Tag Archives: Spiritual practices

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

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

For Inspiration for Work and Life, Walk in the Woods

Because the power to be visionary is loaded in our DNA, it’s possible to have a compelling vision for life and work any time, anywhere.  But there’s no more natural visioning time than fall, when nature itself is gloriously transforming.  And there’s no better activity than walking in the woods to shut down mental chatter so we can hear more clearly what our intuition, imagination and other visionary potentials are saying.

Here’s my favorite autumn inspiration ritual, inspired by the Jewish New Year:

1.    Collect an apple, some dried fruit and a few nuts.   Go to woods you love, preferably some with a stream.

2.      As you walk, reflect about the past 12 months and what you are ready to release:  excess weight, perhaps, or pettiness, or habits that keep you too busy to enjoy life.

3.    Pick up a fallen leaf, preferably one with brilliant autumn colors.  Imagine releasing your “old stuff” into the leaf as easily as the leaf has let go its branch.  Then release the leaf into a stream and watch it float away.  (If there’s no stream, bury your leaf into a pile of other fallen leaves.)

4.    As you walk again, imagine everything around you has a message for you, like the multi-legged insect that once “told” my husband John that he needed to get out into the world more and wave his equivalent to the insect’s feelers in all directions.

5.    Savor the apple slowly, reflecting on the many delights of your world that are meant to nurture us, not hoarded or consumed thoughtlessly. Vow to create more savoring time over the next 12 months.

6.    Look at the nuts and raisins, symbols of the bounty of the world, the power of the human mind to discover things like how to preserve food, and the human habit of lovingly passing on wisdom through the ages.  Reflect on the gifts you have given through your life and work, and the gifts you have been given the past 12 months.

7.    Pick up a small rock. Invest it with the memory of how it feels to be here, slowed down and connected more to all that is.  Make it a touchstone to remember your deepest yearnings to live more fully, and do more of what you are called to do with your one precious life.

8.    As you walk back to your ordinary life, choose to see more clearly who you are and what you are called to do.  See how long you can keep alive the spirit of your walk.  When you forget, hold the touchstone and remember how simple it can be to reclaim your place in a wondrous universe.

John comments:  all this may be too much to do at one time, especially if you get really involved in one of the steps.  So do that one to your heart’s content, and save the other steps for another time.

What about you?  What are your favorite ways to be more connected to yourself and the world around you?  How can you adapt this ritually to better suit you?

As always, comments are welcome.  Many blessings, Pat McHenry Sullivan

Mother Theresa – A True and Authentic Sales Model

One of the hardest workplace spirituality issues is how to sell as a spiritual practice.  To overcome that challenge, I can’t over-recommend Carol Costello’s book, The Soul of Selling.  It’s the best guide I’ve ever seen for getting rid of emotional baggage and making selling an act of service.  Here, with Carol’s permission, is what she learned from her heroine, Mother Theresa.

Mother Theresa: The Seller Who Changed the World

by Carol Costello in The Soul of Selling (Benbella Books, page 183)

My personal inspiration for selling is Mother Theresa.  She had a vision based on authentic personal values, and overcame everything in the way of realizing that vision.  She discovered how to energize her resources and speak effectively to people about giving her money to help the poor.  She saw everyone she contacted as the Christ, and she kept going until she got the result.  That is compassion, combined with clarity and commitment, in service to others.  That is spiritual practice.

What if Mother Teresa had just sympathized with the poor of Calcutta?  What if she had felt very sad about them and talked about them with her friends over lattes, but rejected any real action because the scope of the problem was so large?  Or because going around asking people for money wasn’t “spiritual”?  Or because she didn’t want to rock the boat and question the system?  Or because she might be uncomfortable, embarrassed, or rejected?

Instead, Mother Teresa became a force of nature.  She sold her vision, raised a great deal of money, and made the world a better place because she was in it.  You can do those things, on as large a scale as you please.

How Are You Called To Sell What Matters To You?

This is Pat Sullivan again, the usual author of this blog. Even if we don’t have to sell a product or service in order to make a living, we’re always selling.  At the least, we have to sell ourselves on saying yes to exercise, no to un-nurturing food; yes to patience and thoughtfulness, no to the latest fear-mongering “news” or excess consumerism; yes to real pleasures that enrich our lives, no to cruelty or titillation that hurt others and take us away from who we really are.

There’s so much in Carol’s quote to ponder.  What could you envision to benefit yourself and others if you anchored into your most authentic self and listened to what your heart and soul are saying right now?  What courage would you find to move from just feeling sorry for the pain in the world to action that enriches you as well as others?

If selling is part of your paid work, what can you learn here about selling from your heart and soul?  Will it require you to say no to selling what is not true and moving on, even if it costs you a well-paying job now?  Will it require you to have more courage, if you are selling products of services with true value, so you can connect compassionately and respectfully with those who need just what you have to offer?

I’m very grateful to Carol for introducing me to the concept of selling as a spiritual practice. To me that means I can only sell that which I know to be anchored in integrity, serving a useful purpose, and offering joy or at least the alleviation of suffering.  And it means I can only sell in a way that is anchored in integrity, authentic, and purposeful.

What does it mean to you?  What tips do you have for people like me who are just learning to do this, and who want to sell with more integrity, purpose and the capacity for joy?

As always, many blessings to you, and your comments are most welcome.

Pat McHenry Sullivan

Inspiration for Work and Life from Olympians By Guest Blogger Kimberly Weichel

I’ve always loved to watch the Olympics, both winter and summer. Being the empathetic type, I feel the excitement, nervousness, and exhilaration they must feel as they perform, as well as the joy or sadness from winning or not winning.

The Olympics are about so much more than winning or the feelings that go into it. Continue reading

7 Workplace Spirituality Tips from An Undercover Boss

“There are two main ways that people find meaning through work,” Elizabeth Doty told me in about 2001 while I was researching Work with Meaning, Work with Joy: Bringing Your Spirit to Any Job.  “One is giving your gifts to the world through work that comes from some source in you, the kind of work that suits your talents and passions. There is also the process of finding meaning in any work by how you go about the practice of working. The latter idea excites me, because imagine how healthy our society would be if people did all work with a sense of meaning.  ….[but]  when people think they have to leave the corporate world to find meaning, the corporation becomes hollow.”

Since that interview, Elizabeth has written The Compromise Trap: How to Thrive at Work Without Selling Your Soul. The spirituality and work movements have grown along with a movement towards socially responsible business or conscious capitalism.  Still, simple, compelling pictures of what it’s like to do ordinary work with meaning and joy are still fairly rare.  That’s why I’m excited by the new TV show, “Undercover Boss,: which puts CEO’s into entry level jobs throughout their company, with a fake identity and a real quest to see what’s really happening. Continue reading

Being in the Flow By Guest Blogger Kimberly Weichel

Flow is what happens when we are fully involved in what we are doing.  We derive energy from this experience.  Our creativity heightens, and we feel a sense of fulfillment.

Flow is the opposite of what happens when get stuck in problems that beget more problems. For me, the opposite of flow is like a downward spiral that can worsen when I respond to problems by getting in a bad mood.  This irritates my family or colleagues, which makes me feel worse. My tension and irritability inhibits my ability to solve the original problems, because I can’t think clearly and make good decisions.  When I relax and get back into the flow, however, I am actually more productive! Continue reading

Taming our Inner Critic By Guest Blogger Kimberly Weichel

According to our inner critics, we are not good enough, not smart enough, not accomplished enough, too old, too fat, etc. Sound familiar? I bet we could each add to this list.

Amazing how that inner critic can get in the way at work.

How often have we not spoken up at a meeting because we were afraid our idea or suggestion wasn’t worth it? How often have we delayed turning in a report because we were concerned it wasn’t good enough? Or how often have we not applied for a higher position in our organization or company because we didn’t think we were smart enough or experienced enough?  Continue reading

Praying the News

How can reading or hearing the news be as much a part of your spiritual practice as studying sacred scriptures or everyday prayer?  How can the news help you clarify your particular service work when the needs and opportunities are so great?

Praying the News Begins by Being Fully Present To It

“Reality shows” can be watched as entertainment.  Genuine news demands that we be fully present to what is and allow it to affect us, even when there’s nothing we can do about it. That means honoring life as a mystery, not as a problem to be solved, but as a paradox where we are called to go deep into the heart of compassion without agenda or attachment to outcome. Continue reading

Seeking Common Ground at Work By Guest Blogger Kimberly Weichel

It’s amazing how little things can really fester, whether at work or at home. Someone speaks to us in a less than respectful tone and we jump to conclusion that they are a ‘mean’ person, or they interrupt us and we consider them rude, or they come into our office to ask for something and we think they are pushy or intrusive. Sound familiar? Continue reading