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The following is an excerpt from the book Let Your Goddess Grow!
by Charlene M. Proctor, Ph.D.
Published by The Goddess Network Press; May 2005;$19.95US/$24.95CAN; 0-9766012-0-6
Copyright © 2005 Charlene M. Proctor

Bringing the Awakened Self to Work

The way I get through my day?
I pretend I am a great, big, powerful octopus.
--Belisha, daycare provider

Glancing at my business schedule alerts me to an undeniable fact: on some days, viewing work as a positive experience and as an expression of my true self is far more demanding than my job. Staying in a balanced, self-affirming mindset (and keeping everyone else there) through the ups and downs of generating abundance for an organization is what most leaders will agree is the one activity that takes the most effort -- and the one that, with the clock always ticking, usually gets put on the back burner. We spend so much time managing complexity, massaging the team, forecasting the market, and focusing on the goal that we lose sight of developing our soul, the entire reason we’re participating in the workforce in the first place. Who has time to reflect on what work means? And if we figure out how our chosen occupation fits into our own unique soul story, how can we bring a sense of spiritual purpose to our organizations, as either employees or leaders?

Articulating a sense of soulfulness and contributing to the greater good have nothing to do with gender, as everyone is capable of bringing their authentic self to the office. However, having had a job since I was thirteen years old has entitled me to make a few specific observations about women in the workforce. The first is that we’ve denied the feminine side of ourselves for too long: we do not realize that the qualities we inherit as women are as sacred and important as the men in our lives. We can conceptualize ourselves as both male and female spirit, both God and Goddess, equally divine and beloved. The feminine side of God has been diminished for so long that we’ve come to believe we are something less important, because we can’t see ourselves in images of God. And our failure to acknowledge ourselves as sparks of that collective essence, both Mother and Father God, can make us feel unworthy and flawed. It translates into low self-esteem, because we believe our true self is less important. It permeates relationships, and before we know it, we have developed an unworthy state of mind, and then begin to create that in our immediate experience. In the workplace, it has affected our overall confidence level when we compare ourselves with men doing the same type of jobs.

Since Henry Mintzberg’s observations in his 1973 diary studies of executives, management styles have drastically changed. Old ways, as well as the old boys’ network, have steadily been dismantled in favor of organizational structures that encompass more female-friendly policies and ideas, with the idea of empowering the female through equal opportunity and culture change. Throughout this process, women stumbled on the rocky road to empowerment, adapting to public and private realms still encumbered by unspoken, old-fashioned and traditionally bureaucratic parameters. Women slid into the workforce in a fairly male-dominated environment and believed they needed to adapt. They thought that by managing exactly like men, they would attract power.

But now, as a body of research is developing, we’re learning that we were barking up the wrong tree. Our own woman culture, our entire system of shared meaning and knowledge, is intact. After twenty years we have learned that self-power or empowerment does not happen by riding on the top of the hierarchical heap as a pseudo-man. It doesn’t even come from manpower disguised as womanpower. It comes from a sense of appreciating and knowing at the deepest level possible that we are truly worthy because we are an image of the highest power that exists. We are beginning to realize that what constitutes our beingness is as divine as what constitutes a man’s, because we are the same soul substance. Although we love God, and we are God, we are also the Goddess. And we’re beginning to love ourselves for who we are, which includes both aspects of a divine equation, because self-love is about demonstrating that which is within, our spiritual power. Female qualities and values that are precipitated from this spiritual composite will someday be demonstrated at the highest levels of organizations with great success. However, for now it seems we must first be more comfortable in our own skin and acknowledge at last that what we contribute has tremendous significance, to society as well as to the bottom line.

My second observation about women in the workforce is that once we define and embrace the feminine side of our spiritual composite, we will re-embrace the masculine principle in a more balanced fashion. The result will be the institution of a set of values that correspond to who we are and what we do well. If we allow it, our feminine side will begin to reconceptualize leadership roles that include affirming, dynamic views of our self-development process. Work will be viewed as a unique service to the larger community. This will be done through new policies we set, reflected in our decision styles, and by outlining the long-term objectives of what our organizations need to accomplish in order to make sense from the act of working.

At a very deep level, the glorious aspects that make up the yin side of us are our core competency -- and we’re seeing evidence that harnessing those energies in ways that assist one another in our spiritual evolution can make us better in our work. In the future, knowing how we co-create with spirit will become the mission and vision for organizations that will finally permit everyone, not just women, to fabricate meaning from doing.

Copyright © 2005 Charlene M. Proctor