Can we fall in love with the details of our work?* As a way of helping ourselves become more detail-conscious?
I prefer “detail-conscious” to “detail-oriented.” I’m hyper-that-way (whichever way you say it), but it’s not the details I’m oriented to, it’s what they represent.
Love is in the details.** Love of craft. Love of self. Love of other. Love of work in service to others.
I think people can get to feeling like details are unspiritual. (A bit like money, sometimes.)
Yet for these people, details may be consuming their lives! The unspiritual thing becomes something they keep at bay, with a sense of dread.
There’s a better way.
We can become detail-conscious, and choose which details to attend to deeply, so that attending to details becomes a spiritual practice. So that we fall in love with the details.
It’s easy to fall in love with our lover’s details. Check out that photo (accompanying this post): can you miss those details?
What about the details of your checkbook? Maybe not so loverly.
What about people who make you uncomfortable? That’s a good test. Try this.
Let’s start with something easier. What about yourself? Do you know yourself well enough? Most don’t. It’s worth noticing your naturally most productive times, word-deed connection, dietary preferences, and what you like to talk about. It helps you drive yourself less crazy and be more fruitful if you honor your own details. It helps you, in fact, fall in love with yourself.
Details are one way I show love. When I invite a soul-colleague to meet–always in my kitchen–I try to remember what they take in their tea. (Tea goes without saying. I love tea.) I set a place just for them, with their own cloth napkin and placemat. They may not care. I know these details = Love.
I can never remember people’s cars or animals. I can not tell if someone has lost 20 or 30 pounds or gained them. I do not remember people’s ailments. But I do remember how they were doing last time we talked about their details and I ask about them. And then I be quiet and listen. Attention we know = Love. I’m just saying attention to detail also = Love.
As a fundraiser, details are the art of the work. The event or the campaign may look like a science but details–for example, timing, context, and above all attention to relationships– make the science work like it’s supposed to but never does without the details.
It’s also a lot like being a mother, come to think of it. Now there is a transferable skill to fundraising, to organizing, to love-in-the-details. Even to your checkbook. Definitely to people who make you uncomfortable! What else? What are the details of your relationship to details? Can you learn to love them? You don’t have to make them meaningful. You just have to remember what they mean in the first place. And if it’s really that they mean nothing, forget them–and question what you are doing even being around something that means nothing to you. That’s being detail-conscious.
*This post is dedicated to our soul-colleague A., with love for the details I know about her.
**I thought I made up the title of this post! I’d only ever heard, “the Devil’s in the details.” But apparently it was originally “God is in the detail.”