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A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but words themselves are at the basis of all communication. Whether we are communicating for business or personal reasons, our spoken and written words matter. These posts will address issues and answer questions related primarily to business communications, as they affect writing, credibility, marketing, and networking.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Talking About God — It's Getting Easier

Workplace spirituality. As much as I believe in it, it doesn't affect me so directly, as I am self-employed and work from home. It does, however, affect many people — and it is affecting me lately, as twice in one day it's come to the forefront of my awareness in a major way. The first was through my reading of Megatrends 2010, by Patricia Aburdene. The second was via Workplace Spirituality, a Web site I just stumbled across during research for an article.

I grew up Catholic, and although my parents were involved in the Liberation Theology movement in the late 80s, I still never had much experience with the whole arena of preaching, proselytizing, witnessing, and collecting converts. In my experience, Catholics just didn't do that kind of stuff. At 18, I joined the Thomas More Newman Center at the University of Arizona, and about fainted when they began teaching us that Pope John Paul II did indeed want us to go out and preach the Good News. I was pretty good at talking to God — but the very idea of talking about God was something I felt better kept private. The "amen and alleluia" Protestants I came across throughout my childhood had caused me no end of horror. How could anyone be so energetic, unembarrassed, and uninhibited about their faith?

I think part of my problem was confusing religion with spirituality. Once I found my God — the one who wants only my best and highest good, the one to whom I can turn in gratitude for the multitudinous blessings in my life, or for help when things are not so easy — it became simple to understand wanting to raise my voice to proclaim God's glory.

One relatively recent discovery for me was the KLOV radio station, a national Christian Contemporary Music station. I began listening about a year and a half ago, stumbling acorss a song I recognized from church while driving on the freeway one afternoon. Now even though I grew up in the strictest of Catholic homes, I'm not a particularly churchy girl. In fact, the religious zealots drive me bonkers...but so do the church-state separatists with no better way to spend their time and our money than by filing lawsuits to keep entire municipalities from calling those tall living things we put lights on and presents under during the last month of the year CHRISTmas trees.

But KLOV does require a certain amount of spiritual commitment. I started listening because I was getting burned out on all the alt-rock stations who day after day played one song after another with lyrics like, "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you — why'd you leave me?" As much as there is really good stuff out there (Kelly Clarkson is my guiltiest pleasure), there's just so much ugliness and hatred and dysfunction celebrated and spewed via commercial radio that I wanted a respite. And I found one in KLOV.

I'll be the first to admit, though, that there are times when it's way tooooo Christian/churchy for me, a cradle Catholic who, while experimenting with Unity right now, will always feel her spiritual home is with the papists. So, when the KLOV folks start ramping up the sermons or getting on their weird, right-wing political soapboxes, I use my God-given brain and arm to change the dial on my radio. All that being the case, some of the music is so unbelievably inspiring and uplifting that I cannot help but crank up the volume and sing along at the top of my lungs. That's when I truly have to be unworried about what others think and simply celebrate the joy of the moment, the beauty of the Universe, and the abundance of God's blessings.

Certainly, I'm getting better about having God/Spirit-centered conversations. Funny how it's so much easier to talk about things when you have a passion for them and really believe in them. My sister raised my niece without any religious programming; she let her find her own way to a fairly conservative Protestant belief system in her early teens. I, on the other hand, have always been grateful for my lifelong instruction in the Catholic faith. Even though there are many things about the religion — about organized religion, in general — that I question or with which I disagree, I feel abundantly blessed to have been educated in a religious environment (12 years of Catholic school), more familiar than most Catholics with the teachings of the Bible and a full grasp of the sacraments, and graced with a foundation of spirituality that allowed me to become the kind, creative, spititual seeker that I am, at 39.

I now attract people into my life, almost exclusively, who have not only an understanding of God/Spirit, but for whom this belief is a central tenet. And when I come across those who are struggling or angry or unsettled, one of the first questions I ask — as soon as I have created enough of a rapport to be able to ask it — is, "Do you pray?" It's non-confrontational, but a "yes" or "no" answer opens the door to further conversation about spirituality and faith systems.

Would I use this approach at work, if I had a "real" J-O-B? You bet I would! I could even see myself being one of those rebels who gets sued or fired for breaking the rules by speaking God, speaking Spanish, speaking politics... As it is, I use this Spirit consciousness, when applicable, with my clients...and so far, no one has been offended or alienated.

Aburdene's whole point is that we are definitely moving toward a society of corporate spiritual consciousness. What a different world it promises to be, if she is correct.

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