On Why We Are All Sisyphus
In The Lost Art of Gratitude, Alexander McCall Smith’s latest novel in the eternally enjoyable Isabel Dalhousie series, Isabel and Jamie discuss the theory that we are all Sisyphus, in our own way.
You remember Sisyphus- the mythical king who was punished for all eternity by having to roll a boulder up a hill only to watch it roll right back down again. Isabel argued that we are all Sisyphus to some extent. We clean the kitchen at night only to find it dirty after breakfast the next day- we file away papers at work, only to have the stack grow again a few hours later...
I found this discussion to be particularly interesting. Probably because, when I studied Latin in high school, I felt extremely sorry for poor old Sisyphus. But then I got to thinking and realized that McCall Smith’s Isabel is actually right. We are all Sisyphus in our own way. My own Sisyphean plight involves such things as emptying the dishwasher, doing the laundry, filing in the office…. These rather mundane tasks always seem to be completed and then lo and behold, all too quickly after completion, need to be tackled again.
I do, however, believe the key is (and I hope poor Sisyphus was able to come to this conclusion himself) to enjoy the journey and appreciate the cyclical nature of the task at hand. If I could somehow appreciate the unloading of the dishwasher (make it a meditation perhaps?), enjoy sorting through the laundry (meditation again?) and relish the act of filing, then perhaps the cyclical nature of these tasks would not be as daunting.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
I would love to know… how are you like Sisyphus?
The Lost Art of Gratitude can be purchased at www.amazon.com