Seasonal Articles (Where in the Wheel are We?)

Balancing Work with Spirituality–An Essay Contest

April 2019

This is an Essay Contest, with prizes given for best answer. No Kidding.

I didn’t think this was going to be an easy topic to write about when I chose it, but after sitting down and making several stabs at an answer I realized that this four-word phrase was about as loaded as questions like “Who are you voting for?” or “Does this dress make me look fat?”

I must be punishing myself for neglecting this blog for the past couple of weeks.

Balancing work with spirituality—what does that even mean?

(Stares blankly at the screen, hoping that the answer will type itself. It doesn’t.)

Okay, so in order to answer this question, you have to tell me what exactly you’re trying to balance. Look at the bottom of this article for the definitions of work, job, spiritual, and spirituality.

Update: having pondered this overnight, it seems to me that spiritual is something that you are, and work is generally something that you do. Some people can honestly say that their work is by its nature blended with their spirituality, but a fair number of people work at jobs by which they do not define themselves.

Question 1: Okay, so what is the nature of your spirituality? To clarify, I don’t want to hear “I’m Heathen” or “I’m Wiccan”; I want to hear what it means to follow these paths.

Question 2: Consider the tenets of your spirituality. Do they include honesty? Kindness? Do they include an ethic of treating others as you would like to be treated? Does your spirituality dictate that you attempt to behave with integrity, “to be the better person”?

Question 3: Do the tenets of your spiritual path encourage hard work, holding both your work and behavior to the highest standard (yes, that’s a little redundant with Question 2, but bear with me.) Are you encouraged to take responsibility for your actions?

Question 4: Do the tenets of your spirituality indicate that you should work hard to support yourself and those for whom you are responsible?

I think that, after you have considered these questions, many of you will find that your spirituality plays a much bigger role in your work than you realized. However, there may remain some residual irritations and feelings that you just don’t have the balance you want between work and spirituality. Write them down and let’s talk!

Remember, below are the definitions for the pertinent terms, and yes, there will be prizes!



Definition of work (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something:

a : activity that a person engages in regularly to earn a livelihood people looking for work

b : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity

c : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result

2 : one’s place of employment

ex.: didn’t go to work today

3a : something produced or accomplished by effort, exertion, or exercise of skill

ex.: this book is the work of many hands

b : something produced by the exercise of creative talent or expenditure of creative effort : artistic production an early work by a major writer

4a : something that results from a particular manner or method of working, operating, or devising ex.: careful police work clever camera work

b : something that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material

ex.: porcelain work

5a works plural : structures in engineering (such as docks, bridges, or embankments) or mining (such as shafts or tunnels)

b : a fortified structure (such as a fort, earthen barricade, or trench)

6 works plural in form but singular or plural in construction : a place where industrial labor is carried on : plant, factory

7 works plural : the working or moving parts of a mechanism

ex: the works of a clock

(entry 3 of 3)

1 : engaged in working : busy especially : engaged in one’s regular occupation

2 : having effect : operating, functioning

ex.: in the works

: in process of preparation, development, or completion

in work

1 : in process of being done

2 of a horse : in training

out of work

: without regular employment : jobless


noun (1)

\ ˈjäb


Definition of job

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : a regular remunerative position

ex: got a part-time job as a waiter/ she quit her job

b : a specific duty, role, or function

ex.: The heart’s job is to circulate blood.

c(1) : something that has to be done : task

ex.: was given the job of delivering the bad news

(2) : an undertaking requiring unusual exertion

ex.: it was a real job to talk over that noise

2a : a piece of work

ex.: doing odd jobs around the house/ Repairing the roof was a big job. especially : a small miscellaneous piece of work undertaken on order at a stated rate

ex.: a car that needs a brake job

b : the object or material on which work is being done

c : something produced by or as if by work

ex.: did a nice job

d : an example of a usually specified type : item

ex.: the limousine was a long white job

3a : something done for private advantage

ex.: the whole incident was a put-up job

b : a criminal enterprise specifically : robbery

ex.: the gang that pulled the bank job

c : a damaging or destructive bit of work

ex.: did a job on him

4 chiefly British : state of affairs —usually used with bad or good

ex.: it was a good job you didn’t hit the old man— E. L. Thomas

5 : plastic surgery for cosmetic purposes

ex.: an eye job — see nose job

on the job

: at work : while working

ex.: was injured on the job



spir·​i·​tu·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌspir-i-chə-ˈwa-lə-tē \

plural spiritualities

Definition of spirituality

1 : something that in ecclesiastical law belongs to the church or to a cleric as such

2 : clergy

3 : sensitivity or attachment to religious values

4 : the quality or state of being spiritual

You know, they always taught us that you NEVER use the root word in the definition! Thanks, Merriam-Webster!




spir·​i·​tu·​al | \ ˈspir-i-chə-wəl

, -i-chəl, -ich-wəl\

Definition of spiritual

1 : of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit : (incorporeal)

ex. spiritual needs

2a : of or relating to sacred matters

ex. spiritual songs

b : ecclesiastical rather than lay or temporal

ex. spiritual authority /lords spiritual

3 : concerned with religious values

4 : related or joined in spirit

ex.: our spiritual home/his spiritual heir

5a : of or relating to supernatural beings or phenomena

b : of, relating to, or involving spiritualism : spiritualistic