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Glory in Slowing


Glory in Slowing
By Sandra Ford Walston

Valuing your spirit requires you to connect to your spiritual journey and recognize the element of time. Specifically, you will need to rethink your approach to time in the context of how you care for yourself and how you manifest your spirituality at work. While facing mental suffering, learning how to slow the mind and letting go of the ego’s inclination to force the issue create an invitation to shift perspectives. Moments of inactivity (almost boredom) help you recharge and determine if you are staying aligned with your true, courageous intention. This type of contemplative practice is very different from inertia. Inertia can keep you stuck in your “B-movie” script until you actually become the shallow, melodramatic character of a scripted role—the false Self.

For our culture, learning to go slowly is one of the greatest acts of courage; paradoxically, going slowly allows you to accomplish more. Open your heart, listen in silence and work from your center to gain psychological freedom from the ego’s false self and its accompanying desires, drives and distractions. Then ask yourself, “What one word best describes me?” This spiritual revival in the workplace goes beyond discovering your true essence. It is also about working in fulfillment. This is absolutely not about becoming “holy,” being “religious” or proselytizing at work. However, a spiritually centered person may have already learned how to avoid many of the hurdles encountered at work demonstrating high Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).

Knowing you are responsible for your actions you learn that conscious presence requires committing to some form of slowing down, some sort of contemplative practice that fosters internal development. Finding a meditation that fits your heart’s intention allows you to connect more deeply with yourself and, eventually, with others. Going back to your center (heart and spirit) teaches you to focus on the present rather than the past or the future. The benefits range from reducing the force of the ego to lowering stress and boosting the immune system.

Have you ever found yourself reading a passage repeatedly but still not understanding it? Or have you ever been unable to complete a prayer without the ego interrupting? Clearing the mind for deeper thought demands practice and discipline. My colleague Gwen Randall-Young wrote in her book Growing into Soul, “People can spend year after year practicing meditation and still not grow. Or, they can form the intention to see more deeply, and do so in an instant. It is more about letting go of attachments to old ways of seeing things than it is about learning something new.” These attachments represent our Achilles heel to growth. They impede self-knowledge while meditation spurs self-knowledge.

The Contemplative Outreach Center posts a prayer outside the entrance door of the chapel: “God’s first language is silence.” Meditation techniques promote spiritual awareness and boost the opportunity to awaken your courage. Techniques that have proven effective include prayer, yoga, therapy, discernment (an ancient Christian technique), psychosynthesis, transcendental meditation, meditation retreats, chakra balancing, trance dance, sweat lodge ceremonies, walking a labyrinth, process painting, Dzogchen, reflective reading, Deeksha healing, playing a musical instrument, writing, and many more. Spiritual devotion creates a rhythm that invites a deeper level of awareness. When you have a bit of free time, what do you commit to do that slows you down? If you were to start, what is it that you lack the courage to do?

The juggling acts that society tells us are necessary in today’s chaotic world can make it hard to find your courage signposts. Becoming very still allows you to listen to your inner voice so you can extricate your true Self from the false self. Meditation is a great step to slowing because, by the sheer practice, you bring to life your innate capacity for connecting your inner and outer work. After committing to meditation, women have shared: “When I come home from work I am less annoyed at my children,” “My boss doesn’t get to me as much,” or “I have more patience.”

One woman, Lisa Akers, started a company called “Be Still and Knit. “A former satellite engineer, [she] teaches not just the mechanics of knitting but also its meditative aspects, or what she calls ‘guilt-free peace … how to use knitting as a tool for finding inner peace. She teaches that knitting should be a nice chunk of quiet time in a woman’s day.” Knowing what meditative technique is right for you is a process that requires investigative action and then learning the practice. Embracing the glory in slowing allows you to observe more wholly how to advance your career.

Why declare intent to find a spiritual tool? If you really observe the world around you, you will see how many people are dominated by the mantra: “Time is money. Don’t waste time.” At this level of consciousness, people are overwhelmed trying to control their work and personal schedules. Trapped in the domination of the ego, they sulk and huff, “I’m so busy! I have too much to do and no time to do it!” To shift your perception about the use of time takes courage. If you are going too fast, you won’t notice obstacles until you run headlong into them.

Do you feel like your nose is always to the grindstone? Do you face sixty- to eighty-hour workweeks? Analyze what consumes your time. Oprah Winfrey says, “How you spend your time defines who you are. I try not to waste time—because I don’t want to waste myself.” Letting go of clutter, whether mental, emotional, financial or physical, allows space for happiness. Stopping is not just about throwing out the television, computer and Smart phone. It is about creating balance and recognizing that all your little choices have a big impact on the rest of your life! Ask yourself, “Are the activities I have planned today consistent with what is truly important to me?” Do they represent my inner voice?

About the Author

Sandra Ford Walston is The Courage Expert and innovator of StuckThinking™. She’s an organizational effectiveness/learning consultant, speaker, corporate trainer and courage coach specializing in understanding courage behaviors, courageous leadership and individual personality and leadership styles with a focus on tricks and traps of the human condition. The internationally published author of bestseller COURAGE (2001) and winner for the Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic, Sandra facilitates individuals and groups in discovering the power of everyday courage. Her follow-up book, STUCK: 12 Steps Up the Leadership Ladder (2010) is for all working women regardless of age or position who wish to learn how to employ courage actions at work. Her third book,FACE IT! 12 Obstacles that Hold You Back on the Job (2011) is not about how to get a job, but about learning to apply courage techniques to overcome work-related barriers to self-fulfillment.

Sandra is qualified to administer and interpret the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and is a certified Enneagram teacher. Sandra has been published in several periodicals such as Chief Learning Officer, Training & Development and Strategic Finance. She provides skill-based programs for public and private businesses, including Caterpillar, Inc., Nolte Engineering, Hensel Phelps, Auburn University, Procter & Gamble, Farmers Insurance, IBM, Wide Open West and Hitachi Consulting. Sandra instructs at the University of Denver Graduate Tax Program. She offers a free courage newsletter and posts a courage blog, and she can be reached at www.sandrawalston.com




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