PEOPLE AT WORK COLUMN: The Seesaw Of Life

DO you feel like you’re just going around in circles? Bone-tired and soul-weary, you may sometimes wonder whether the hectic schedules you keep are worth all the stress. It is in times like these that we try to connect with our “inner selves” to find meaning, values and purpose to our existence.

For Jay A. Conger, author of “Spirit at Work,” this process of connecting with our inner selves is spirituality. I had always connected the word spirituality with religion and never really understood its meaning, until Conger so clearly defined it for me. He writes, “In its truest sense, spirituality gives expression to the being that is in us; it has to do with feelings, with the power that comes from within, with knowing our deepest selves and what is sacred to us, with, as Matthew Fox says, ‘heart-knowledge.’” Adding to this, in my view, spirituality means connecting with our spiritual essence and our Maker.

With these thoughts, I suddenly realized that to balance the seesaw of life, with work resting on one end and family and relationships on the other, the seesaw should rest on a stable fulcrum of spirituality. When we are torn between making a life and making a living, when work seems to weigh so heavily that our families are left high and dry, when the fast seesaw of our lives leaves us dizzy, reaching for our spirituality may just be the saving grace of working moms.

However, the common problem is, many of us limit our spirituality to worship in churches or religious communities and do not live our spiritual values in the home and workplace. There is a “spirituality gap”—the gap between our spiritual beliefs and the way we live our lives. We sense this gap when we feel empty amidst plenty, lonely among many, or deprived in the middle of abundance.

When this happens, we are being urged by an unseen Force to pay attention to our spirituality. How then can we infuse our lives with spirituality? Here are some of my suggestions:

First, realize that our senses tend to set the limits of our paradigms. It is hard for many of us to go beyond the boundaries of physical reality. And we often behave as if there were no other reality, resolutely ignoring the mortality of our physical bodies. In this light, make a conscious effort to pause and reflect on the reality of our spirituality. Holy Week holidays is a perfect time to start doing so.

Second, identify the spiritual values that we want to see and define how can we live these values in the way we conduct ourselves, relate with our loved ones and coworkers, and handle moral and ethical issues at home and at work. Based on these values, honestly appraise the magnitude of our spiritual gaps, examine our consciences, and outline action steps on how to minimize and even eliminate the gap.

Third, build spiritual communities at home and at work. Spiritual communities are people who connect with each other to ensure each other’s spiritual well-being. Oftentimes, as we deal with family and people at work, we inflict on each other wounds of the soul. According to Thomas Riskas, author of “Working Beneath the Surface,” there are five existential wounds of the soul: deprivation, deprecation, isolation, rejection and stultification. We wound others’ spirits when we stunt other people’s growth, belittle their efforts, wrongly judge them, stifle their talents and do not show our appreciation for others. The task of spiritual communities is to help heal the wounds of the spirit.

When we believe in and live by our spirituality, we can find greater wholeness and fulfill the purpose of our existence. And then, we working moms can say we have achieved balance in our lives.

Author: Regina Galang Reyes. Published in Metro Working Mom March 2004.

Photo credit: www.sxc.hu

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