Most of you are probably asking who is Sisyphus and why should we care about freeing him? Well for those of you who weren’t lit majors, or didn’t in any way have to delve too deeply into Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a crafty and devious king who involved himself in all sorts of mythological misdeeds. He was known for his promotion of commerce and navigation and his deceit. When the gods eventually got sick of his manipulation and trickery and overstepping his bounds – see he thought he was a god – they decided to punish him in the most maddening way: Sisyphus was doomed to forever roll a very heavy boulder up a steep hill and just as he was about to reach the top, the boulder would roll down again. And Sisyphus interminably would have to begin this arduous task anew…..Good times.
Why should we care about Sisyphus? I mean he did all sorts of nasty things for selfish gain and to get ahead. He even believed he was as good as the gods and could outsmart them. He was one prideful jerk…..
I think about Sisyphus a lot….especially as I’m sitting on 494 in Minneapolis during my morning commute, going 5 miles an hour (if I’m lucky). Why am I making this drive again to the place where I work to use sheer force and will to accomplish exhausting tasks that supposedly drive our economic machine? I know I primarily make that drive so I can get that paycheck to pay down those education loans I took because someone told me going to a top-rate school was worth signing my labor away for the rest of my life. No excuses here - I signed those documents under no duress and signed up for the American dream that if you work hard enough you can reach middle class (at least), pay for stuff and have stuff, etc. etc.
As much as a prideful little jerk Sisyphus was (and I was/am), I have to pity him, and I have decided to make it my mission to free him – or in other words – free ME. Does that mean that I won’t be sitting in 494 tomorrow in rush-hour traffic? Ummm, no. Sallie Mae ain’t going nowhere unless by God’s grace an electronic pulse erased all of those loan records.
Miracles can happen, but until then, I’m going to use this space to talk about the baby steps I’m going to take each day to free Sisyphus. I mean first and foremost I think I have to start with his acceptance of his punishment. He was a crafty fellow once – there must be a way out of this. And, I believe it has to do with being whole….to living a purpose driven life while taking care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally (yes, I think emotional health is different than mental health).
To give an answer to the question of my sister’s post yesterday about the definition of insanity….well, I always like to go with Einstein on this one: repeating the same behavior and expecting a different result. So, although I will drag my sleepy self to the car to take that same drive again tomorrow, I wrote this post today, and by doing so I will have taken a step to pointing my compass to wholeness. Small steps effect radical change, and through these blogs my sister and I hope to explore with you ways we can take those small steps to free Sisyphus and ourselves - to make ourselves whole, to make a difference and to let go of whatever manacles are holding us back, driving us to climb that hill again and again for no discernable or fulfilling reason.
Ready to rally the forces and launch a rescue mission?
Freeing Sisyphus (aka Melody)
Putting the shoulder to the boulder and taking small steps each day to achieve freedom from the mundane.