There once was a village that was experiencing a horrible drought. In desperation the villagers sent for a holy woman in hopes that she could break the drought. When she arrived, she went into the small house that the villagers had provided and closed the door behind her. The holy woman sat in the house and began to meditate, while the villagers paced back and forth outside the house impatiently waiting for her to come out and deal with the drought. After two days of this, the sky clouded up and a gentle but steady rain fell from the sky. When the holy woman emerged from the house the villagers asked how she had made this miracle happen. She looked at them and smiled. “When I arrived,” she said, “I realized that this place was out of harmony, and that I too was out of harmony. I went into the house and meditated for two days, until I was back in harmony. When I was in harmony, the place moved back into harmony. When the place was in harmony, the rains came.”
Much like the village, our work places are often out of harmony, making it challenging to stay connected to our deeper meaning and purpose. It is easy to lose our focus in the overpowering onslaught of daily tasks and deadlines. We can, however, remember our sense of self and live life as an expression of who we wish to be. We can make our lives a canvas as we become artists full of creative possibility and passion.
The holy woman understood that we can align with the place and people around us, or pull the place into alignment with our own connection to Spirit. This is such a subtle process that most of us do not realize we are moving away from our sense of spirit and aligning with the surrounding emptiness until our inner sense of barrenness becomes overwhelming. We can however, stay embrace our spiritual connection and bring to the out-of-harmony hallways in our corporate and public worlds.
How did our worlds become so void of spirit and soul? It would be easy to blame the tight budgets, increasing customer needs and shifting policy or political demands. Perhaps it is not the situations we are dealing with, but our own exhaustion and resignation that pulls us out of harmony and into a spiritual drought. We are too tired and defeated by decisions made in isolation and without compassion. We are beaten down by the lack of trust and mutual respect that we experience. It is difficult to stay centered in a time- and task-driven world where guidelines become rules and rules become theology.
A sense of calling is lost in the face of a frantic obsession with tasks and goals. We live in a world that defines even holy days in terms of shopping, buying, wrapping, addressing, mailing, opening, eating, and then collapsing. Remembering and embracing our own passionate engagement and wondrous curiosity is one way to break the pattern of losing our individual self in the process of serving the needs of the many.
So, if we are not the empty echo of tasks and chores and titles, then who are we? The answer is found as we remember our true spiritual self by slowing down and making choices from our strengths, not our fears. We become more fully ourselves when we accept that paradox and contradictions are part of life and acknowledge that we never had control over this creative chaos. We find our best self in a holistic world of creative options. We become shamans, walking with a foot in both worlds, bringing spirit into the empty places around us when we remember our power. We can ask ourselves what we would do if we were like the holy woman, aware of our ability and need to stay in harmony and alignment with spirit.
Dr. Elisa Robyn, a modern-day Renaissance educator and leader, is the author of The Way of the Well, a spiritual romance, and Pirate Wisdom, lessons in leadership. Her eclectic career positions include geologist, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Futurist, and Innovative Mojo Coach. Currently, Elisa is an executive director at Regis University. She holds a Masters degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her most current writings can be found at: http://inspiringarenaissanceaofaspirit.blogspot.com/