By Anna Betz for Enlivening Edge
Connecting individual enlivening to organisational and collective enlivening.
We cannot be on the edge if we don’t do what it takes to enliven ourselves.
When we feel that our life has meaning, when we feel inspired and enthusiastic, we feel connected and enlivened. Even when we face challenges and difficulties, we can come from inspiration and a deep sense of meaning which makes us feel alive.
I would like to invite you now to try out an enlivening practice. Before proceeding, read through the next three paragraphs. Please make sure that you have a pen and a piece of paper at hand.
Take a few deep breaths and let yourself sink deeper and deeper within yourself with every exhale. Get into a relaxed and very present state. When you are in this state, sense into the questions below; tune in with your felt sense. After a while, words may come up. Write down as many answers as you can catch. Remember, don’t get into a brainstorming mode, stay with your pre-verbal sense as long as words emerge spontaneously.
“Gendlin gave the name ‘felt sense’ to the unclear, pre-verbal sense of ‘something’—the inner knowledge or awareness that has not been consciously thought or verbalized—as that ‘something’ is experienced in the body. It is not the same as an emotion. This bodily felt ‘something’ may be an awareness of a situation or an old hurt, or of something that is ‘coming’—perhaps an idea or an insight. Crucial to the concept, as defined by Gendlin, is that it is unclear and vague, and it is always more than any attempt to express it verbally.” (Wikipedia)
In what moments, and by doing what, have you felt inspired, uplifted, flowing, creative? What activities, dreams, objectives, or visions make you feel excited and moved to make them happen in your life?
Now start this practice with a 3-5 slow breaths to get into the mood, then proceed.
Your deeply felt answers to the questions above will be important clues about what makes your soul come alive and aligns you with a larger purpose . When you feel enthusiasm for something or are inspired by something or someone, there’s the clue, right there.
If in some moment you feel a lack of enthusiasm or inspiration in your life, ask yourself what you could invite into your life that would bring it more zest?
Remember, little things can produce incredible results. What makes you feel more alive will, as a side effect, give you also extra energy and zest for your usual daily activities.
From an enlivened perspective, we can feel that we are, breathing, miraculous expressions of life itself, which are deeply embedded in a web of dynamic, living, and unfolding creative relationships. Our feeling of aliveness is not incidental but central to our evolutionary history.
When the creative impulse moves through us and we let this energy express itself through our actions in this world, we become evolutionary agents.
The story that we tell ourselves about the world and about our place in it, shapes the world and either enriches or limits our imagination of what is possible.
Looking at feelings of depression and apathy from this perspective, they are a sign of disconnection and stuckness, which prevent us from feeling our connection to the core of our ‘life centre’ and prevent our creative expression in the world.
According to Andreas Weber, “The idea of Enlivenment does not specify explicit outcomes or norms for how an enlivened society should be conceived. Rather, it is concerned with the overarching principles and attitudes that can foster the emergence of open, mutual, and cooperative processes… It is an acknowledgment of the deeply creative, poetic, and expressive processes embodied in all living organisms.”
Enlivening is what happens in organisations, where work is more than mere means to earn a living, do one’s duty, or compete with someone else in the market place. Enlivened organisations honour people’s needs, talents, and potential.
With an enhanced sense of aliveness, people contribute to the aliveness of the whole of which they are a part. Living from the inner connection to creative energy adds energy to the system and adds more to life.
To see reality as a living process literally changes everything. Reinventing organizations must start with enlivening ourselves. Without that we may change some rules of the game of work, but not its essence that includes honouring everyone’s need for meaning, participation, and energising connection.
Anna’s background is in Health and Socialcare with training in Herbal Medicine, Socialwork, Mindfulness Practice, Transparent Communication, and Systemic Family Therapy. She practices a proactive evolutionary approach to Health and Wellbeing and leads on projects in the UK National Health Serive using Mindfulness and diet for people suffering from chronic inflammatory diseases like diabetes and dementia. Her passion for building thriving and sustainable communities inspired her to co-found the HealthCommonsHub. She feels at home in places where individual, communal, organisational, and social evolution meet, and where people support each other in becoming whole and feel enlivened.