Here is the transcript for Episode 2 of my Souls@Work podcast. If you would like to listen instead of read, you can do so at Soul Growth Radio.
“Welcome back to Episode 2 of the Souls@Work podcast. This podcast is a series so if you have not yet listened to episode 1, you should do that before listening to this one. We are going to be building on the work we do each time to move us forward.
So last time, I left you with some journaling activities to get to know your soul self. And now we are going to use what you learned so make sure you have access to your answers.
Last time, I mentioned that during my own journey in this work, I discovered that it was a three-phase process. We are in Phase 1, which is called SET UP.
This phase is all about the things you need to set yourself up for success so that you can easily and confidently bring your higher self, or soul self, to work.
For me, I found that I had to intentionally create a good foundation for my soul self, one that had a chance of being heard through the demands and workload of my job.
I journaled on the same questions I asked you last episode and looked at how I could be more connected to my soul self as I headed off to work each day.
Three areas stood out – how I used my commute to arrive at work, how I set up my desk and workspace, and the practices I incorporated in to my daily and weekly routine. These are all the key areas of the Set Up Phase.
And the first area we are doing to dive in to is your commute.
Before I did this Souls@Work project for myself, my commute looked like this.
I was usually a bit stressed because I was running late. I would grab something to eat as I ran out the door. I’d hop in my car, and start on the 20-30 minutes it takes me to get to work.
I’d turn on the radio to NPR and listen to the day’s program, unless I felt I could multitask and then I would be using my smartphone to make calls or send texts.
I was using my hands-free device but while I was certainly keep my eyes on the road, my brain was engaged in my to do list.
Sometimes my commute progress on my to do list would have me arriving at work more calm and in control, but many times it had me more frazzled and stressed out.
And while I absolutely love NPR, I would find myself getting worked up about the topic of the day. I applaud the station for tackling the tough issues that impact our world, but the truth was that listening to the harm that is being done to our planet and its people was raising my adrenalin.
I would arrive at work sometimes feeling hopping angry, or devastatingly sad, or on very rare occasions, optimistic and hopeful.
I was walking in the door stressed, frazzled, usually pissed off and with the remnants of my breakfast stuck to my shirt.
And my commute home wasn’t much better. I would ruminate on the frustrating things that happened at work. I would replay the annoying things that happened or tick through my mental to do list, feeling overwhelmed by all the things that I didn’t get done.
Or I would list to more doom and gloom on the radio as I raced to pick up my daughter from her after school program.
Sound familiar? I know I’m not alone because I would see the other harried parents picking up their kids. Mothers and fathers alike trying to connect with their child while wearing the mask of stress and overwhelm.
And some would be getting in those last few texts while absentmindedly saying “yeah, uh huh” in response to their child’s attempts at conversation.
In doing my own reflection, I realized that none of these things were helping me connect to my soul or allowing me to show up with my higher self in control.
So the first thing I started changing was my commute. I decided that I wanted to use that time differently and deliberately. That it could be a sanctuary for my soul in this busy world and actually help me show up as my best self, instead of my worst.
Whether we drive, ride, or walk, how we get to and from work is very important. It can get us stressed out and tense or it can get us grounded and open-hearted. I decided to choose the latter and here are some of the things I noticed. Which ones might work for you?
I first changed what I listened to. What we hear can have a profound effect on our emotions. Just listening to a story can evoke strong feelings and even set off your fight or flight response. I realized I needed to be much more careful about what I let in to my psyche as I headed to work.
So I now only listen to things that help soothe me or lift me up. I have several CDs and playlists of music that make me feel good. This includes spa-like music that is very calming as well as fun, upbeat dance tracks that make me happy.
I also listen to podcasts of people that inspire me or on topics that help me be my best. For example, Brené Brown’s work on worthiness, Shawn Achor’s CD set on happiness, and Caroline Myss’s stuff on our spiritual contracts.
Oh, and Louise Hay! Can’t forget her amazing work on healing.
What should you listen to in order to arrive at work or back at home as your best self? Make an investment in a few items that will set you up for success.
I happen to drive so I decided to turn my Nissan Leaf in to a rolling sanctuary. I bought a nice diffuser so that my car smells like fresh apples. I hung an inspiring symbol from my rear view mirror, and I even found a tiny set of chimes that I hung from the hanger holder on in the backseat that gently ping as I drive.
All of these things helped to remind me that my commute can be a mini spiritual respite. And let me tell you, traffic is not nearly so annoying when I am looking at it from inside my rolling spa.
It’s almost as if my car became that place of the observer that we strive for in meditation. I could stay safe in my calm little space and watch the chaos around me without getting sucked in to it.
As I started using my commute this way, I noticed something profound was happening. I not only was arriving at work in much better shape, but that feeling was carrying me through most of my morning. I was able to maintain that open-hearted place of calm detachment as I read through my emails and attended staff meetings.
This really confirmed for me how important our commutes are for setting us up for success.
Over time, I added some additional touches to my commute. I invested in some really lovely tea and a nice travel mug. I found a stone with the word “joy” carved into it and put it in that little spot for coins. And sometimes I pop it in my pocket as I get out of the car to have it with me throughout my day.
I would often make or buy an inspiring quote or image and attach it to my dashboard.
And if I was working on some kind of behavior change or focused on manifesting a particular intention, I would put a reminder in my car in additional to the ones on my bathroom mirror, the side of my computer monitor and in my smartphone.
Recently, my company was acquired and now my weekly commute includes a flight to Silicon Valley where I spend 1-2 nights in a hotel. Even though this has greatly extended my commute, I have applied the same principles. I surround myself with things that help me feel grounded, calm and open-hearted.
I now use the flight and subsequent ride to listen to my meditation CD, journal, and read inspiring books. And I built a little “mini spa” kit that I keep up there in my desk and take to the hotel with me.
All of this has made a big difference for me and I think it will for you as well. No matter what your commute looks like, you have the ability to create a special space for yourself that is sacred and calm.
Your homework this time is to design your commute so that it supports you in being your highest self. So play with this idea and have fun creating something that is unique to you.
I am happy to be taking this journey with you. Have a wonderful week.
And I’ll see you next time for the third episode of the Souls@Work Podcast.”
Photo by Ryan McGuire