When I post quotes like this one from Michael Beckwith, “You are a singular manifestation of a cosmic unfolding and within you there is unrivaled individuality,” on LinkedIn, I have gotten DMs asking me why I post such “woo woo” things on this platform. After all this is a business site not a spirituality site. Others have cringed when I have used the phrase, “I feel” or “I sense” as a preface to a business conversation because it is not scientific enough.
You see, I believe that I am a spiritual being on a human journey not the other way around and I bring that to work with me. It is who I am.
I think that quote by Michael Beckwith is perfect for me to post on LinkedIn as an HR leader, we are a department that should treasure the unique talents of each staff member. Honoring their “unrivaled individuality” is what creates the kind of workplace that people can bring their authentic selves to. It is a culture we all desire – to be included just as we are.
So how does my “woo woo” spiritual side enhance my work life? In so many ways! I would like to share a few of them with you because my “work-self” and my “spiritual-self” are the same person!
- I am one who believes that meditation is good for me and good for business. It used to be that those who meditated were classified as gurus or hippies but in the last 10 years, the science behind meditation has become mainstream. We know that it can help us get better sleep, manage stress, reduce blood pressure, increase attention span, increase self-awareness, and improve emotional health. These benefits make for healthier and happier employees and better work cultures. It has changed my life since I started practicing about five years ago.
- Another modality that I practice is breathwork. Our breath brings “prana” which means, “life force” to our being. Think about when you are really amped up (anxious or fearful), notice that breath. It is quick and shallow. Your brain and body are not getting the life-giving prana they need. Bad decisions can ensue because we are in “flight or fight” mode. The most powerful thing we can do is learn to notice and regulate our breath. When we do we can then regulate emotions. When I practice breathwork it helps to calm my stress and bring balance to my body (tension) and emotions. How is this helpful at work? I have learned that the pause at the top and bottom of each breath is also a reminder to pause in my speech. If I am having a work conversation that is causing me internal stress, I elongate my breathing. I extend the inhales, I pause, and I extend the exhales, and pause. This down-regulates my central nervous system and takes me out of “fight or flight” and into “rest and digest.” Then I can approach the situation with clarity. Nobody else even knows I am doing this breath. It slows me down and in this fast paced world that seems like a negative but when it comes to work relationships, it is not.
- Another spiritual modality I practice is the art of being present. The pace of this world seems to always be pulling us to the next zoom meeting or to the next calendar month. This can leave us feeling like we need to rush through the current moment. If we are rushing through it, we are not really there experiencing it. I am sure you have felt this in your interactions with others. After a meeting you might feel more like a “check list” item than a co-worker. When I am truly present, I listen better. I respond with deeper empathy. I solve problems faster. You probably also know the feeling when you know you have someone’s full attention. In this world it is noticeable and we should give people this gift. Heck, give yourself the gift of being present. This is where life happens … not next week or where ever we are rushing to!
- Lastly, one of the most helpful business skills I have comes from my first three spiritual practices. It is my intuition. In a world that celebrates the “doing” it is not always popular to talk about “feeling” or “sensing” but if we are honest we probably rely on this “gut instinct” more than we admit. And, haven’t we all kicked ourselves for not listening to our intuition? Feeling and sensing is a part of being human and they are also important leadership skills that can be cultivated through mediation, breathwork, and being present. When I practice these spiritual modalities I become more centered in my true self and when I am living from there, my intuition is honed more sharply.
Okay, so, maybe I am a little “woo woo” but I am okay with that label, I guess. We have been living a collective trauma (a.k.a. COVID19) for 2+ years, and my spiritual modalities have helped keep me sane, along with my dog, my treadmill, and yoga. I wanted to share the modalities with you because this pandemic is still on-going and they may be helpful. They just also happen to be good for business.