Subject: Chop Wood, Carry Water

Welcome to Celebrating the Journey!

produced by Margo Chisholm
Coach, Speaker, Author, Adventurer
Monday, March 13, 2000
Issue #17

I welcome the 53 new subscribers to CTJ this week. A
record number that puts us over the 500 mark! Thank you
to all of you who forward CTJ to friends and colleagues
and family members. And a challenge… a target of 700 by
the end of March! To that end, I ask that you forward CTJ
to 5 people this week. Pass the word, spread the

As CTJ grows at this marvelous rate, I invite you to let me
know what you like, what you don’t; what you’d like to
see more of, what less of; too long, too short; too practical,
not practical enough. You get the idea! Topics, ideas,
favorite quotes, humor — send your thoughts and
opinions to me at My
desire is for Celebrating The Journey to be a resource for
YOUR journey. Let me know what will make it that for
you. Any idea or quote or humor I use in CTJ will be
celebrated with a surprise for you. Come play with me!

Chop Wood, Carry Water

As I make the transition from last week’s marvelous
vacation back to the details of everyday life, including
work, I am aware that whether the part of life that we
label “work” is a joyful experience or a difficult one
depends totally on our attitude. We can consider work
purely in terms of survival, of the need to make a living
or we can view it as a way to deepen and enrich the
experience of our lives. It’s up to us, and it’s all about
attitude: bringing an attitude of joy and awareness and
spirituality to all that we do today, right here, right now.
Including “work”.

Many of the unhealthy attitudes about work in our
culture stem from the “Protestant work ethic” that arose
from a harsh Calvinistic theology which judged sloth, lack
of prudence or lack of worldly success as sure signs that
you would not be one of “God’s chosen few.” No, no, no!!
Few of us subscribe to that theology any longer, yet the
first synonyms listed for the word “work” in my
Thesaurus are toil, chore, drudgery, grind, slavery, sweat,
tedium, travail, labor, pains, struggle, toil, trouble. There’s
not much room in those words for enjoyment or freedom
or fulfillment or joy or even success. We live with myths
like the following:

Children play, grownups work.

Work is definitely not play.

You’re not officially grown up until you go to work.

You’re weak and spoiled if you don’t work.

Women work at home but that doesn’t count as
real work.

Work is just that – work. You’re not supposed to
like it.

You must work hard.

As long as we continue to believe these myths, whether
consciously or unconsciously, we will find it difficult to
bring the same quality of joy and attention to our work as
we do to our leisure and the other parts of our lives.

It is possible to replace those old myths with beliefs that
allow the work that we do – even the parts that we don’t
love – to be a source of fulfillment and joy, an honoring
of who we are and how we live, an exciting opportunity to
reflect and grow. Here are my new beliefs around work:

I bring an attitude of play and lightness to my work,
even to the parts that are challenging.

Whether work is “hard” or not depends on my
attitude, not on what the work is.

Work is a playground.

I bring both the child part of me and the grownup
part of me to work and to play. And sometimes I get them

Work and play can feel the same. It’s my choice.

Each action I take, whether labeled work or
play, business or loving, giving or receiving, is a spiritual
act, made consciously with attention and caring.

The authors of “Chop Wood, Carry Water” tell us that,
“The old wage-slave mentality of renting ourselves to our
jobs for eight hours a day to cover the essentials of life is
giving way to the awareness that work is an integral part
of our lives. Therefore the quality of our lives and the
quality of our work-time are one and the same.” That’s it!
Just as the whole is much more than the sum of the
parts; a connected life is much more than getting through
the work-time part in order to enjoy the entirely separate
leisure time part.

I invite you to release the old myths and live your life as a
whole, connected journey rather than as separate bits and


Make a list of the old myths you have about work.

Write down the ways that each myth negatively impacts
how you experience life.

For each old myth, create a new belief that supports your
having freedom and joy in your work as well as in the
other parts of your life.

Post the new list where you can see it as you do your work
for the day. Read it at least once each day and CHOOSE to
act from those new beliefs. It truly is that simple.

I’d love to hear your new beliefs. Send them in an email


Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing
that it is not fish they are after.
Henry David Thoreau

Every kind of work can be a pleasure. Even simple
household tasks can be an opportunity to exercise and
expand our caring, our effectiveness, our responsiveness…
These qualities of caring and responsiveness are the
greatest gift we can offer.
Tarthang Tulki

Nothing I do is too tiny or tedious to be spiritual.
Anne Wilson Schaef

Magical power,
marvelous action!
Chopping wood,
carrying water…”
from Zen Forest, translated by Soiku

We all deserve succulent work lives!


Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual
Fulfillment in Everyday Life by Rick Fields et al.

This book, written in 1984, is a must for anyone wanting
to integrate the events of modern living, including work
and play, relationships and family, technology and
matters of the soul, into the quest for spiritual fulfillment.
For those new to or skeptical of the spiritual side that
exists in us all, Chop Wood provides practical, down-to-
earth connections between the everyday-ness of life and
the concept of spirituality. A most useful companion to
creating a life that is rich, joyful and fulfilling. Click to
order it for only $12.76:

What Color Is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles.

The 26th edition (a new one each year) of this perennially
best-selling (25 years in a row) book is the guiding light for
those searching for satisfying and fulfilling employment.
This year’s edition has been completely revised and
rewritten and is designed to work in conjunction with the
book’s website. Packed with time-tested advice, What
Color Is Your Parachute? works as a good companion for
those just starting out in the “real world” as well as for
those who are thinking seriously about a career change. A
great how-to for finding employment that will serve your
life rather than the other way around. It could be the best
$13.56 you ever spent! Click to order:


A correction to last week’s humor section. The title of
“Random Thoughts” is really “Deep Thoughts”. It was
written by a comedian named Jack Hardy. Credit to where
it is due! And a few more Deep Thoughts – this time on
the topic of Words.

If a pig loses its voice is it disgruntled?

Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy

When someone asks you, “A penny for your thoughts,”
and you put your two cents in, what happens to the other

Why is the man who invests all your money called a

When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a
person who drives a race car not called a racist?

Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

“I am” is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English
language. Could it be that “I do” is the longest sentence?

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t
it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians
denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree
surgeons debarked and drycleaners depressed?

Do Roman paramedics refer to IV’s as “4’s”?

If you take an Oriental person and spin him around
several times, does he become disoriented?

Once again this comes from Jack Hardy via the laughing
heart of Jan Garrett, soulful singer and song-writer. Find
out who she is and what her music is about at

Give yourself the gift of a whole life this week.

Namaste, Margo


Saturday, March 25 is the date of my next YOUR BEST
YEAR YET workshop in Aspen, Colorado. The book based
on the workshop has been called a cross between Simple
Abundance and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective

This 3 1/2 hour workshop asks 10 simple yet profound
questions which lead you to a one-page plan to have the
next 12 months be Your Best Year Yet. Reference to this
issue of Celebrating The Journey earns you a 20% discount
off the price of $125. Visit for more
information or email to
receive a registration form or with any questions you may
have. A great opportunity to create a plan to make the
next 12 months be your Best Year Yet, and get some great
spring skiing in at the same time!


Being in recovery is not only about not drinking or using
or eating compulsively or living your life based on other
people; it is about creating a life, the kind of life you have
never imagined. When you are no longer being run by an
active addiction, you are faced with the question: now
what? How do I create a life from this new place?
Coaching In Recovery is an action based process for people
with one year or more of freedom from an active
addiction. The goal is to discover, design and rebuild your
life the way you really want it. Join me on the telephone
for 4 half hour sessions a month to create and live a life
you have never dreamed possible. Coaching In Recovery
in no ways replaces 12-step or other support groups. This
work is not about staying in recovery. It’s about creating a
different life in recovery. Email to schedule a free
demonstration session or for more information.

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My purpose in publishing Celebrating the Journey is to
provide you with resources, motivation, inspiration and
energy for YOUR journey to creating success and freedom
in all areas of your life. CTJ will use stories from my life
and others’, coaching tips and resources, quotes and
humor to deliver a learning experience that can enhance
your life. I am always looking for comments, ideas and
ways to improve CTJ. I welcome your emails at
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coaching. Every dedicated athlete has a coach. Why not
have a coach for the most important game of all: the
game of life. Visit our website at for additional resources
and tools. To schedule a consultation, send an email to

Copyright © 2000, all rights reserved, by Margo Chisholm

I invite you to share Celebrating the Journey with your
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entire email with Copyright and Credits be included. The
author of this article is Margo Chisholm. You may contact
her at (970)704-9336 or at

“At every moment of our life we have an
opportunity to choose joy.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen

Margo Chisholm
Coach, Speaker, Author, Therapist
Partnering you in having success,
freedom and joy in all areas of your life
970-704-9336 fax 970-704-9346


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