibly depression’s romper room.  Have you ever known a man who was unemployed for a long period of time?  Chances are he sank into a depressed funk.  Humans are wired to want to feel useful, to make and provide things for others.

More time for family and civic engagement.  I have a friend at law school who has three kids.  By getting his work done at school, my friend is able to focus himself completely on his family when he gets home.

In addition to having more time for family, by being industrious you’ll have time to devote to your community.  Developing the virtue of industriousness not only frees more time for civic involvement, but it also helps develop the work ethic needed to contribute to the public welfare.

How to be Industrious?  Plan.  Before you go to bed, sit down and plan the next day.  Eliminate distractions.  Have a worthy goal.  Every time you make a decision on how you’re going to spend your time, stop and ask yourself, “Will this action bring me closer to my goal?”  If not, don’t do it.

Being industrious is good, but if you’re a human being, you’re going to need breaks to avoid a mental breakdown.  Find ways to be industrious, even in leisure.  When you have time away from the work that earns you a living, make use of your leisure time by pursuing activities that will make you a better man.  True recreation is an activity that leaves you energized and ready to take on the coming week.

The idea is to stay busy, but at much more relaxed pace.  Remember that the longer you sit around and do nothing, the harder it is to get yourself motivated when you actually have to work.  Avoid the rut by staying busy with relaxing, yet constructive recreational activities.

The idea behind the virtue of industry is to be wholehearted in whatever you do, to get the most you can from the time and effort you spend.  How you judge that depends on what is important and enjoyable to you.  What do you think is more industrious play, watching TV or playing soccer with your friends?  Reading a good book or watching a ball game?  Watching an ant hill or dancing to a music video?  Hint: there aren’t any 'right' answers. You choose what is most valuable to you.

Glad Yuletide to Everyone.  Hail!



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