Author Archives: PatSullivan

Spiritual Tips for Stressful Days

Too many tasks, too little time. Stress that exhausts you so much you can’t sleep well or think well. Burnout.

Every work situation is filled with hard challenges like these– challenges that require much more than stress management or time management programs.

Fortunately, your spiritual self is a natural genius at stress release.

With practice, it can help you harness other resources like creativity and intuition to turn chaos into order, tension into relaxed focus. Continue reading

Workplace Altars

WORKPLACE OASIS drawing by Susan Szecsi

In 1976, I accidentally discovered that many workers keep spiritual items in their desks. While seeking correction fluid at one job, I found a book on Buddhism and a Bible.  At another desk, an inspiring quote fell from an expense file.  During hushed conversations, co-workers shared how they integrate spirit and work.

Today, many workers bring a variety of devotional items to work with such care that they create altars. Continue reading

Marketing and PR: How They Can Be a Spiritual Practice and Act of Faith

The spirituality at work movement promotes the belief that all work ought to be done with integrity and purpose.  How can that apply to marketing and public relations, when so many believe that marketing and PR are all about hype, manipulation, bragging and/or lies?

How easy it is to forget that each of us is endowed each of us with many talents and the drive to use these talents purposefully.  We are called to use our talents, not bury them. We are also called to share good news, not hide our light under a bushel.

Because marketing and PR are necessary so people can see the products and services we offer, it’s time to give marketing and PR the same kind of loving attention we give our crafts and our most cherished clients.  Or as our Hindu friends might say, do all work as it were being done for our beloved.

Continue reading

Need a Compelling Vision? Start with the Anti-Vision

hospital bed, shutterstock

Your creative, visionary self thrives on juicy details, but if you are like most people over the age of five, it’s practically impossible to specify a vision of what you want to create. Yet it’s easy to be very clear about what you don’t want.

My husband and I built on this principle when we named our fears before trying to write an advance health care directive so the best possible people know what we want and can speak for us when we can’t speak for ourselves. The creativity that emerged from detailing our fears led to a powerful support system that helps us thrive in sickness and in health.

What we learned can be applied to any dream or challenge, whatever your age. Continue reading

Lost Your Genius? If So, What Have You Lost?

Art by Andrea, see source below

Art by Andrea, see source below

You probably have lost access to much of the brilliance you had when you were a child. Numerous tests show that 90-98% of children register genius level abilities to think of many possibilities. Only 2% of adults are so smart.

I’ve not found statistics on the loss of access to curiosity, intuition, instincts, sensory awareness, awe, playfulness and other gifts so potent I call them elements of genius. But hundreds of interviews with adults have shown that even if we can’t remember enjoying these gifts or know how to use them now, we can see them in young children. Continue reading

Lost Your Genius?

Art by Andrea, see source below

Art by Andrea, see source below

You probably have lost access to much of the brilliance you had when you were a child. Numerous tests show that 90-98% of children register genius level abilities to think of many possibilities. Only 2% of adults are so smart.

I’ve not found statistics on the loss of access to curiosity, intuition, instincts, sensory awareness, awe, playfulness and other gifts so potent I call them elements of genius. But hundreds of interviews with adults have shown that even if we can’t remember enjoying these gifts or know how to use them now, we can see them in young children.

Why call childhood brilliance “elements of genius?”

Childhood brilliance certainly doesn’t fit current definitions of genius as super-IQ or stratospheric expression of talents.

Ancient definitions of genius and cutting edge wisdom give a better picture of our potential. My husband’s beloved Latin dictionary (1996 version) by John Traupman, Ph.D. defines genius as three things we could interpret today as 1) trustworthy guidance; 2) natural appetites and inclinations that came in our DNA, and 3) our talents.

Here’s how it works. Curiosity, our senses and other forms of natural brilliance constantly gather information which our internal guidance system uses to guide us to our best life and work. Talents are engaged and stretched in every stage of the process.

Genius Benefit 1 — Trustworthy Guidance

The ancients saw guidance as coming from a “guardian spirit,” the muse, or sometimes the genie. Today, we have a myriad of ways to be guided to live our best lives and do our best work.

Michael Meade says that everyone has innate genius, which is about “each person’s unique way of perceiving the world and unusual way of expressing themselves in it. There can be no end to the shapes and sizes of human genius. When it comes to personal genius, the point is not to compare oneself with others as much as to find the unique form and shape that genius takes in one’s own soul.”

43 years of working with human potential have shown me how many of us were trained out of our best ways to perceive the world and express ourselves, particularly after we went to school, our brain developed, and we learned how to compare ourselves and come up lacking.

Genius Benefit 2: Trustworthy Information from Multiple Sources.

The ancients’ second definition of genius was the “personification of natural appetites, natural inclinations.” This I see as the elements of genius or natural genius.

Buckminster Fuller wrote over 30 years ago that, “Children are interested in everything and are forever embarrassing their specialized parents by the wholeness of their interests. Children demonstrate right from the beginning that their genes are organized to help them to apprehend, comprehend, coordinate, and employ—in all directions. …

“Every child is born a genius, but is swiftly degeniused by unwitting humans and/or physically unfavorable environmental factors.”

Without the information that comes only from our best innate gifts, it’s practically impossible to envision and create adult life and work full of integrity, purpose and joy. That means it’s impossible to recognize or create trustworthy guidance.  No wonder so many of us get stuck in unimaginative, same-old, limited non-solutions to pressing problems!

Genius Benefit 3: Talents

One of the most beloved promoters of talents is Barbara Sher, author of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was and other best-sellers. She says, “What you love is what you’re gifted at. Your talent is coded into your genes … The only way to feel satisfied is to listen to your own nature; in other words, to do what you were born to do.”

Sher teaches that you can always ally with others who have talents you lack. She’s adamant that you don’t have to be already good at something to have a talent, though she is also very practical and realistic. She tells of a self-professed lousy singer whose dream was to sing opera. By daring to play with this dream, Sher’s client discovered her truer passion for turning friends and others on to her love of opera. That’s so doable!

The more I study the elements of genius, the more I see those also as talents. Say you have a talent for composing music which didn’t explode out of your DNA when you were very young. Instead, composing music comes from the interplay over time of talents for listening, imagination, self-expression and all the ways we discover, “I love and am fascinated by this” versus, “I am bored by that.” All the white the inner guide is inspiring, motivating and guiding you to follow your fascinations in spite of others’ negative comments.

Why You May Have Lost Your Genius

Everyone’s story is unique, but here are some common themes:

  • Others thought they knew best who you are and what you are called to do with your one precious life
  • It was too dangerous (or at least felt too dangerous) to listen to your inner voice and express yourself when you were young.
  • You got too wrapped up in the challenges and demands of growing up to protect and grow up your gifts.
  • The playground, school and other group settings were sources of competition and humiliation, so you withdrew or did your best to fit in, no matter the cost.
  • You were not taught to discover many ways to receive inspiration or focus a compelling vision to meet any problem.
  • You didn’t learn basic design or planning skills so you could bring your ideas into concrete form.

The result now: you block, distort or ignore inspiration and information that could be really useful. You get stuck in same-old supposed solutions. You don’t do your best thinking and you don’t get your best results.

Miss Your Lost Genius?

Fortunately, it’s surprisingly easy and delightful to bring back lost childhood brilliance. Future posts will offer many ideas.

Now, please explore the resources section of www.geniusagain.com, particularly the FAQS, tips on how to find visions for your life and work, and visioning lessons from the multi-talented Nobel Peace Prize winner Albert Schweitzer.

Comments and ideas are welcome. What’s now missing for you? How have you lost those gifts? How have you kept alive or reclaimed other gifts? What advice do you have for others?

 

About the art:  thanks to Andrea, on a Creative Commons license.

For a Breakthrough Vision, Get Naked

The number one place where visionary geniuses get their best ideas is in the bathroom.  Einstein said he had some of his best ideas while shaving, but for most of us, it’s the shower that does it.

Think of it:  there you are, divested of your usual social masks, so you’re not worrying so much about what others think.  You’re just focused on coming clean. Continue reading

If Congress Were the Visionaries We Need Them To Be

Without vision, we perish, or at least we get stuck with plans and agreements that impact everyone but serve no one.

Prime example:  the whole US Congress and our often spineless president, who have managed to lock us into a totally non-visionary plan aimed at avoiding default that in truth seems to make no-one but cable news pundits happy.  And for these pundits the only happiness lies in the fodder it gives them for more ongoing commentary.

Now I know the Congress isn’t totally to blame for this mess.  We’re all part of the culture that demands quick fixes and is addicted to fear, unfounded reporting, and blame.  We’re all at least partially the creators of an economy that puts our undiscerning trust into things like forever increasing housing prices and the big gambling casino masquerading as the stock market instead of finding a better way to discern what’s truly valuable. Continue reading

If Congress and our President Were the Visionaries We Need Them To Be

Without vision, we perish, or at least we get stuck with plans and agreements that negatively impact many but benefit only a few. That’s never been more true than it is in today’s political climate.

Rather than focus on all the things that are wrong and who’s to blame, let’s consider how we as an electorate inhibit our clarity about what matters and our visions of how to build a world that works for all of us. Today, it’s ever more critical that our vision of a great American is grounded in a vision of being one great nation among other great nations, equally called to heal our hurting planet and all who dwell upon it.  Continue reading