This piece was written in October 2009, and documents my transition from part-time to full-time coaching. 

From the first time I ever went to Cafe Gratitude, I really fell in love with the place. I love that they ask a question of the day when you come in; I love the atmosphere. I even love the food, though I no longer subscribe myself to a raw foods lifestyle.

On my most recent visit, I indulged in a book I’d noticed on several occasions and had wanted, but had been holding back from: Sacred Commerce: Business as a Path of Awakening.

Stepping out on my own with my own business, I wanted to see what they shared about their model/philosophy. There is so much that I am finding to be tender about stepping out there as a business person. I’ve noticed how a lot of my defaults are stepping out these days–defaults of doing, doing, doing, trying to fit in one more thing in a desperate effort of feeling in control by doing.

It is at these times that I am reminded that what I work on with clients, what I want to share with the e-course, with all of it, is that this is a practice. It’s not “finished” at some point. Life is always bringing in new challenges to look at and turn over. The practice becomes noticing and choosing what I want to think about those challenges–are they burdens, or opportunities?–and then going with a certain course of action.

Although the book is really designed to be for business owners who have employees, I am finding that I can use whatever they say about an employee as a model for how I would treat myself.

And I really loved the authenticity that I found here, because basically the #1 problem I’ve had with every job I’ve ever worked is that I was supposed to put aside who I was in service to something else, usually with an expectation of showing up in a fake way in order to be “of service.”

“The traditional model of wage-employment is one in which alienated employees force themselves to suppress their beckoning stream of personal anxieties, obsessions, and desires long enough to do the work for which they are receiving a wage. This often leads to customers receiving service that is not really service, but rather acquiescence to the necessity of the worker to earn a wage by minimally fulfilling the needs of the customer. The customer almost always senses this perfunctory level of interaction, which lowers the level for everyone, giving the customer the devastating impression that they are not really cared for; rather, they are on the receiving end of a kind of prostitution.” — from Sacred Commerce by Matthew and Terces Engelhart

So what we need to endeavour to give to ourselves is this same space for our “personal anxieties, obsessions, and desires.” Inspiration can go–very quickly, if not monitored–into overdrive mode. 

Before I know it, the day is gone and my wrist is hurting from being on the computer and I’m going, “Whaaaat…?”

Any time you notice a lack of abundance, one of the first places to look where you might be grasping, holding on tight, not allowing something to breathe. If it’s a lack of abundance with friendships–where am I placing expectations on others? If it’s lack of abundance with money–where am I tight, constricted, not fully breathing around money? If it’s lack of abundance with time–where am I most likely to start chanting in the back of my head, “I don’t have time, I don’t have time, I don’t have time”?

One of the first things that “rights” us again is the experience of stepping straight into giving.

Give my friend space to be where she needs to be.

Give away money or treat someone to something.

Give myself more time by canceling something or arranging to arrive later than planned.

This isn’t so simple as it sounds–it is a choice to step into living this way. Of course I have my judgments about how people “should” spend their time or the money “should” be coming to me or how I “should” be better at arranging my schedule. 

The choice becomes noticing the “shoulds” and not buying in.

“This is the true joy in life. The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole of the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” –George Bernard Shaw