Holiday soul

We’re ready for a summer holiday.  We need an innocent break from worries of recession.  A couple of days away from the oppression of oil tycoons and Dow Chemical will do us all a load of good.  We’ll flip a few burgers on the grill and spend time with the kids.  We’ll soak in some sunshine and try not to think too much about the intesifying glare of international disdain that threatens the pre-eminence of America. 

Make no mistake, our country is headed for major life changes.  Perhaps we’re on the verge of our twenties, escaping at last from the swash and buckle of teendom.  Perhaps we’re maturing into the responsibilities of adulthood, where nothing is certain and our accustomed pride implodes.

In our own business lives, when we grow past the startup and begin to look at how to establish long term sustainability, do we do so in the old way, with aggression, bravado, and competition?  Do we seek to establish ourselves as the one with all the toys, do we respect only those who evidence gigantic material gain?  Do we apply all the recommended tricks to trap wealth and in the process let our souls shrivel from neglect?

The deep, loving, intense, devoted, dedicated cultivation of soul has been missing in our culture.   So now, the current requirements for growth have everything to do with soulful revitalization.  Establishing sustainability in your business is about incorporating soul needs – yours especially, and also those of your customers. 

It may seem impossible, but actually only requires a little creative practice.  Learning to integrate your inner being with your business structures and offerings will be the most satisfying accomplishment of your life.  Taking advantage of global awareness, our maturation as a nation has everything to do with developing reverence for soul, just as the maturation of places like India and Africa has everything to do with integrating practicalities into what has previously been dominated by eternal mysteries.

Take a look, for instance, at this report from Stefan Sagmeister, renowned Austrain designer:

In addition to citing a fascinating range of outside influences, Sagmeister proves that sometimes the best ideas are generated from a source very close to home – ourselves.  In his case, it was his own journal that spawned his latest success, proving that professionals should not shy away from the highly personal.  He tells us, “By far the most interesting project I have been involved in the last years is a series of typographic works that came out of a list I found in my diary under the title, ‘Things I have learned in my life so far.’  Every one of these pieces was published, and so far they have appeared as French and Portuguese billboards, a Japanese annual report, on German TV, in Austrian magazines, as a New York direct mailer, and an American poster campaign.  The series was influenced by my grandfather (who was educated in sign painting, and I grew up with many of his pieces of wisdom around the house), by American artist Jenny Holzer, as well as the rustic wooden signs available in tourist stores all over my hometown of Bregenz in Austria.”


As you bask in sunny Independence Day frivolities, consider how you can carry some of the whispers of soul that permeate the holiday back with you when you return to work.


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