I've been wearing an image of Hanuman around my neck for a few months, wanting to hold close his qualities of service and devotion. I love the stories of Hanuman, how far he'll jump, how big or how small he'll make himself, all in service to Rama.
Service is big for me, and has been something I've been thinking about a lot lately -- how am I in service and to what?
Certainly, in my work, I am of service, being that my job is in the non-profit sector. I do very much appreciate that what I do every day contributes in some way to making the world a better place down the line. And since I began volunteering at WildCare in San Rafael, I am savoring that service every single week.
The rub comes when that work-service is not in service to my own self.
Last Friday, I busted my a** setting up an event for my job, violating my own boundaries by doing work that wasn't mine to do. I pushed myself for twelve straight hours, physically and mentally, didn't sit down, didn't have time to eat, was the last to leave. On Saturday, I was a wreck, so tired that all I wanted to do was cry, picked a fight with my beloved, felt nauseous, had no energy to do what I wanted.
Then I remembered.
In about hour 5 of the over-work day, while engaged in some menial task, I heard something land on the ground near my feet. I looked down and there was Hanuman, slipped free from his chain, sitting between my arches. I put him in my pocket and kept moving.
Hanuman's super-human feats are powered by love and devotion. He is never tired, no task is too great, because his love and devotion are bigger than anything else. Of course it helps that he has super-human powers! :)
Was I moving mountains out of love and devotion? Nope, I was head-down, doing what needed doing, in a furious race against time, blind to the notion of service. Had I paid attention, taken a moment to consider Hanuman as I picked him up off the floor, perhaps I could have re-oriented myself, saved myself from having to pick me up off the floor the next day.
Again I'm asking myself what am I in service to and how do I best serve? My best service is conscious, chosen, grounded in love and devotion. I didn't chose on Friday and the end-result is suffering. This is not what Hanuman is about. Service is joy-full. If I keep my eye on joy, then I can make a better choice next time around.