One of my favorite books that I read and re-read over and over is Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore. It is a brilliant book that was first published in 1992. Last night I was reading the section about the importance of work and how satisfaction with our work is necessary to the growth of the soul.
Here are a few short excerpts from that section:
Most of us put a great deal of time into work, not only because we have to work so many hours to make a living, but because work is central to the soul’s opus. We are crafting ourselves — individuating, to use the Jungian term. Work is fundamental to the opus because the whole point of life is the fabrication of soul. . . .
The trouble is, if what we do or make is not up to our standards and does not reflect attention and care when we stand back to look at it the soul suffers. . . .
When it is not possible to feel good about our work, then soulful pride, so necessary for creativity, turns into narcissism. Pride and narcissism are not the same thing; in a sense, they are opposites. . . .
Work becomes narcissistic when we cannot love ourselves through objects in the world. This is one of the deeper implications of the Narcissus myth: the flowering of life depends on finding a reflection of oneself in the world, and one’s work is an important place for that kind of reflection.