S is for Sacrifice
I grew up in Michigan in a large Catholic Family in the 50’s and 60’s. I was taught that sacrifice was the price you paid to get into heaven. In service to this I let go of my wants, needs, thoughts and feelings. What I was left with when I hit my 30’s was pretty much an empty shell of a being and became, to some extent robotic â€“ exclusively looking outside myself for commands for me to follow. I was terrified to think, feel or act on my own volition. Having never been given a copy of the blue prints or the How To Manual for being me, I had no idea what course to steer to get to my true north. Over decades I taught myself how to listen to my internal wisdom and practiced checking inside myself, retracing my steps (from before I could even walk) to rediscover my fullest expression of myself.
In the name of Heaven we make incredible sacrifices. The question is â€“ what is Heaven? More importantly in the context of this series, what is Heaven to you? How will you know when you’ve arrived?
Given that we are talking most specifically about spirituality in the business, I suspect that each one of us has maneuvered into our current roles and positions because to some degree we are wanting to create heaven on Earth, especially when it involves the fact that we spend at least one third of our lives in this environment. What have you sacrificed in order to be where you are right now, in this moment? What I’m really wanting to know is â€“ have you sacrificed the right things in order to have what you currently have? Rarely do I use the word right, so I’m obviously on the way to making a point!
On Tuesday, I spoke to the San Francisco Professional Career Network. These individuals are in the process of once again becoming gainfully employed, however many of them are up against some very stiff resistance (the R word, remember?). Not much different than many of us, they experienced rejection, trauma, abuse, neglect and humiliation in their previous work environment, and as they move in the direction of employment, something stops them. What stops them, and appropriately so, is the memory of what they’ve previously sacrificed for what they thought would provide stability, a role that contributed to the growth and development of their company, as well as a sense of personal and professional fulfillment. They are now having to choose to choose what to choose in service to what it is they want. This time they have the opportunity to choose what to sacrifice from a more conscious perspective.
Everyone has to make the choice to sacrifice that which they are willing to sacrifice: Health, family, personal fulfillment, creativity, integrity, financial stability, trauma, stress, abuse â€“ each of us has our price.
I’m suggesting that maybe what we’ve sacrificed isn’t worth the price. This is a huge spiritual issue for those who have come to believe that financial stability will create happiness. The current global economic circumstances are indicating that, that may be an inaccurate assumption. The wounding that has occurred â€“ that we’ve allowed to occur for the sake of financial viability for many has cost them their lives, their families and their dignity. I don’t think this is working very well â€“ do you?
I’m guessing that when searching your internal database you’ll un-conceal regrets and lost dreams that were sacrificed for what at that time seemed like the appropriate or only choice to be made. All of us have these regrets and losses, yet until we come face to face with them and the emotional well of powerless and hopeless that has never been mined we will continually repeat the circumstance â€“ just different environments and we’ll never allow our essential self to guide us to our fullest expression.
It makes sense to me that many of those individuals in the San Francisco Professional Career Network are balking at returning to the corporate environment. It makes sense to me that they are no longer willing to sacrifice their souls for the almighty paycheck.
Not all work environments are dysfunctional but the fact of the matter is that too many are dysfunctional. My belief is that because most of us were raised in families where dysfunction played a huge role in how we come to see ourselves, how we value and treat our selves and how we choose to choose what we choose, we can’t help but create environments that reflect the same.
I believe that each of us has come to this planet to fulfill a very specific life purpose. My job is to support people in choosing to choose to live into that purpose â€“ fearlessly. This conversation definitely includes the question "What get’s sacrificed?" It also allows evidence to speak for itself; "Has it worked so far to give up what is most essential to your BEING and to you living your LIFE PURPOSE?"
This line of questions emphatically points to the dilemma and what we do in this dilemma. The dilemma is a choice-point where most of us choose to choose NOT to choose, thus experiencing a quality of life that feels stuck, lost, paralyzed, trapped, confused, depressed. SIGH! I know of no one who is allowed the "get out of jail free card" and doesn’t have to actually choose when facing the inevitable choice-point: Now or later â€“ it’s up to you!
I don’t wish this moment on anyone, however, the inevitability of it is what it is. I can’t convince or cajole you to take me seriously. I only encourage you to feel into your heart and soul and reveal, discover and acknowledge your own evidence, your own truth and your own wisdom to know what is yours to do.
Enjoy the exploration!
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