What's your immediate reaction to that slogan? Does it excite you? Or does it put you off?
Although I help other people to discover and show up in their businesses as their authentic selves, ironically I have a persistent dilemma about the way I show up!
My 'personal' world is full of politics. I still do contract work in the charity sector, mainly for LGBT+ organisations. I also get involved in other social justice campaigns.
My personal Facebook profile comprises 'political' posts, alongside the spiritual and the business-y stuff i.e. it reflects me authentically, the totality of who I am.
However, my online business presence - website, social media, participation in entrepreneur communities - gives few clues about that side of me. The political is largely written out (I write it out). So, in effect, I'm not being authentic...
But I know that many people are put off by anything 'political'. Some of my clients have explicitly told me! So showing up authentically could sabotage my business.
I'm not a run-of-the-mill spiritual teacher. I don't accept that 'we are all one'. My brand of spirituality recognizes social difference, intersecting identities and inequalities, partly because of my personal identity and background as a Queer, Cypriot Woman from East London (with a degree in Sociology and a PhD in Women’s Studies!).
I absolutely know that social identity cannot be divorced from spirituality.
Who we are and where we come from shapes our spiritual experience, and indeed everything else we believe in, say or do. There is no 'neutral' or 'just human'.
Second wave feminism coined the term 'the personal is political' to show that every aspect of our lives is shaped by gender inequality. Spiritual people involved in a variety of social justice movements have now adapted the slogan to read 'the spiritual is political'.
I am committed to a spirituality that goes beyond just ‘love and light’. I am committed to a spirituality that is politically informed.
But what if my clients don't want to hear that? What if anything 'political' scares them off?
My 'personal' response is that ignoring or avoiding politics is a privilege. Those of us who are at the 'wrong end' of the power dynamic don't have that luxury; we are acutely aware how politics shapes our lives.
But my business is not the place to have these discussions? Or is it?
I'm still grappling with this point of tension: How can I bring my personal / political self to my business? How can I explain my spirituality in politically-grounded ways? And in a way that doesn't send existing and prospective clients running for the hills?
Do I water myself down? Or do I let them run?
Do I only work with clients who appreciate my politically-informed approach? Are there enough of those to create a viable business? Do I only want to work with clients who share my views?
Interesting questions! And these are indicative of the questions we have to ask and answer for ourselves, as we work to show up authentically in our lives and in our businesses. This is our necessary process as we step further into our spiritual 'truth'.
If you are also struggling with these questions, do reach out. I'd love to hear from you.