“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.” ~ Carl Jung
We transition from spirit to physical existence fully imbued with a generous and purposeful bounty of gifts. Our purpose as physical beings is threefold: 1. To awaken and remember the gifts with which we have been entrusted, 2. To animate, share and bless each other with our gifts in the moment(s) for which they were purposed by Spirit, and, 3. To receive and accept with love and gratitude the gifts shared with us by others. The challenge for anyone wishing to deepen personal relationships, or aspiring to develop as an enlightened, mindful leader is to side-step ego, embrace self-awareness and fully animate the call to share his or her unique giftedness in the workplace and in the world.
The poet, David Whyte, describes this “awakening to giftedness” in these beautifully insightful lines from his poem What to Remember When Waking:
“To remember the other world in this world, is to live in your true inheritance…To become human is to become visible, while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.”
David’s words remind us that irrespective of religious tradition we each enter this physical realm laden with an abundance of intentionality yearning to be remembered, energized and shared. In fact throughout much of David’s body of work he persistently coaxes us back to this idea of intended design of spirit…that we engage and share the fullness of our giftedness before returning yet again to spirit. A passage from the first letter of Peter in Christian tradition foreshadows David’s call to share our gifts:
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards”
Those of us who have aged, matured and celebrated forty or fifty springtimes, inevitably come to a realization that virtually all of the events of great value in our lives have evolved from the sharing of gifts – as either the giver or receiver. Thoughtful meditation on the unfolding of our story reveals these sharing-moments to be the authentic secret to emotional and spiritual wellbeing, relationship, connectedness, and fulfillment. No material possession or acquisition can impart the exhilarating intimacy of the moment in which a unique and personal gift is shared, accepted and blessed by profound appreciation on the part of the receiver…the moment of BlessingState®.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou
Same is true in the workplace. No amount of salary or perqs will ever generate the level of engagement, enthusiasm, or discretionary effort inspired by one-to-one sharing, selfless collaboration, and immersion in meaningful work. Such are the traits of an environment of conspicuous regard for all stakeholders…an environment created by conscious leaders generously sharing gifts of spirit.
Gifts of spirit are myriad; we know them by many names:
time, treasure, prayer, belief, wisdom, encouragement, acceptance, silence, experience, guidance, humor, enthusiasm, creativity, introduction, endorsement, persistence, vision, courage, faith, support, challenge, vulnerability, agreement, friendship, candor, manual labor, community, condolence, empathy, inclusion, kindness, mentorship, listening, compassion, trust, honesty, comfort, loyalty, patience, confession, love, forgiveness, gratitude, or mere presence.
The list continues on, and as we name one we think of two more. The fullness of human giftedness may neither be measured nor contained for it is truly the stuff of spirit.
So as we look over our shoulder and mindfully consider each of the stones assembled in the path behind us, it becomes increasingly clear that individual acts of conscious, intentional sharing (as giver or receiver) have blessed our lives in ways that could never have been anticipated in the actual moment(s) of sharing. The fruits of sharing-moments are never wholly appreciated until after the story had been pieced together in retrospect – months, years or even decades later – backcasting the intertwined strands of events to discern how synchronicity unfolded in each. In your own life, simply take one seemingly serendipitous chunk of status-quo and walk it back through years or decades of antecedent events, one at a time. I guarantee – if you proceed slowly and thoughtfully with this exercise, you will recall and connect numerous sharing-events which you never previously connected or even seriously considered in the moments through which they occurred. Such is the cryptic work of spirit in our lives.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Soren Kierkegaard
Having awakened to the blessing and the obligation of shared giftedness we begin to open ourselves to the fullness of our intended purpose in the world. As we remember that which we are intended to share, and as we intentionally exercise our ability to share our gifts, we are increasingly guided to opportunities uniquely suited to our gifting charism. The call to blessing each other in both the giving and acceptance of our unique endowment of gifts is innate; we are born into this intentionality; it is our nature. We may choose to ignore our call to sharing, but we cannot escape the obligation to animate and share our gifts, both in our personal lives and in our professional role as conscious leaders and mentors.