The multi-faceted intention of my professional work is to raise awareness about the world around us, provide insights for us to understand how life functions holistically, and awaken the recognition within each person how each and every one of us can make a difference in the world.
To interconnect, in my blogs, what is professional with what is personal expresses a holistic philosophy about how life authentically engages not just the mind yet, moreover, the heart, the body and the soul.
Consider that a growing number of people seem to be developing dependencies on technologies to get through the day, while forfeiting person-to-person interactions that enable us to become more fully human through emotional and spiritual growth. (Please see my February blog titled “Giving Presence as an Expression of Love.”)
How we function in our working lives always has been influenced by personal values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that, today, in addition, are being influenced by our applications of technology throughout the day. Meanwhile, another fact, not as easily recognized, is how a person’s `unconscious’ responses to life experiences profoundly influence choices and types of interactions, whether human or technological.
That fact is why we see business news articles today about psychology in the workplace. Also, a growing number of companies recognize the practical benefit of workshops for employees, sometimes including employers too, that focus on developing a range of skills from personal mastery to building team relationships, that is, social skills, to improve the collective production and services of the business.
To include those of you who are not working though, a crucial question comes to mind for everyone: “How do we make meaning of our lives, regardless of the presence or absence of paid work?” This question is critical today, among a large number of people, across generations, who need income yet who either cannot find employment and/or have lost employment that had provided a purpose in life as well as income.
How do we negotiate life’s disappointments? How do we maintain a sense of equilibrium when we experience a professional, and personal, life that has no certainty? How do we retain hope, rather than drown in despair, while existing in a world that experiences widening chaos, economically, environmentally and politically?
All of those existential questions are the fuel that drives the content of my blogs and why I feel so strongly that simply being alive at this historic moment calls upon us to develop our consciousness. What creative processes can we practice to help us reflect on how we make meaning of our present circumstances? Alternatively, what resources could we develop within us, emotionally and spiritually, to survive and function creatively, given the possibility of losing someone or something we depend on, externally?
Although I seldom write as a journalist anymore, I do have the deepest respect for those investigative journalists who take risks, sometimes life-threatening, to tell us about critical events, and the consequences, so that the rest of us can take action to challenge injustice. Those journalists have an important role, often under-appreciated, to be messengers about realities we otherwise would not be aware of. In doing so, they fight for freedom of expression that some people take too much for granted.
The limitation of news reporting, however, is that stories are chosen according to peak moments of dramatic conflict and crisis, in disconnected units of events, soon left behind and replaced with the next conflict or crisis. That emphasis, unfortunately, short-changes, and distorts, the continuity of everyday life around the planet, in which thousands of human beings are confronting adversity with supreme bravery, helping others, and applying strategies to survive that the rest of us could learn from.
Personal narrative is another storytelling form, with an emphasis different from hard news, to address the breadth and depth of the human condition, although similarly using specific events at a particular moment in time at a particular location. Such narratives illuminate realities that are timeless and universal. My previous two blogs, for example, focused on naming – yet also suggested how to challenge, and the reasons why – the fear and discrimination in Arizona that represent a spreading, dangerous political direction.
In recent decades, the practices of `personal narrative’ writing and other `expressive arts’ have been transformative learning components of teacher training in some teachers’ colleges. These practices are incorporated as well in other helping professions, not just to train the helpers, yet also to benefit clients, patients and interested life-long learners.
The highest purpose in storytelling is not merely to entertain, nor even to inform. It is, moreover, to elevate and inspire us to make meaning of what befalls us so that, ultimately, we can transcend whatever fears and other obstacles we confront, whether within or externally.
In that spirit, I sincerely hope my narrative approach in blogging provides material for meaningful reflection.