Soul Nudges #14 Soulful Work

Many people who are secretly weary of work have never given themselves time, or taken time out or away from work, to allow their spirits to catch up!

– John O’Donohue

This is so true on many different levels, isn’t it? Taking TIME to allow your spirit (or being) to catch up is often quite difficult.

What is it that we need in this day and age to make sure that we stay connected to the deeper part of work? And is it even realistic?

I refer to work not only as paid job or occupation – I refer to any part of “your life’s work”-  being a manager, parent, friend, partner or leader. Is work something that you just do or is it part of who you are? Is it possible that work can be more than what you do, but also how you do it?

John O’Donohue, Irish Poet and Scholar, writes beautifully about work in his book, “Anam Cara”.

“Work could be an arena of possibility and expression and our nature longs for it”, he writes. 

“The soulful approach to the workplace ensures that creativity and spontaneity become energising forces. Remember when you sell your soul, you ultimately buy a life of misery!”

The workplace as a soulful place of creativity and spontaneity? Is this too good to be true or even possible?

It must be possible to find some simple spontaneity or creativity through work to allow your spirit to catch up. It might not be possible to change everything today, but maybe you can change the way you look at things, and look at work with a creative and kind eye as a small step?

If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!

RESPONSE?

Find one mundane aspect of your work today to do as if it was the first time you were doing it. If it was the first time you had to do this, how would you approach it with creativity and try something different?

Think about the basics. Just the way you arrive at work or leave your home or greet a colleague or pick up the kids or pay the bills or prepare food! Maybe just be creative about the way you sit at your desk?

Go and do your “life’s work” as if for the first time with creativity.

Work soulfully!

André

Sou Nudges #13 Your next 5 minutes

Soul Nudges 13 // Your next 5 minutes

 

How will you spend your next 5 minutes?

Five minutes are often not enough to do anything significant – not enough for a proper conversation, a game with your kids, a meeting, a walk, a run or just to try and finish an important piece of work. You cannot accomplish much in 5 minutes, right?

In a recent coaching discussion, I conversed with somebody about ideas to bring “the positive” into the present – Shawn Achor (The Happiness Advantage) mentions ideas to bring positive stories and thoughts into the present, and one way is by keeping a gratitude diary. By writing down each day, what you are grateful for and keeping track of that, focuses you into the positive instead of just being negative and reactive. Our coaching conversation centred on the theme of significance and the person’s need to experience significance and she came up with the great idea of a “significance diary”– to have a separate journal or space in her diary and capture moments of significance every day even in the most ordinary situations. What a great idea!

A few days later I received an email from her (with feedback) and a quote of Tom Peters –

“Excellence is not an aspiration. Excellence is what you do in the next five minutes”.

Excellence is what you do in the next 5 minutes even if it is simply to be awake for a significant moment in your day or whatever you are grateful for.

This is such a simple concept in life and work. Be deliberate about how you spend the next 5 minutes, be it leading your team or organisation, having a conversation with a child, seeing the beauty in nature, taking a breath or even just the way that you are driving.

Excellence is not in a specific position, or status, or bank balance or the next business deal. Excellence is simply how you spend the next 5 minutes and recognise the significance within that.

Why don’t you start a significance diary or just take 5 minutes each day to be more deliberate?

Five minutes can make a significant difference!

 

Go well

Soul Nudges #12 Re-treat yourself

Soul Nudges 12 // Re-treat yourself

 

I am preparing for a day retreat at the end of May to create space for people to stand back from life – and treat themselves with space and time in God’s presence. Although this specific event is taken from the perspective of Contemplative Christian Spirituality, it is a good habit for anyone to slow the pace and re-treat now and then in your own way.

The word “retreat” as a noun means:

 the act of moving back or withdrawing…

It might feel like a treat just to move back or withdraw for a few seconds in a day or once a month or every six months – try and make a small decision how you will do this for yourself in the next few weeks. You can either book the retreat or try any of the following:

Gratitude diary:

Write down three things that you are grateful for and go and tell somebody about this. Keep up this habit for 28 days.

Space:

Think about one area in your life where you need/crave space at the moment. What would one simple step towards that look like? It might be a deliberate 10-minute walk over lunch? Or a longer, deliberate pause between meetings? Or a prayer? Decide to take one step to create this space and schedule time to get back to this.

Treat yourself and re-treat!

 

Soul Nudges #11 ‘Be Wakeful’

The great tragedy of life lies not in how much we suffer, but in how much we miss. Human beings are born asleep, live asleep and die asleep…We have children asleep, raise children asleep, handle big business deals asleep and enter government office asleep.

We never wake up. This is what spirituality is about: waking up.

– Anthony de Mello

 

In this moment how awake are you? I mean, did you really take in what you’ve just read?

Maybe go back for a moment and read the above words of de Mello again, while being more wakeful and more attentive…

Soulfulness is about waking up; it is about doing one thing at a time and really be there for it. It is about the deliberate act of getting out of your sleepwalking patterns. Sleepwalking is a way to cope with the speed of life, the pressure, lots of decisions and multitasking. Sleepwalking is playing into the need to sometimes be on autopilot and just do, do, do. It means to sometimes multitask mindlessly to get through and push through, and that is okay. It is part of life, isn’t it?

But, I do wonder how we can help each other to sometimes just be deliberately wakeful in a specific moment?  To experience how a specific event touches you, or a sunset or a kind word from somebody, a business deal or a hug.

I bumped into somebody this morning who told me that her husband defended his PhD successfully last week after five years of studies and pressure – and how they didn’t even stop to celebrate because there is so much to DO. Most of us can identify with that. Soulfulness is about waking up!

To be wakeful, might be to stop once a week and scan your core experience, the core of what you sense or your core thought and simply be with it. It is about being wakeful to what is important to you. More deliberate wakeful moments will help you to find more meaning and to be more truthful about your vulnerabilities. And isn’t it important in life and leadership to be deliberately wakeful?

 

Think for a moment:

What does it mean to you to be wakeful?

How can you be more wakeful this week?

Take a few moments…

Take a few deep breaths…

What are you more wakeful to now? Keep it simple…

 

Soulfulness is about waking up!!

Stay wakeful!

 

Soul Nudges #10 ‘Go Slow’

I truly hope this year started with meaning and energy for you and that you’ll have the wisdom to discern about what is important and what matters most!

Although the year just started, it might already feel like “here we go again”? Wisdom and soulfulness rarely happen when you are constantly at full speed – sometimes we need space and time to stay present to what is important.

For me, the essence of soulfulness is to “make time” for experience and inner awareness, (awake) for what is really important to me and translate that into unique, creative and simple, sustainable responses.
I often try to go slower deliberately – don’t get me wrong, speed is okay. To deliberately go slower doesn’t mean that I am less productive or get less done. It is an attitude to stay focused on what is important to me and to really be present. These days it is so difficult to be present because we are everywhere but here, aren’t we?.
Take 5 minutes today and deliberately reflect on the following statements and what it might mean for you regarding one small step?
  • Where can you deliberately go slower in the next week that will help you to be more present?
  • Be very specific and keep it simple!
  • Tell one person about your deliberate act of slowness.
I’d love to hear what you came up with, reply to me with your idea andre@besoulful.co.za – I am sure that we can learn from each other and grow a soulful community.
Take Care and Go Slow