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Centre for Spirit/Work

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Note to Bulletin Board readers:
Judi Neal is the former CEO/President of the International Association for Spirit at Work, and long time friend of the Centre for Spirituality at Work.

Money and Spirit is a great topic, Eric!  

I once heard a channeler say that they are actually the same thing because they are both energy, and they both need to flow.  Spirit needs to move through us, and so does money.  

I'd like to share a story.  My mantra for many years is a phrase I adapted from Shakti Gawain, author of "Living in the Light."  The mantra is "The Universe pays me for being who I am and doing what I love doing."  I used to think that meant that I would get paid to do what I love doing, and that was not what was happening.  I worked at a university and taught management, and while I loved my students and my courses, I really wanted to more directly work with spirituality in the workplace.  I started the Center for Spirit at Work in Connecticut, but I did not get paid for running it, and I had to do it after hours because it was not a part of my job.  

As a new faculty member, someone suggested that I get on the Sabbatical Leave Committee so I could learn the inside workings of how research grants were given and how sabbaticals were meted out.  I did that and learned that hardly anyone applies for sabbaticals that are a year long at half pay.  Most people apply for sabbaticals that are a half year long at full pay.  I planned to do research on spirituality in the workplace, and I applied for the year long sabbatical. I remembered that one of Robert Fulgum's laws was "If you ever have to choose between money and time, always choose time."  Taking the year long sabbatical was a perfect example of that.  And besides, my boyfriend said that he would help financially if I needed it.  

I got approved for the sabbatical and just before it began, my boyfriend and I broke up.  Oh my God!  Now what am I supposed to do?  I started looking at where I could cut expenses, and one of the first things that would have to go would be books.  I love books, and they are the tools of the trade for academics.  So I let go.

Then a couple of days later, two books about spirituality in the workplace were in my mailbox.  The next day there was another one.  Publishers in this field knew that I published a newsletter that reviewed books, so they started sending me free books to review.  And I discovered that if I wanted to read a certain book, I could contact the publisher and promise to review it and they would send me a free copy!  That was 20 years ago.  I'm still getting free books in the mail!

That year I traveled to Thailand and Europe and to several parts of the U.S. and Canada.  I'm not sure how I did that now, but I didn't go into debt.  Maybe I got a consulting client or two and that made ends meet.  But it was a wonderful miraculous year, and gave me the material for two of the  books that I have since published:  Edgewalkers, and Creating Enlightened Organizations.

Several years later, I actually got hired to be the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace where I got paid well to do what I love doing.  I also was able to save enough for a comfortable retirement.  

The key learnings from these experiences are:

1.  The way the Universe pays you to do what you love doing may actually be a regular every day sort of job, but you must keep doing what you love doing on the side, even if you don't get paid for it at first.  

2.  Part of that mantra is "The Universe pays me for being who I am" so its important to stay on the path of self-discovery and to be true to yourself even when it seems like it may not be the best path financially.  The worth of your soul is much higher than having a big bank account, and in the long run it may also pay off financially because people trust people who are authentic and have integrity.

3.  The Universe doesn't always pay you in dollars.  Sometimes it pays you in books or other things that you would have otherwise spent money on.  Just keep celebrating the different ways that the Universe pays you.  And don't forget to pay it forward.

Judi Neal
Chairman, Edgewalkers International

Want to add YOUR comments or share your experiences about spirit and money? Click on Reply on the upper right of this post.

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