This is part one of my series on the principle that has guided my own journey and now underlies every element of my burgeoning coaching, teaching, and mentoring practice: Spiritual Freedom. (Learn more at http://www.annamariaback.com)
Ever since I embarked on the journey of stepping out there and doing what truly brings me joy, I have been battling with the formulaic suggestions of the standard marketing principles for identifying my divine audience. The principles make sense. And yet, they don’t.
Whenever I’m asked the question, “So, Maria, who do you work with, who’s your target audience?”, I feel the fire in me starting to dwindle as I verbalise some of the attributes and circumstances that I’ve come up with – “Ooh, she is between 35-55, she lives in a city, she is either in a corporate middle-management position or runs her own business, she doesn’t have children of her own, she feels bored, unfulfilled, and wonders if this is all there is.” Now, don’t get me wrong, this way to describe an audience works well – and – what I notice, is a feeling of the world having shrunk. The external labels are not who we are. Talking about my divine client this way I no longer feel fired up – far from it. Any excitement I had is gone and the whole thing lands like a dead fish by my feet.
I consider myself a free spirit. I live an uncomplicated life; I am liked, respected, and successful in my work; I can come and go as I please… And, as I have learned more about who I am, I have become aware of how important Freedom is to me. Freedom to choose, freedom to be who I am, freedom to take responsibility for who I am, freedom to be curious, freedom to operate beyond the constricting boundaries of expectations – both mine and others’.
So, I’ve been pondering what fundamental aspect of freedom motivates my work. Meaning, what fires me up, what makes me want to take action, to change, to grow, to evolve? The answer that leaps to mind is simply, “Spiritual Freedom”. For myself, my friends, my clients.
Now, I could dive into a story of how this fundamental desire for freedom can be a “limitation” or “problem” in our structured world, but I won’t. I’d rather focus on describing what Freedom means to me, and more precisely Spiritual Freedom – what it isn’t, and how one can recognise it.
The human spirit has an innate desire and need for hope and for believing in something bigger than ourselves. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we are seekers. We want to find our place in the bigger scheme of things, the reason we are here.
As a species, we are seemingly confused and mixed up. The human condition is hardwired to want to believe in something, whether it is our intuition, facts and figures, religion, or our place in the universe. Spiritual Freedom provides a safe space, a container, and a scaffolding for exploration, awakening, and living that deep-seated yearning for finding our place, for finding freedom and hope.
We have for the most part forgotten how to have the guts to talk about and deal with our emotions. We’re afraid to challenge ourselves. We no longer prioritise cultivating and practicing putting words to our emotions. As humans we don’t function without culture, philosophy, and spirituality. We have a need for communication, to grow and to collaborate, to understand ourselves and others better. To live lives that we can feel good about, to live with good conscience. Spiritual Freedom is allowing all of that and our soul/mind/spirit to grow.
When I say “Spiritual Freedom” out loud, there is a deep sigh of relief within. When I talk about what it means to me, or when I think about the possibility that this is why I am here – and why I am walking the path that I have taken – a sense of relaxation and vital energy arise in me, both at the same time.
Spiritual Freedom is my main motivation in all that I do and who I am. It is also why I do what I do. Coming back to the question about divine audience, e.g. who I am here to serve, a few questions beckon:
How does one structure and contain Freedom, or more precisely Spiritual Freedom? Is it even possible…? How can we combine business and spiritual freedom?
Imagine if your decision-making in business was based on spiritual intelligence rather than just emotional intelligence? How about being free to express the spirit that’s within you? Expressing what’s within you in terms of the work that you do, who you work with, and how you show up in the world? Not feeling like there is just one way, not feeling like you are stuck in any particular doctrine or way of thinking or being, not being ashamed of what it is you think and feel. Not feeling constrained, and instead being genuinely open to the possibility that anything is possible?
What are your thoughts on Freedom and Spiritual Freedom? Let me know by leaving a comment below.
In Part #2 I’ll explore further. I hope to meet you there!