Like 20 years ago, I worked for a now defunct non-profit called The Crossroads Center for Faith and Work. The philosophy behind the organization was to bring our whole selves to work, to be true to who we are in the workplace, not to adopt a professional persona, and to bring the spirituality that roots us into the work environment. We hosted a popular Forum over five weeks each spring and fall where the self-help gurus of the day would talk about their latest best-seller. We put on a bunch of one-off workshops on philosophies like servant-leadership and the Enneagram, which is a personality-typing method of self-discovery and reflection. I loved what we did, brought my full-self to work, and burned myself out.
I decided bringing my full self to work sucked, left me with nothing for the evenings, and turned me into a recuperating couch-potato on weekends. I learned to compartmentalize. Whatever big feelings I had about work or play didn’t cross. I left my personal self at home and my work self at work.
After years of doing that and on becoming a mother and then intentionally pouring myself into writing, I’ve ever-so-slowly attempted to integrate my selves back together. I still can’t help it, though. When I take stock of me, I go into my buckets: the spiritual me, the artist, my physical self, my emotional self, myself as mother, wife, child, sister, friend. The truth of it is that all these selves aren’t separate; they’re all me. How can I exist wholly, in all these ways? How can one self build-on or support another self? How do I integrate all of these selves into a whole person? Is it even possible? Or are all of these selves leading their own, separate lives and happen to congregate in my one body? My guess is philosophy, psychology, and Pixar have answered these questions, but my cognitive self hasn’t downloaded the knowledge base yet.
The point to all of this is that I have been thinking about what I want to do with my life, and instead of whatever shotgun approach I’ve been using the last couple decades, I’m re-focusing. I wrote down a vision statement and mission statement for myself today, and was surprised and happy to discover that I’m ready to try integrating all my pieces again.
Twenty years later, I’ve learned new skills and coping tools and self-care activities that work for me so that my whole beautiful being doesn’t stress itself to bits. I’m determined to find a way for all the various parts of me complement each other instead of leading parallel existences.
I do something called Network Spinal Anslysis. I wish I could adequately describe it. It’s in its own pieces, I suppose. Part energy-work and part chiropractic, it utilizes light touch by a practitioner to activate the spine, which houses our nervous system, which touches everything in our body and senses what exists beyond our confine of skin. Anyway, I’m laying on the chiropractic table face-down today during the treatment. A physical sense and a metaphysical sense came over me that all my pieces need to get picked up and put back into place. It kind of sounded like colorful wooden xylophone keys of different notes had fallen off the instrument onto the hard, tile floor and made a mess of themselves in a pile all over the place. Time to get them back in order. My spine did it’s best today trying to shake everything back into its place, but some pieces are heavy and some of them are sticky.
(Incidentally, I have always wanted to play the marimba.)
Long story longer, what I’m trying to say is something feels like it’s coming together for me. Actually, scratch that because this isn’t passively occurring. Long story longer, I’m working on blurring the lines I’ve drawn within myself. Let’s see where this takes me. I’d like to feel like I’m doing a better job capitalizing on this miraculous gift I was given called life.