Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Authenticity in Business, Work and Life

Listen Instead:

Authenticity or genuineness has been a long time favorite topic of mine, and in the past few years I've had a particularly interesting journey around this theme as it specifically expresses in work and business. It all began with a curiousity on how to improve my business and a 2 year self guided immersion into spiritual business webinars and marketing tips. Although I did gather some useful information, I found myself feeling a bit 'off ' as I applied some of the advice.  As I navigated this experience, I wondered if I felt off  because I was stretching into new healthy dimensions or was it because I wasn't being true to who I am.

Those of you who have been with me for awhile likely bore witness to some of this process. You may have noticed my approach changing slightly, alterations in my pricing (more than once), new programs being birthed, and shifts in my service listings. You may have noticed things come and go, such as the Energy Gift Spirit Circle, and the Weekly Guided Message. Thank you so much for bearing with me during this time of feeling my way into what truly feels right for me and authentic within the context of my work, offerings and relationship with you. And truth is, I'm always learning, growing and digging deeper into myself, so change will always be a part of my life and work. And this means sometimes I'll give something a try that ends up being fabulous and other times something might turn out to be not so fabulous or just not the best use of my energy and gifts.

During my 'marketing makeover', some of my inner talk looked something like this: "I need to be more exciting and dynamic when I talk!", "I'm too shy, too quiet.", "I need to use language that addresses a larger audience.", "I'm not doing enough; I need to send out newsletters once a week.", "I need to advertise my services and products using the language formula modeled by the marketing gurus."  Well, after some time in this business immersion, I came to realize that a lot of it just didn't feel like 'me', and that aligning everything I do with 'me' (or Spirit through me) is really important.  This realization came from both an inward felt experience and an outward observation of how turned off I was by much of the current cookie cutter strategies, presentational styles and prescriptions for success.  I personally found that they left me feeling disconnected and missing the real authentic unique person (both as the receiver of or creator of such marketing). John O'Donohue in Anam Cara speaks of the modern age of "neon spirituality", and that's how this sort of business approach was feeling to me, very 'neon' and I began to really miss and long for the beauty of subtlety, mystery, quietness and depth. 

As I sit here now, I am grateful for this journey.  Yes, I did gather some helpful ideas and skills. I did stretch myself in healthy ways. But I also began to reject parts of myself  that I am now wholeheartedly warmly welcoming back. All is always in flow; being genuine, being the fullness of who we really are and who we want to be, is a perpetual spiritual practice that often takes exploring the edges to find our way.  And discovering that within the context of making a living, whether we are working for ourselves or for someone else, is a worthwhile endeavor.

Nurturing authenticity & genuiness:

Nothing is quite as yummy to me as the energy of deep conscious authenticity. It is, I think, maybe the essence of connection to our purest, most real self. In that space, we have the possibility of quite a beautiful sort of connection not only with our self but with all that is around us, including each other.
Deep conscious authenticity requires that we welcome all our parts, all energies of who we are to be present. So I suggest we make space for parts of ourselves that we might have a tendency to reject- our shyness, our quietness, our uncertainty, our passion, truth, unknowing, insecurities, wounds and shadow parts. When we don't make space for them, they actually turn outward into our energy and our lives. Robert Ohotto put it this way in a recent podcast, "If you want to heal, you have to look at the parts of yourself you are rejecting, be willing to include them, and then let go of whatever patterns were managing the way you were rejecting those parts of yourself." (ohotto.com)  'Including them' means not rejecting those parts as 'bad', but compassionately observing them and working to understand what is needed. When we pair this with centeredness, a subtle yet profound energetic experience is unveiled that I feel carries a strengthened and deepened quality of presence.  

Consider gazing deeply within yourself and nurturing the sacred ground that is alive within you first and foremost. From there, all else comes forth, including the most beautiful authentic way to present your business, to teach, to conduct a healing session or sell your product. Till the soil of yourself, your inner sacred ground.

In an interview I recently came across, Daniel Villasenor, founder of MogaDao Yoga, says, "...what makes the life meaningful is the sacrifice that does happen behind closed doors, and the part in front of everyone, the part that is the yang part, is beautiful....but the main part is the part that is between you and your god or gods...and that is the hardest part....the 'grinta' of the sacred journey...the real work of what it is to be a spiritual person, which is always about a certain kind of confrontation, a certain kind of deep honesty." Daniel speaks of a return to the roots of spiritual practice, the deep sacred traditions, which is devoid in much of current modern ideals of instant gratification, quick results, and emphasis on the external. [Daniel Villasenor, mogadaoyoga.com ]

Along the same lines, I share with you this excerpt from the writings of Meister Eckhart, "People should not worry so much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant.....for it is not our works which sanctify us, but we who sanctify our works....it is we, in so far as we are holy and possess fulness of being, who sanctify all our works....[we should] worry not so much about what we do or the character of our actions, but we should be concerned rather about their ground." (Selected Writings, pg.7)