Beginning any journey whether it be spiritual, business or family oriented, begins by simultaneously building and stepping onto the path. Laying down the materials can be done in any number of ways; if you’ve researched business training programs you know what I’m talking about. A paraphrase I found from the Chinese philosopher, Lau Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC) said:
“Even the longest journey must begin where you stand.”
We find what we need when following the impulse to begin. It doesn’t matter where you start or in what direction you go; beginning is the most challenging & courageous aspect of the journey.
I’ve chosen to adventure with you on this journey of spirituality in business using the ABC’s. My intention is that through the simplicity of the alphabet combined with the elegance of these concepts that I consider essential within a spiritual practice, you will be inspired and will accompany me from the beginning “A” to the end “Z” of this fascinating Spiritual journey.
A is for Acknowledgements, Avoidance, Anxiety, Awareness, Actualization and Acceptance.
- A is for Anxiety: Anxiety is the most challenging “A” word. What is labeled most often as anxiety, a sensation in your body that can get very uncomfortable, is one of the primal responses to life as a human being. It keeps you safe; it keeps you from doing things you shouldn’t; it keeps you in the fold of what others expect of you. That anxious feeling arises when you think beyond the current moment to include what may seem to be beyond your comfort zone. Anxiety can be a control freak in your life. It can become the master that you serve. No one likes to feel the qualities of being anxious and so you do whatever it takes to make them go away. The dilemma is that your desired results generally lie on the other side of these sensations.
- A is for Avoidance: Avoidance of Restlessness, Irritability and Discontent (RID). Underlying the majority of our survival strategies – our addictions and habitual ways of being – is the commitment to avoid the sensations of anxiety, also experienced as restlessness, irritability and discontent (RID). Distinguishing how we be and what we do – the choices-and the processes we’ve developed to avoid what we don’t want to be, do or know, is a huge practice. Yes, there is a great deal that we don’t want to know or to think about, much less feel or sense in our bodies. However, the choice to avoid the discomfort of RID will create significant obstacles blocking each of us from having what we say we want.
- A is for Acknowledgment: By reading this blog you are cultivating awareness (another important A word) regarding some foundational practices of spirituality in business. As you begin to explore and discover underlying sensations and strategies developed to avoid these qualities of being, it’s imperative to begin the practice of acknowledging yourself and these processes. In doing so you are becoming self-realized, and by doing so you are more at choice about how to actualize yourself; that means intentionally choosing to choose what you choose in service to your essential self, your essential truth and that which you want to manifest in the world.
Acknowledging yourself is one piece of this practice. The other is to acknowledge others for choices they make or ways of being that make a difference to you. In the modern work environment too often people are treated only as a resource; their work is void of the humanity, which is the essence of being in all of us. Lack of acknowledgment of our human being-ness creates significant challenges within every aspect of the business world. These issues occur within all of our environments – not just at work, however, because we spend so much of our time at work, lack of acknowledgments here create depression, resistance, low morale, resentment, and apathy, to name just a few. The practice of acknowledging people lets them know that they are seen and valued for everything they bring to the workplace. Everyone is nourished through acknowledgments – including the person giving the acknowledgment.
You might think this is a no-brainer, but notice how often you really acknowledge people for who they are being and how they are being. Notice too, all the times you hold back from acknowledging people. Notice what shows up inside you as you consider whether you’ll say something that lets someone know they are being truly seen. Watch your resistance to saying something nice and ask yourself what creates that resistance, then do it anyway – just as a practice.
It’s easy to love the loveable and it’s easy to say nice things to people you like. Cultivating a spiritual perspective means practicing kindness to those who may rub you the wrong way. What stops you from acknowledging them? What are you wanting to avoid by avoiding an act of kindness?
This is not an easy path, nor is it a comfortable path, for it is wrought with uneasiness, tenderness, agony, grief, anger, anxiety and fear. It’s all about you and only you, as you begin to explore how you be you.
Self-empowerment means becoming self-determined. We face emotions, thoughts, feelings and sensations that at some point we empowered to be bigger than us. Through cultivating awareness we begin to take control and exercise muscles that will support us in limiting the interference of these thoughts, feelings and sensations. We gain the sense of power from the inside out because we are aligning with our own wisdom, which allows us to live on purpose and face our fears more effortlessly.
- A is for Acceptance: The serenity prayer goes like this: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
What are you accepting as impossible that you actually have the capacity to make possible? Where are you wanting to avoid the whole conversation of what’s acceptable and what isn’t in service to avoiding the anxiety and all that it leads to? To truly bring spirituality into business we have to be committed enough to ask ourselves these challenging questions – accepting that this is foundational to our personal, professional and our spiritual practice. Enjoy the journey!
Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM
—This article is contributed by Dr. Rosie Kuhn, founder of the Paradigm Shifts Coaching Group, author of Self-Empowerment 101, and creator and facilitator of the Transformational Coaching Training Program. She is a life and business coach to individuals, corporations and executives.