Workplace stress has been a companion of mine for the better part of the last 25 years as a broadcast news reporter. It’s not the curse you would imagine it to be, but rather a Luke Skywalker type of journey.
First, battling stress, seeing it as the “dark side of the force,” and then using it as fuel to ignite my Yoda-like instincts and training in mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Embracing it as a lesson was my salvation, lest I burnout in the fires of purposeless exhaustion. So yes, this post is a bit revealing today, but I do so with the intention of sharing a lesson about true vocation.
The daily chaos of working in the news cycle often brought me to my knees, as I’m a very empathetic person. But it also forced me to find ways to deal with the stress and lead me into a fire of self-contemplation, awareness of the breath, and new road toward true vocation as a stress management expert.
The great mystic and poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, “We gain our freedom when we attain our truest nature.” For me, the breath and subsequent meditation, lead to a startling revelation: being a hardcore business journalist was not my career end goal, but in fact a vehicle to a greater awareness and purpose.
It’s from that place that I write this post and offer up a piece of my alter ego. I just released a music video on tackling stress with the breath, in the work-life merge. Diving into this end of my persona was not an easy decision. Nor was the creation of this somewhat maverick video of performance art. But I decided to share it unapologetically as I truly embrace the concept of vocation in a new way.
The Power of the Breath
The tools I’ve acquired over 25 plus years to transform stress are vast, and come from many people and places. A landscape overflowing with colorful spiritual teachers, academic scholars, leadership experts and business mentors. But the greatest teacher has come from within; the breath. It’s a delicate, yet powerful elixir which can transmute even the most negative of circumstances in what I call the work-life merge.
The work-life merge is that state of being which emerges by default in our “new economy.” Defined by uncertainty, and the blurred lines between the working and family experience in “real time” due to technology, managing work-life integration is key to survival.
In an “always-on” world, the breath is the first line of defense which enables us to stop the moment and enliven the greatest manifestation of our inner being, the ability to say yes, no, or not now – to the stimulation that comes our way.
The exercise of inhaling and exhaling with awareness, mindfulness and if one prefers intention, calms the nervous system and leads the body into a relaxed state. From that relaxed state we feed the stillness within the body and mind. It accumulates and allows the brain some wiggle room to explore, create and innovate.
I hope you enjoy the video. Is your current career your true vocation? Are there aspects of your work or job where you can express your real life’s purpose? I’d like to hear your story.