Work From a Place of Authenticity

“Something in us knows that we are not just here to toil at our work.” – Jack Kornfield

Do you find your daily schedule packed with work-related activities and all the things you “should” do?  Are your identity and self-worth dependent on how much you work, how closely you adhere to the way you are supposed to be?

After long long days (weeks, months, even years) of working to the point of exhaustion, do you ever find yourself wondering, “Is that all there is to this life?”

I have found myself at those points too many times.  And I am grateful that each time I have found my way out with new insights about myself and my growth.

Looking back, I have noticed that it is when I have lost my connection to the greater purpose of my being that hours spent working becomes draining and pointless.  Sure, working to pay the bills is important and necessary.  Yet that is not enough.  Our existence has to be about more than just getting up, slogging through the day and putting in the hours to get a paycheck so that we can then pay someone else.

I find such a significant difference in my energy and attitude as well as the results of my efforts when I act from a deeper knowing. From the outside the actions may look the same and yet the internal experience is vastly different.  It’s a lot like when I practice yoga as a form of offering, as a moving meditation, as an expression of my inner being versus when I practice mindlessly and just making my way through the poses, looking at the clock and counting the minutes until I would be done.

In my business it is the difference between having a soul-less conversation with someone and just focusing on them as a potential client when we meet at an open house versus having a meaningful engagement with someone and interacting from a place of service. From the outside, it may look like I am having the same conversation and yet my experience of the interaction is dramatically different: the former is depressing, deflating and an energy drain whereas the latter approach is much more authentic, energizing, enlivening and purposeful.

The tricky part, sometimes, is that when people walk into an open house, they’re not always energetically open to having that kind of exchange with me.  My job, and this is effortless when I am strongly connected with my inner self, is to hold that space for those who are open to it so that we may have the meaningful exchange.  Just because we are talking about the number of bedrooms, the square footage, the functionality of the fireplace, etc. does not mean that I have to hide my inner self.  It would not be authentic for me to not allow my spirit to come through.

I used to think that when I was in my real estate mode, I had to send my yoga self off to a separate room.  It was as if I was playing dress up and I would put on my real estate mask to cover up my yoga self.  And that was not authentic.  And it made me feel horrible.  Not to mention bad for business (would you want to work with someone whom your gut could tell was not being completely real and authentic?).  I now realize that my yoga self and my real estate self can and need to co-exist, to show up together if I am to operate as an authentic and whole human being.  As much as I know that, there still are days when it’s a little scary to be so open.  Being authentic can feel a bit scary because it requires us to be vulnerable.  And yet, it’s totally worth.

Why waste time and energy on anything less than the authentic?

New Beginnings

The number one is often associated with new beginnings and this being November 11 (11.11) I got to thinking: what new journey, what next step, what new path am I embarking on and supporting?

Something about it being Monday and all those ones are inspiring me to take new, more focused, deliberate and directed action towards creating the life I want.  I find it interesting that I had just completed a specific 40-day meditation cycle yesterday and am starting a new one today.  And to tend to the practical, this-life-in-this-dimension-on-this-earth-reality, I’m spending the morning in a business planning workshop to map out my goals for 2014.

So there’s new beginnings, planning and envisioning on the spiritual level and the physical level.  My goal as I continue to grow and evolve in my personal practices is to be more consistently connected to my embodiment so that my inner self and my outer self are more fully integrated.  Yoga taught me how tending to my body can help clear my mind.  My physical body is the home for my spirit.  So perhaps it is not surprising that now, as a real estate professional, I view houses as the structure for housing the physical body and how they support the spirit.  My personal experience is that, just as there are certain practices that are more suited for different physical bodies as they move through their transformation, certain physical spaces are more supportive than others of that journey of personal transformation.

If you were free to pursue your passion, what would you do?  What is stopping you?  What ONE thing can you do to begin incorporating more of that passion into your life, beginning today?

Energy and Your Home

Every home is imbued with the consciousness of its tenant.”  – Deepak Chopra, New York Times, October 20, 2013

If you are a writer or any kind of artist, if you change something as fundamental as where you live – the way you live – then I think you change the very instrument that is trying to make the art” – Dani Shapiro, New York Times, October 27, 2013 

I was so inspired when I read these two quotes because they encapsulated so concisely two main things I think of (and feel for) when I look at homes.  I have no doubt that how we live our daily lives leaves an energetic imprint on the living space and that the configuration of our space as well as the external/environmental conditions surrounding the space impacts our relationships to our inner and outer selves.

As a real estate professional, I see lots and lots of houses.  One of the services I provide my clients is to preview homes on their behalf so that clients don’t waste time looking at houses that don’t live up to the potential of their photographs (just as some people on online dating websites post information and photos that do not accurately represent who they are, photos of houses often only tell part of the story).  And I’m not just looking at the stats and criteria; I’m looking (or more accurately, feeling) for something a little more.  To me, there is no denying that some houses just have better energy and that’s something I take into consideration.  Which is not to say that the energy is fixed; it is possible to clear the energy of a space (maybe through burning sage or incense, or chanting mantras and playing sacred music, or hiring vastu or feng shui experts, or various other possibilities, depending on personal preference and what’s going on in the space).  And certainly anyone who meditates or engages in any kind of spiritual practice over a sustained period of time in the same space knows very well how those practices shifts the energy of the space, imbuing it with a powerful energetic charge.

Just as a space is imbued with the energy of its occupants, the space in turn can influence occupants in such a way that a greater commitment to wellness practices may be encouraged, a deeper connection to creativity may be fostered, and work/life balance may be more easily attained.  That’s the flow of a specific dwelling as well as the location in which it is situated.  Part of us getting more connected to our inner selves and tapping into our wisdom is learning how to identify what kind of space we need and being attuned to when our needs change.

Again, let me quote Deepak Chopra: “We [Chopra and his wife] have a big house that overlooks the ocean.  It’s idyllic.  You can walk on the beach and see the dolphins, and to a visitor that would be amazing.  But to me at my state of life, I can get almost brain-dead after a while.  I need the stimulus of the city to keep my mind dynamic.” (NYT Oct. 20, 2013)

Sometimes we need to be closer to nature, sometimes we need to be in a more urban environment.  When we are aware and true to ourselves, we know which kind of environment we need to bring the balance we want in our bodies, mind and spirit.

How do you cultivate energy in your home?  When you look at houses, do you feel for their energy? What have you observed about the relationship between the energy of your living space and the wellness of your being, the flow of your creativity, the ability to access and follow your dreams?