Meditation, yoga, retreats, nutrition, nature … all things we are encouraged to do to nurture and nourish our spiritual side. Well, this is all fine and really nice, but how do we continue the growth or manage this growth when we spend a good part of our days at work interacting with rejects who look only to fill the voids in their lives by sucking the life entirely out of yours?
Or, you find yourself traveling and finally check into the hotel exhausted after the flight from hell where the person next to you didn’t shower for a couple of weeks and the dog sitting in the row ahead of you had incredibly bad gas with an odor of something that may have been rotting in them for the past year … and the plane was late, your reservation was cancelled, the car wasn’t in the spot they said it was and you just received your two weeks notice from your manager.
Yes, life can get to us, and at times it feels like we might snap. How can we integrate spirituality and spiritual growth into our work lives?
Perhaps the best way to approach this is by not looking at work as work. What if we viewed work as simply another relationship in our lives with many dynamics to it. We’ve all experienced at some point a relationship that was either toxic or challenging and relationships that have been wonderful in many ways but did not seem to work out. We walked away from those hopefully as better people. Lessons learned.
In one of my interviews with him, the late Wayne Dyer said: Relationships aren’t meant to be easy. If they were easy, we couldn’t learn anything from them. We go into relationships knowing that we will get our buttons pushed. Some more than others, but we will get tested. The question remains, will we learn from these?
Well, what if our place of employment or if we are self employed, those we hire and work to support our business be it an employee an associate or vendors … people we come into contact with … what if they are the ones that will test us and push our buttons? Kind of like in a relationship. Some of us spend more time working than we do with our significant other. So, could it not be said that some of our greatest growth can come from our place of business?
Years ago when I quit my regular job to become a partner in a new company, I was thrilled. We were doing fantastic; better than we had all imagined. Until one of the partners got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. And then the word fraud came up and that was the beginning of the end. The tests and challenges I went through in dealing with this, knowing I was about to lose everything, was incredible. It was in every sense a divorce because my partner (in business) committed adultery and was caught sleeping with the enemy (figuratively speaking).
My challenge, as my buttons were being pushed, was to take the high road. How difficult do you think that could have been? I was on the brink of bankruptcy. It was one of the hardest and most challenging breakups I’ve had to experience to that point in my life. How did I use that experience? What did I learn from that experience? Did I grow? Was I grateful for the growth and lessons? Hard questions but guess what; It took time and courage on my part but spiritual growth did happen for me and I believe it can for anyone who uses their work place as a stepping stone to growth.
It's never easy. There are times when you want to give up and find a new job or sell everything and start over. And sometimes that is the answer. However, most times, I find that if you step back and look at the challenges as learning experiences and an opportunity for growth on a personal level, it often defuses the situation because we now know why it is happening … not just because the person we feel is causing all this "stuff" just happens to be a jerk but because they were placed there to help us grow.
They are there for us just as much as we are there for them.
Read that last sentence again … they are there for us just as much as we are there for them. So how will you handle or react the next time something happens? That’s entirely up to you.