Over the years, I have become more and more aware of the world around me and my relationship to it. More specifically, often, when I am in a conversation or situation, I pay attention to my reaction to the person or what is going on. I notice if it feels good or not.
Certainly, there is an aspect of me that remarks “I like this” when all is going well or “I don’t like this” when the situation doesn’t feel good. I have discovered that both situations, irrespective of my judgment or interpretation, are wisdom teachers when I am curious about my reaction.
I had a situation this week that caught my attention. It was a business setting. I was in a telephone conversation, with a group of people. They described how they thought their organization was “wronged” and their intended actions as a result. I listened and understood their perspective. I figured we would work all of this out. And, as they were finishing, the ending words were: “This is just business, it is not personal”. KaBOOM! It felt as if they shot an arrow in my heart.
The statement was true for them. Business was business. They could separate their worlds. I understood this too. I grew up in a generation where there were boundaries and separation of roles – each with their own code. I grew up in a family that was structured – dinner was at 6PM, we didn’t open the paper before dad read it, we called if we were going to be late (this was before cell phones), we knew the consequeneces for “good” or “bad” grades in school, and for me, the emotional one, I was often reminded to do the work and to “not wear my emotions on my sleeve”. In organizations, we are good, or shall I say, well-practiced at developing codes, unwritten and written, as to what is expected, what to do, and how to act.
Over the years, I got good at playing with the rules. And, yet, I also always kept a part of me, the rebel, hidden – or so I thought. The people in my life who knew me well and loved me were always clued in. So, my discovery was to recognize – to become aware of – the roles I was playing, the rules I had created for myself, and my innermost voices. As a result, the world around me slowly transformed from being a world to “react to” to a world that was a mirror, and a co-creator of new understanding of myself.
So, why was this comment such a sharp arrow for me, now? What was this feeling within me that wanted to be heard, recognized, honored? Frankly, it took time to figure this out – to see clearly. The process was interesting, itself as I watched myself play the conversation around in my mind many times – replete with interpretations and judgments about the situation, the people and the conversations. It was amazing – seeing all of the “he said, she said” acrobatics.
The simple truth for me is that all of my life is personal – and the work that I do in a business organization is personal too. It always has been this way for me (even when I was not fully aware of it) and it always will be. The only way, I know now, to be in life and contribute to an organization is to show up every day with my mind, body, emotions and spirit engaged. This is the often challenging part, the fully spirited human part. This is the part of life that is intense, where my energy flows – as I am willing and able to be within the seeming paradox of all that I am and find the next step, the next word in my life.
The arrow was sharp because the time was right to be fully aware of my truth.
I had the opportunity to share my truth with the group on the other end of the phone. I told them that this all was personal, at least to me, because I am the one doing the work. I also know it is personal to the people that are on our team, because I see them every day bring their essence to the work they do.
Later, as the conversations played out in my mind, I discovered 3 things.
First, my truth.
Second, once I found my truth, I wanted the other group to join me in my truth, which they did not. This second point was the catalyst for much of my angst. I wanted reconciliation with the group – what I found was reconciliation with my truth.
Peace in knowing and being in my truth.