Is there room for spirituality in the workplace? Do you cringe when you see or hear the word ‘Spiritual’? Do you immediately dismiss the person, or thing, it relates to? Did you nearly not even start to read this blog?
If you do, I get it, and this blog is for you.
(If you don’t, if you’re one of us, a spiritual person in a practical world, there’s an article coming for you next week, ‘Practically Spiritual – Business Head/Spiritual Heart’.)
For those of you who scoff, and think there is no room for it in the workplace, let me put something straight. Just because I do barefoot yoga on the lawn, have a collection of over 100 crystals, use sound as a healing modality, take any opportunity to connect with the earth, from breathing the scent of a rose to good-old-fashioned tree-hugging, and believe that we have higher-self vibrational energy at our disposal to connect to if we choose …
Just because I do, and believe, all that stuff, and more … does not mean I’m some airy-fairy, light-headed, wishy-washy, woo-woo woman with a head full of clouds, unicorns, and fairy dust.
Think that because I’m spiritual I don’t have value to offer, or ‘get’ business, that I’m not practical, that I’ll avoid the tough stuff… think again, or be prepared to be seriously disappointed.
Quite frankly, I can be honest to the point of blunt. I can be impatient (I’m working on this) I swear (possibly a bit much – I am also an actor remember!) I eat meat. Yup, give me steak and make it bloody. I’m a rock chick with AC/DC and Metallica concerts a-plenty under my belt, and until Murdoch made us pay to watch live I was also a massive F1 fan, I still love it – but if you can’t watch live, it’s not the same, and I try to not give him money.
I’ve worked in investment banks, hedge funds and the oil and gas world, not to mention being an actress for 20 years, putting up with all the b*$$*#s that brings!
Being ‘spiritual’, does not equal, not spirited!
And I’m not the only one. There are lots of us out there.
And it’s not just women.
If you scowl at spiritual, I get it; you don’t want someone wafting a sage stick around the boardroom before a meeting, or blessing your potential clients as they walk through reception. Mind you, if you dilute that, what’s wrong with someone creating a positive energy in a room before a big meeting, or doing everything you do with an intention of positive outcome, and what is the offer of tea or coffee to guests if not a welcome ritual?
There are still a few preachy, super-woo-woo, holier-than-thou, type ‘spiritual’ people speaking in floaty voices, sharing ‘love and light’, often in a “poor-me” passive-aggressive way, being very ‘worthy’, whilst looking down on you, out there. This is possibly your image of spiritual people. But if you take a closer look around, you’ll see this is becoming more and more outdated. That stereotypical hippy image and energy was of the 60’s and 70’s, and grew to counteract the stifled post-Victorian post-war violence and strictness.
Most spiritual people I know today are also supremely practical, and work in places as far ranging as, yes the local holistic centre, but also barristers, international bankers, IT directors, to those running successful, international, companies where their high values and people-centred focus, create great work spaces.
Being ‘spiritual’ takes many different forms. Although all religions are, obviously, inherently spiritual, requiring a belief in ‘other’; when we think ‘spiritual’ we tend not to think in terms of religion. Many of us, me included, will say ‘I’m spiritual, not religious’, for me this is because the scripture of most religions is centred in good ideas, the structure of them however, has been created, or manipulated, to restrict. Is it this lack of connection to formal structure which makes spiritual seem ‘woo’ – a little ‘woolly’ for some? Perhaps. With specific religions, you know roughly what you’re getting, with ‘I’m spiritual’ you don’t know whether that person just likes to meditate twice a day, or if you’re going to be dragged in to a dark room, covered with Palo Santo essential oil, be asked to drink ayahuasca, and reveal your soul while dancing around the room naked! (I don’t think this combination exists … my flippancy just made it up!)
It tends to be the less formal, more esoteric, elements that fall foul of misunderstanding and create the ‘uncertain’ energy around bringing spirituality in to every day life. Things such as shamanism, angels (although Catholicism puts much stock here too), crystal healing, oracle cards, dowsing, chakra, earth and vibration energy – etc. If you tend to dismiss ‘spiritual’ people or ideas, is it them, or that which you don’t understand that you are against?
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
(Hamlet – ghost scene. Image from Scott Sharplin)
There are many massive businesses out there with spirituality at their core. There are more and more businesses incorporating wider wellness practices, offering massage, reiki, yoga, and meditation to staff. There are also many more ‘practical spirituals’ working in all areas of life. I’m not sure if that’s a phrase, or if I’ve just coined one, but your head of international compliance is just as likely to have a Buddha and collection of crystals as your receptionist. (And yes I was shocked by my own prejudice when said person asked about the work I was doing with sound and I didn’t expect him to understand because he worked in international banking.)
If you’re prone to dismissing someone, or something, because it’s a bit ‘woo’ … what other elements or aspects of that person, or event for example, might you be missing out on, that you’d really like, or could be useful?
In other words, like Hamlet says to Horatio, it’s always good to be open to the possibility that the world is bigger than you see it.
Being spiritual doesn’t necessarily equate to weak-willed, or weird (although, I confess, I’ve come across freaky, and sometimes the deep-level sound healing stuff I do can get a tad weird!) The point is, that all people have many sides to them and if you dismiss someone because they’re open about believing in crystal energy, for example, what might you miss in them?
If you don’t see yourself as spiritual in any way, that’s cool by me and I’m not trying to convert you. But I ask, what are you not seeing or feeling that might be there for you to make best use of, either in yourself, or in other people?
To me, your ‘spirit’ is that essential part of you that makes you – YOU. Whether that’s your innate goodness, your passionate drive, your creativity, or quiet ease. Being ‘spiritual’ is doing whatever you do to connect to the pure version of that essence, the energy which is untainted by the crap we pick up as humans living this emotional, challenge-filled, life. It is being open to the energy of everyone’s pure essence, the combined energy of all things, which is bigger, more than, us, possibly the ‘best version’ of the collective us, that which some call ‘God’.
Is there room for people in the workplace who are looking for ways to connect with the best version of themselves and what they are doing? Yes. Therefore, does it matter how they do it? If James in IT has a collection of malachite, tigers eye, rose quartz, green fluorite and amethyst on his desk to help counteract the electromagnetic energy of the computers and the daily negativity he gets thrown at him from angry people whose computers aren’t working – does it stop him doing a good job? No. Do you need to think it works? No. Does it affect you? No. If it makes him feel better at work, does it help? Yes.
It might be time to open your mind, Horatio, and accept that there’s more to this world than any of us know, and that some of it might be helpful.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.
In love and light …hehehe…
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