|Selling My Soul|
Preparing a paper for submission to the Academy of Management Executive (AME) confronted me with a lesson I needed to learn. The experience pointed to things I should become more conscious of to live a fuller, more honest life. This diary entry captures my reactions at the time. I have also included several paragraphs that were removed from the end of the manuscript because they were inappropriate:
My experience working on the paper for AME was mixed. On the one hand, it was stimulating and provocative as well as clarifying. On the other hand, the closer the work touched my soul, the more destructive the process became. My experience was an excellent and instructive example of how organizations stifle the flow of The Intuitive Self. Here organization means the university culture in particular and more broadly the academic professional culture represented by AME. How ironic that writing about suppression of The Intuitive Self, suppressed The Intuitive Self. But then life is one paradox after another.
As has happened several times on the project, after reflecting on decisions about changes for the final draft, I experienced a sinking feeling and then a deep sadness. After I fought for the information gap ideas, we ended up keeping them. But in general, I went along with these changes each time even though my heart felt denied because I realized that given the journal climate the suggested changes were best.
The specific changes that were most disturbing were those for concluding paragraphs (reproduced at the end of this page), for box features on journaling and breath, and for a hologram example. As I explored what these emotions meant, I realized once again how I denied my soul to make who I am (through what I have to offer and how I say it) acceptable and presentable to an "audience" in this case the reviewers and readers of AME.
This has been my experience throughout my academic career although it was only recently and in particular with this paper that I become more aware of what I had done over the years and its destructive consequences for The Intuitive Self. These deep soul stirrings are at the heart of my decision to leave the academic world to find another way of expressing who I really am where I don't feel like I have to sell my soul to the devil (academia and all its trappings) to be successful (for example in getting a paper published).
Each time I became aware of these feelings on the project, I felt the life was sucked out of me in the deepest recesses of my being. It was like my true self died just a little each time. It's no wonder that most of us lose the divine spark that I saw in my one year old granddaughter by the time we reach the mature years of our careers. By and large, the process of growing up, getting an education, finding and preparing for a career, forming and creating a family and living out our careers systematically stifle the human spirit. "God is dead" because "we" destroy the divinity within each of us little by little, day by day.
Even at one year, I was conscious of the ways my granddaughter's spirit was already being squelched. No wonder students lose their zest for life by the time they reach their senior year in college. They have to have been extraordinary people to survive the onslaught of family and society as these slowly ate away at their souls. I did this to my daughter and now she was doing this to her daughter. Someone said, the Bible I think, that "the sins of the fathers will be visited on the sons." Whoever said that hit the nail on the head.
Even though this should have been the most meaningful paper of my career, it was but a fragment of the real me and the "gifts" I had to offer. My best ideas ever were here but watered down to little more than a superficial representation of the real me that longed for expression.
This was not anyone's fault. These were the things that had to be done subconsciously to be part of the "game" that I had chosen to play. But at the core, my transition meant that I choose to opt out of the academic game to discover more nurturing fields of experience. Because of the clarity that I achieved from this experience, I valued my work on that project. The timing was perfect. Just when I most needed to see clearly what I had allowed to happen to me and done to myself over the years, this experience came along to bring me face to face with that lesson.
Concluding Paragraphs That Were Dropped
As an awareness of and an appreciation for the intuitive dimension of experience grows in an organization, inexorable changes take place in the climate of the workplace. Achieving the wholeness of rational intuitive balance in executive decision evokes subtle shifts in the organization's social fabric. Foremost among these shifts, intuition in the large assumes a greater role in the daily dynamics of work.
When employees reach beyond themselves into the realm of greater knowing offered by intuition in the large, they connect with the deeper streams of human existence where all is one and one is all. This reconnection with the ground of being out of which all meaning flows brings profound changes in individual attitudes toward self and others. As the Tao Te Ching so eloquently states "The way to do is to be!"
When being replaces doing as the way of accomplishing organizational work, a sense of spirit gradually returns to the corridors and offices of the corporate world. The yearnings of the soul find expression in the workplace, and employees' potential begins to flow into their daily responsibilities. As the creative spark is rekindled, a transformation occurs in the meaning of work. The poet Robert Frost has captured the qualities of this transformation: