•  Dawn King (text & illustrations)  •  It’s interesting to reflect on the judgmental biases that we each acquire from the environment in which we grow up. Today a long-forgotten memory came to mind while I was cleaning my bathroom. Many years ago when Sunburst first started, we had an office in Santa Barbara. It was on Cota Street. One of the functions of this office was to find employment for Sunburst Farm residents. 

Because everyone needed to chip in some money to help Sunburst Farm feed its residents and develop the property, each resident needed to pay “rent”. We had not developed our chain of natural foods stores yet; later working at a job there was considered as payment of rent, although no money was exchanged. 

At one point I was the volunteer who scoured local papers to find jobs for us. I sent myself on one of these because nobody else was available. This job was to spend a few hours cleaning someone’s home in an upscale neighborhood. I had grown up in an environment which saw cleaning someone else’s house as the lowest and worst job a woman could take. So I had to put that prejudice from my upbringing out of my mind. 

With an at-your-service attitude I rang the doorbell, and followed instructions for cleaning some hard to reach areas of the client’s beautiful home. I was happy that I could easily crawl behind the couch, and climb a ladder as needed. It was a successful job.

The homeowners seemed very happy with my work, and insisted I have some milk and cookies before I left. Very new to Sunburst at the time, I was 26 years old and weighed 95 pounds due to anorexia, which I suffered for a year or more before arriving. The generous homeowners most likely were concerned that I was malnourished, and after the work I appreciated their kindness.

Today, I’m very happy that I took this job and actually did it despite having grown up in an environment that said this kind of work was supposed to be “beneath my dignity.” The experience taught me many things. 

1. Honest work is never beneath one’s dignity. “Honest” means it is not stealing, lying, or involved in anything illegal.

2. We should honor and appreciate others who perform honest labor; so many menial and even “dirty” tasks are vital for the functioning of society. My humble husband never shied from dealing with the community septic system or any other task that would turn others off.

3. It’s worthwhile to reflect on and realize what prejudices we have been exposed to, and whether we’ve accepted them as part of our own belief system.

4. When we perform any honest task with a glad heart in true service to others, or an attitude of service to Spirit, no task is too far beneath us, and no task is too large or too hard. 

    Selfless service is always attended to and aided by unseen angel helpers. What a blessing! You can feel it!


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