Career and Life Purpose
I cannot remember what exactly got me to point of complete exhaustion and feeling overwhelmed with my day to day routine, but I do know that I definitely reached that point. I tried using a grocery delivery service, simplifying dinners and having a housekeeper clean my house once per week, but still I was left feeling too busy to take time to enjoy life and truly feel happy.
Something had to give, but at this point, I was unaware that it might just be me. Desperate to find a way to enjoy life without selling my house and moving my family to a remote log cabin far away from modern lifestyle, I decided to entertain the new age adage “we create our own reality.” I also embraced a new mantra, “it does not have to be perfect.”
I put this recipe for change to the test. I decided that there would be enough time to take one hour, three days per week to put everything on hold and use my exercise equipment before making dinner. The results were astonishing: nobody starved or even suffered by eating dinner at 7:00 rather than at 6:00. Furthermore, I found that I actually smiled while I prepared dinner for my family after working out.
Finding the time to do housework has always been difficult for me. My house is always clean and perhaps at some times, close to sterile. My newly created reality is now to settle for “clean enough.” Everything that gets cleaned in three hours is all that gets cleaned; everything else can wait until the next week. Since this new routine has been in effect, I am pleased to report the house looks just as good as it did when I would spend an entire day making sure I did not miss a spot.
The list of examples of how I have created a new reality in everyday life could go on and on. However, I have decided that this article does not have to be perfect and I do not have to spend much time to get my thoughts across. In summary, only a few short months ago, I did not have the time to exercise, walk my child to school rather than take the bus, keep up with the laundry or go grocery shopping.
Since adopting the philosophy of creating my own reality (yes, the glass remains half full), and remembering that it doesn’t have to be perfect, I exercise, walk my child to school rather than have him take the bus, and I no longer need a housekeeper or a grocery delivery service. I have more time, or at least I choose to see things that way.
Will I take time to smell the roses? Only if they are in somebody else’s yard. Planting roses this year is something I don’t really need to do to feel happy. I’ll settle for taking time to smell pansies that somehow popped up all over my yard this year.
Shirley Warren is a freelance writer in Massachusetts.
Marketing Is Not A Four Letter Word
I used to believe marketing was antithetical to a spiritual life. Now I write marketing materials for a living. Did I sell out? No, I just realized my view of marketing was lopsided.
You can hardly blame me. MacDonald’s heralds its fat-laden salads as healthy. And how often have you received an authentic-looking “check” in the mail that’s really a dubious discount from your local car dealership?
Luckily, spiritually minded business owners needn’t resort to photos of young, bikini-clad women purchasing crystals or lying on Reiki tables to market themselves. The shocking truth is, honesty is an excellent marketing method.
I wasn’t always so sure of that. In my 20s, I tried to make a living writing short stories. Not a good idea. Eventually, I decided to face reality and try marketing writing. For years I’d been writing stories, humor columns and news articles and editing dry technical material, but I couldn’t get comfortable with the idea of using my writing for marketing.
Then I started a little business offering a music and movement course for children. I wrote calendar listings, press releases and ads. I realized that marketing was no dirty deed, but simply the way to let families know about classes I was proud to offer. A few years later I got a job writing press releases for a local arts agency. Once again, the work was innocent enough. When doors started opening for a freelance career in marketing writing, my shifted perception allowed me to face marketing without fear of selling my soul.
To market is to simply let people know about your business and what’s good about it. That may be scary to those who offer an inferior product or service or who are overly fearful of competitors. But for spiritually minded business owners, offering high-quality services or products is the only acceptable way of doing business.
After my “conversion,” I began to wonder if my mistrust of marketing methods was silly. I soon discovered a web site devoted to encouraging businesses to market with integrity. Clearly, there is a need to spread the word about this concept. The web site is http://www.principledprofits.com, the brainchild of marketing writer Shel Horowitz. Business owners are encouraged to take the “Business Ethics Pledge,” promising to offer honesty, integrity, and quality in their work.
Mr. Horowitz has also written a book, Principled Profit: Marketing that Puts People First, which encourages and helps businesses to market themselves with honesty and integrity. The book includes examples of companies that have gained through marketing with integrity or lost through failing to do so. For instance, when cyanide-laced bottles of Tylenol caused seven deaths in 1982, Johnson & Johnson recalled $100 million worth of Tylenol products. The corporation took a big loss to protect consumers and customer loyalty went up, in turn, allowing the company to recover relatively quickly.
In stark contrast, Mr. Horowitz cites the shockingly irresponsible practices of Ford and Firestone, who suspected safety concerns on Explorer tires even before the tires caused hundreds of fatalities and injuries. The fact that they exhibited poor marketing practices pales in comparison to the fact that they caused immeasurable harm and tragedy to so many.
Not long ago, a man approached me about writing content for a web site advertising a new guitar instruction course he had written. He already had a web page up for another guitar course, one so filled with hype that I did some internet research to be sure he was offering a decent product. Because of the hype, I was genuinely surprised when I found good reviews of the first course.
He later told me he hated hype and didn’t feel great about using it. But when I assured him I didn’t write hype, he questioned whether he could sell the course without it. Because so many use the method, he decided it must work. I assured him that hype might bring in customers, but inflated claims would leave customers disappointed and unlikely to buy from him again. He never did hire me.
Even if dishonest marketing did bring in more profits, I would reject it, and I believe most, if not all, readers of this magazine would as well. People are better off taking pride in who they are and respecting others than having more money than they need. If they can’t earn enough with honest marketing, they’re spiritually better off finding other employment.
I firmly believe that marketing with honesty and integrity is the best way to attract and keep customers. And to think, executives didn’t think spiritually-minded people were business savvy. We knew it all along.
Janet Beatrice is a copywriter specializing in web content and press releases through her business Scribe for Hire. She can be reached at 978-897-5444 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.scribeforhire.net.
Living On Purpose
Usually it’s the pursuit of happiness, peace and good virtue that lead us to discover our life purpose.
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred.
- Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply.
- Give more.
- Expect less.
We often think of peace as the absence of war — that if the powerful countries would reduce their arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds — our prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transported all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the reasons for bombs would still be here, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we would make new bombs.
Seek to become more aware of what causes anger and separation, and what overcomes them. Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others will be possible. —Thich Nhat Hanh
Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
- When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
- Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
- A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
- Be gentle with the Earth.
- When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
- Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
- Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
- Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
- Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
- Open arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
- Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
- Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
- In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
- Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality.
It's The little Things That Count
In our quiet moments, have we ever asked ourselves, “Is there something of significance I am to accomplish with my life?” This seems to be a common thought; it was gleaned from conversations over the years with people who are aspiring to put more service into their lives. It would seem to arise out of a deep urge to make our lives meaningful and purposeful.
Helen Keller said, "I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble." For most of us, it is the opportunity to do small things in great ways, rather than to accomplish one great purpose, that characterizes our lives. In reflecting back on the significant things in their lives, people who are terminally ill remember the small things they did, like putting that extra “something” in the lunchbox, a kind remark, or a smile that clearly added a positive note to someone's life. It isn’t great deeds that are recalled, but small ones done with great love.
Rather than be discouraged by the hunger, pain, and suffering in the world, we can allow these conditions to stimulate us to reach deep within, and then respond with compassion — wherever we are. When we do the little things daily with love and as if they were great and noble deeds, we pass along compassion and kindness, a powerful force for change in the world, and part of the "growing up" process of humankind.
There is a unique, popular buffet restaurant in Winston-Salem, NC which is run 85 percent by volunteers and whose profits go to charity. It serves hundreds of middle class patrons each evening. It is owned and operated by the Center for Purposeful Living as its service-learning laboratory for students to learn “practical spirituality.”
Some of the regular customers include an elderly couple. The husband is easily confused and often unable to recall where he is seated, which causes him fear and confusion. The volunteers are watchful, and each time the man fills his buffet plate and wants to return to his seat they accompany and guide him back. It is a joy for each volunteer to provide this simple act of kindness, serving both the husband and the wife, who is more relaxed knowing that volunteers are looking out for her loved one.
When individuals and groups consciously choose to fill their lives with service to others, a groundswell of kindness forms. Such groundswells touch far more lives than we can see, because kindness begets kindness and spreads in a ripple effect throughout a community. When small acts are performed as if they were great and noble deeds, the world is changed.
So what would happen, then, if each of us began to view our every thought, word and deed as if it were great and noble, one capable of transforming the world? What impact might our lives have, and what might we remember one day as we look back and review the times of our lives?
Christa Thornburg is a volunteer at the Center for Purposeful Living, a non-religious organization inclusive of all spiritual and cultural beliefs. For 18 years, the award winning, all-volunteer, non-profit Center for Purposeful Living has been training people from around the world to discover and live their life purpose through a year-long Soul-Centered Education Program. All students receive full scholarships, including room and board on the beautiful North Carolina campus. For more information visit http://www.purposeful.org or call 336-761-8745.