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Are You Working It?

January, 2019

Henry David Thoreau Quote at Walden Pond, Concord, MA.   Photo by Martha Clark Scala

Three Words That Promote Joy

One of the slogans you’ll often hear at the end of a 12-step meeting for those in Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Narcotics Anonymous or Gamblers Anonymous is “Keep Coming Back.” This is good advice for those struggling with any type of addiction.

These three words offer an important suggestion for anyone who feels like joy is elusive even if they are not suffering any addictions. Taken literally, Keep Coming Back invites the addict to return to more 12-step meetings because regular attendance promotes abstinence and the development of healthier habits.

Taken as a prescription for joy, this slogan reminds us to persist. It can be tough to stick with it, whatever that “it” may be, when you feel like giving up or if you have experienced failures or setbacks.

As citizens of the United States weather this painful government shutdown, let’s hope those who are working their tails off to bring an end to this deeply impactful impasse will Keep Coming Back.

I bow in gratitude to those federal workers who are not getting a paycheck but who Keep Coming Back to their jobs even when they have no idea how they will pay their rent, or their kids’ college tuition, etc.

Let’s hope, too, that those fighting to protect our planet and the environment Keep Coming Back.

I could continue! The wish list for global, communal, or personal issues requiring that we Keep Coming Back is huge. But there is more to this 12-step slogan. It might be the most important part.

A 12-step meeting often closes with attendees saying in unison: “Keep coming back. It works . . . if you work it!”

True change, be it a re-opening of the government, or changes in environmental policy, stringing together 30 days of sobriety (One Day at a Time), or slogging through debilitating grief, requires a heck of a lot of work. (Ringo Starr’s song title, “It Don’t Come Easy” comes to mind.)

Our job is to work it. Whether it’s a private battle or something much bigger, we can only ask ourselves if we are working it, to the best of our ability.

And if we’re not? Keep Coming Back. Joy awaits.

Comments on this blog post are welcome — see the bottom of this page.



Author Martha Clark Scala with her new memoir, Assembling a Life

Woo hoo!!!! I picked up Assembling a Life: Claiming the Artist in My Father (and Myself) from the printer in December.

Several people have asked me why they can't find it at Call me a maverick but in order to keep the price of a book filled with art and photos manageable, I am not selling it via Amazon at this time.

More details soon!


Prompts For Joy

Click here for a fun invitation to WORK from the one and only RuPaul.

Click here to see a nurse do some impressive WORK, even on her lunch break.

(Thanks for sending this my way, Peggy Landsman!)

Click here for all previous Prompts for Joy.


Pictured Above

Wise words from Henry David Thoreau. Walden Pond, Concord, MA:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately,

to front only the facts of life.

And see if I could not learn what it had to teach,

and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

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