Part of Kathy Caprino’s new series “Spirituality in Life, Work and Success”
This week, I had a intriguing email exchange with a new colleague about some messages I shared in my recent Facebook Live video “How NOT Being True To Yourself Crushes Your Life.” In the video, I mention a painful experience I had many years ago, after I’d left corporate life and became a therapist and career coach, and received training in REIKI, a form of energy healing. I shared an experience that left me brokenhearted.
Here’s what I shared:
11 or so years ago, I started to give workshops and programs to women in Connecticut, teaching about how to find your best work and best self and break through a variety of crushing personal and professional challenges and issues. In these programs, we explored many new ways to honor what we care about most and find the courage to do meaningful, impactful and fulfilling work we love.
At one point, I was hired to deliver a “Live Your Best Life” series of workshops for a group of women in the helping profession at a large community organization near where I lived. The individual who hired me discussed and reviewed with me the topics we’d cover, and she indicated being open to my exploring emotional and spiritual issues as well as more straight career-growth content.
In the first two-hour workshop, as we were discussing the many influences in our lives that led us to doing work we found gratifying, I mentioned the fact that I have, for years, been writing to what I call “my angels” and receiving beautiful and life-affirming guidance from them. This was not a religious discussion, nor was I intending to force my own views and opinions onto others, but simply to share my experiences, and open the door to further conversations about this if folks were interested in receiving some help to explore their own spiritual lives or other dimensions of living one’s happiest and best lives.
I felt the workshop went well, but as I was heading to the parking lot after this workshop, the Director who hired me came out to talk with me, and basically explained that some folks in the workshop were really “freaked out” at what I shared. The director was very upset to have to do this, but felt compelled to ask me not to return. She looked so distraught and confused, as if she really didn’t understand what was happening around her, but felt driven to act promptly. She revealed that she did not personally receive my workshop messages in the same way the other participants had (as unsettling), but she felt she had to honor where they were coming from. I was devastated that my messages had upset the participants.
Sadly, I took away from this experience the “wrong” lesson, the “wrong” message. I misinterpreted the truest meaning behind this experience. I mistakenly felt that talking about spirituality was the wrong thing for me and my new career, rather than realizing that the context has to be right for issues like these to be discussed in a helpful and enlivening way.
What happened afterward for me that was a sad turn of events. I went underground for a long while in terms of honoring my own spirituality, and talking about it in my work.
I had seen and learned so much about spirituality and our soul qualities through the intensive therapy training and energy work I’d done, and also about the powerful spiritual aspects of our lives and our work. But I stopped communicating about these because I was afraid of being “punished” or grossly misunderstood about my messages.
I’ve seen too that many people feel that the personal and professional arenas should remain very separate and distinct, with a hard, impenetrable wall between them. I believe, however, that we’re a person when we show up to our profession, and the more you can evolve as an individual and a person, the more your work reflects your highest best and highest self and offers the greatest positive impact.
My response to what happened translated into my stopping being true to myself. I stopped sharing what I had been exploring and discussing, issues regarding how to tap into our highest selves, and seeing life and human experience from a higher dimension than just our ego and personality level allows — issues that matter to me deeply and are integral in how I help people “dig deep, discover their true selves, and illuminate the world with it.”
For a number of years, I abandoned discussing those issues more openly in my work because I felt I had to go in a “safer” direction that didn’t get people “nervous.”
But as time went on, I got stronger and braver, and felt called again to bring out and explore issues of spirituality more openly in my career coaching work, which I’ve done successfully, in my book Breakdown, Breakthrough and in many of my trainings, courses and webinars over the past years. I even launched a Live Your True Spirit summer program that was successful and wonderfully rewarding.
Now, I talk more openly about spiritual (not religious) issues in my career transformation courses, when there’s a keen interest. In fact, when folks indicate interest in these issues and we begin to share openly, attendees often become freer to share their personal revelations (as happened just a few days ago in my course The Amazing Career Project) about their own spirituality, and in some cases, about how they know they are highly intuitive, and feel they are serving as a healing presence in their work (even in the corporate arena), and want to bring these capabilities forward. In fact, it’s what so many people today want to strengthen and honor in themselves and in the world around them.
Instead of my going “underground” with my beliefs and experiences about the spiritual dimension of finding great work we love, the more positive lesson I’ve learned is this:
There IS a perfect time and place where exploring one’s spirituality is welcomed, where people feel excited, open and eager to learn more about how their spirituality and higher-self essence can be enhanced through their lives and work.
But there has to be receptivity to these messages – it can’t just be foisted on folks when they haven’t invited this type of support, or are ready for it.
I’ve finally come to the place where I’m comfortable integrating career and professional coaching work with also helping people (when they ask for it) to access their higher selves and tap into their soul essence and intuition, to help them find their passion, power and purpose in life. I’ve seen, in my own life and in the lives of over 11,000 women I’ve worked with, that when we can do that – brave up to honor who we really are on this planet – then life becomes so much more meaningful, beautiful, and enriching.
As I once experienced this “going underground” in terms of talking about and embracing spirituality, I’m guessing many folks in my community have too. So I’d love to ask you this question:
Do you feel free to openly explore and tap into your own, personal concept of spirituality, in your relationships and in the communities you cultivate now? Do you truly feel free to honor and reflect your true spirit through your work?
Exploring your spirituality doesn’t mean that you’re talking about angels, or the afterlife or other aspects of spirituality every minute of every day. It means that you are able to access a more expansive version of yourself and what you’re doing here, that honors both your soul and your spirit, and the role your higher self plays in your human existence and in the work you wish to do.
Below is a checklist that will help you identify if you’ve been hiding your spirituality from yourself or others because you’ve been afraid to be open about what you believe in and deeply care about:
You may be afraid to explore and honor your spiritual self if (check all that apply):
( ) You’ve been punished at work or among your family and friends for sharing what you believe about spirituality
( ) Your spiritual beliefs run counter to that of your “tribe” – your family, your work colleagues, your religious community
( ) You’ve sensed that you have some healing abilities or other intuitive qualities and wish to bring them forward, but are afraid of what others will say if you do
( ) You’ve been exploring receiving some additional training in the spiritual arena or the area of energy healing, but are nervous to pursue it.
( ) You sense that there is something more than what your physical senses reveal in your life, but aren’t sure what you think about that (but are interested in learning more)
( ) You feel alone in your interest in spirituality, and long for some great support, guidance and encouragement to help you make sense of what you believe and are experiencing
( ) You really want to help others heal and thrive in a deeper way through your work, but haven’t moved forward to to explore what that might look like.
If you’ve checked any of the above, you’re most likely going through an important transition now, and want to delve into your own spirituality more deeply, particularly as it pertains to the work you do and the impact you wish to make in your life.
If this resonates with you, I hope you’ll share below your candid thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear from you, and help you “brave up” to get on this life-changing path of expanding and honoring your amazing gifts (all of them!) in the world.
For more about honoring your true spirit in your life and work, join me in a Brave Up Life Mastery private coaching program.
Also, to learn more about angels in our lives, join a free live call with me spiritual leader and international bestselling author Lorna Byrne on January 31st at Noon EST for our program Messages from the Angels for 2017 and Beyond. See you there!