The ant is a symbol of strength, work ethics and community. The parable of the Grasshopper and the ant teaches us to work hard and always put something aside for hard times. (Side note, in the original version the Grasshopper dies. It’s my understanding that the lesson is no longer taught that way. Which is sad because the other side of the lesson was that if you don’t take responsibility for your own life nobody else will. But, I digress. ) When I was a kid I marveled at how the ant could work so tirelessly. Cutting leaves and collecting food for long hours. Digging endless tunnels and closing them up again with machine like resilience. As a young man I could hold my own but after a while enthusiasm becomes, well, depleted. I had the energy to work for 12 or even 16 hours per day and still have a little fun before going to bed and doing it all over again but there was no joy in my labor. I began to worry about becoming lazy and falling to fate of the Grasshopper. It wasn’t until I started to gain the perspective of experience that I figured out the ant’s secret. The ant wasn’t just working. It was living it’s purpose. It’s work was far more than just labor. It was an expression of joy. All of that cutting, lifting and digging was an avenue of pleasure. The ant was custom made for the life it lives.
We as humans have a more complex system than that of the ants but the principal of finding and living in your purpose is the same. We might not all be able to earn a living at that purpose but being able to devote a certain portion of the day doing whatever it is that makes you feel like the best version of yourself will help to elevate your overall life experience. It’s the difference between a working life and a life that works.
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