Lisa reflects on being a woman in the workplace.
From time to time I can stop and smell the roses and appreciate the many freedoms and opportunities afforded to me by being born a woman in a first world country at this time. I’m grateful for my education, career opportunities and relationship and lifestyle choices. I wish these freedoms for every woman and almost can’t believe it when I hear they are not simply ‘a given’ in many countries around the globe today.
The Dalai Lama has said ‘the world will be saved by the western woman’. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that but I’m open to the possibility of western women becoming more in touch with who we are and standing up for what we believe and this having a profound impact on how we shape our future.
Over the past ten years, I’ve committed to nurturing feminine qualities in myself and in supporting others interested in doing the same, simply because it feels good and it creates more peace, connection and harmony. Yes, I may have a secret desire to save the world so maybe the Dalai Lama was onto something. Regardless of whether that works out or not, it feels good to relax into one’s femininity – it’s softer, more peaceful and I believe helps bring balance to the imbalance that’s a bi-product of an unhealthy masculine driven approach we have here in the western world.
To clarify, I’m not saying feminine is good and masculine is bad. I believe we all have inner masculine and inner feminine qualities available to us and indeed require both to live happy, healthy, peaceful and successful lives. Ultimately the feminine approach is a more relaxed, heart-centered approach to life, often undervalued in today’s driven, disconnected society.
My experiment in recent years has been around being a woman in the workplace and being aware of when the experience of work leaves me feeling depleted in my energy levels and less feminine. I recently heard my spiritual teacher, a man I know and admire, say that the workplace and working week was designed by the male mind. This really struck a chord with me. Before my current job, I worked for an organisation where I could mostly work from home. Now working from home has challenges of its own – you can feel lonely and isolated, you can lack motivation and/or discipline but with all its challenges, there are many benefits including more time, freedom and autonomy. I was able to set my own schedule, operate at a pace I enjoyed and had more time to rest and meditate throughout the day.
What I noticed over that two-year period of mostly working from home, was that I became a happier, healthier woman. I felt a lot more joyful and was more creatively inspired. My revelation is that when we get to choose our own pace and not this frenetic pace the corporate world often demands of us, life becomes a whole lot simpler and a whole lot more enjoyable.
I’m currently in a position that requires me to work in an office full time for a year. It’s now ten months in and I’m feeling grateful every day for my amazing job. I have fulfilling, purposeful work with wonderful clients and colleagues. What more could I want?
I have noticed though, for some time lately, I haven’t been feeling this luminous, feminine essence nearly as much as when I worked from home.
I know I’m not alone in this and have discussed with other professional women friends how it can take several hours to a full day or two to come down from ‘work mode’ before feeling like a woman again. We have discussed how we can feel hardened and tough from working in oftentimes male dominated environments. It’s one thing to be a naturally assertive and empowered woman in the workplace and then another to wear energetic armour that most corporate workplaces require so we can protect our precious qualities.
So what’s the answer to this conundrum I hear you ask? We can’t all work from home or shun the business world and why would we want to? There are many benefits to being a successful woman at work or in business.
What we can do is shine a light on how we feel at work and afterwards. It’s really important to be in touch with how we feel emotionally and a key to that is to feel in to the body. A tool I use with clients who are stressed from work is I ask them to take a deep breath or several and then ask – can they feel their feet? And then, ‘can you feel your belly?’ Awareness can move instantly from being in the head and disconnected to being aware of the disconnection and connected again.
Rest, meditation, yoga and exercise also help a lot but most of all, it’s the intention and commitment to stay connected to ourselves and to allowing our feminine nature to be present. Surround yourself where possible with supportive friends who understand what you’re going through and join a conscious women’s group if you can. It’s my hope that sharing the benefits I have experienced by being in touch with my femininity over the years, inspires others to relax into and enjoy their feminine nature more too. It’s also my hope that writing for WonderWomen as a woman in the workplace opens up conversations that will lead to clarity and direction for any woman currently feeling out of touch or disconnected. Remember, all it takes is a moment of awareness to feel connected and centered again, which often leads to clarity. Having more connected, clear thinking and empowered women in the world is creating a brighter future for us all.
Lisa Gaines – Wise Working Woman
Lisa Gaines is the Principal Coach and Facilitator at Brilliant Life, Coaching and Consulting and a Business Coach and Workplace Trainer. Lisa has an extensive corporate background in account management, sales and customer relations in industries including IT and Telecommunications, Non-Government Organisations, Training and Events and Adult Education. Since arriving in Australia from Ireland 16 years ago, Lisa has had a passionate interest in health and wellbeing. She has dedicated much of her time outside work exploring all avenues of healing on physical, mental, spiritual and emotional levels and loves working with people supporting their growth, development and success in living an inspired life. Contact Lisa at www.brilliantlife.com.au Life Balance = Relaxation. Presence. Passion.