I began studying awareness, meditation, yoga, metaphysics, and Buddhism in the 60's & 70's. My first yoga instructors had all been to India and studied with yoga masters for a long time before beginning to teach. It was mostly hatha yoga and a bit of spiritual teaching. I was constantly reading philosophy,religion,favorite teachers, anything that helped me explore the meaning of life.I also loved going to different churches to explore multiple approaches to religion. Buddhism felt like home, and I was told at work that nobody should know that about me, it wasn’t safe, and there would be parents and community members who would object to a “Buddhist” teaching their children.
During the mid-90's until 2010 I traveled the USA and did training for early childhood educators in preventing challenging behavior and creating healthy classroom environments. I co-authored a book on peacemaking in early childhood. I discovered very early on that the idea of behavior brought up values. Teachers and parents had strong beliefs about right and wrong, good and bad, appropriate and inappropriate behaviors and those beliefs were embedded in their values and chosen (or accepted) social virtues about the way it is and the way it should be. Those beliefs also spilled over into a belief that we shouldn’t talk about beliefs in school.
I also knew that if I had experienced workplaces that did not allow the exploration of beliefs and values and the impact those have on the choices we make, we were working in unconscious environments. We are recognized and rewarded for doing. Who we are being isn’t usually a conversation until someone has interpersonal problems and we intervene.
Living an integrated life, one in which we show up as who we are wherever we are is possible. It takes self-awareness, self-management, self-compassion, empathy, curiosity, and courage. It also takes practice. We have social norms; what is acceptable and not acceptable. We must read situations, people, and cultures. Adaptability is a social skill and a leadership skill. Conscious leadership requires many skills, and, the most important skill is being awake, aware, present and conscious.
These are some of the questions I am living with these days:
What is living an integrated life? How well do I live in alignment with who I am here to be?
What does it take for me to show up in each part of my life as aligned as possible with who I know I am?
In what ways do my beliefs inform my behavior and my choices?
How compassionate am I willing to be with myself when I fall short in my own eyes?
Am I willing to stay the course and continue to be a work in progress?
I find that being conscious (or present and aware) takes commitment, practice and support. It is easy to default to busyness and revert to automatic pilot.
Personal growth IS professional growth and the reverse is true, they are always connected.
What about you? Do you have a foot in different worlds?
What are the ways you live an integrated and aligned life?
What practices support you in that endeavor?