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Takeaway: Staying Strong; The Importance of a Spiritual Practice
“The hardest thing about freelance is finding time in the day to be good to yourself to
exercise, to meditate, to make healthy meals to do those things you need to maintain
balance,” acknowledges Carol. She does have a personal trainer but that is not indulgent.
This is a high-energy business and requires a tremendous amount of physical effort to go
out and secure your work then do your work.
Carol stresses, “It’s a hustle. It’s an absolute necessity. If I don’t meditate and exercise, I
get strung out. If you’re eating crap food you feel sluggish and awful. I have very few
indulgences in my life. One is a personal trainer that I see a couple of times a week
because she is the thin blue line between diabetes and me because of my genetics. The
other is I have a housekeeper come in once a month and do a thorough scrub down. Until
I had the housekeeper, there were so many things I could never get to and I was working
all the time.”
There is inherent anxiety not knowing where your next job is coming from and Carol shares
her philosophy for staying sane, “The Buddhist pandita Shantidea, ‘if there’s something to
do be done about it, why worry? If there’s nothing to be done with it why worry?’ If you
need to get out there and hustle some contacts then hustle some contacts. If you’ve
hustled everybody you know to hustle then you need to chill.” Her Buddhist practice is
very much in line with a social constructionist view of relational interdependence and co-
action as espoused by Kenneth Gergen in Relational Being:
Over time one becomes conscious (Bhodii) that there are no independent objects or
events in the world. There are all human constructions. When we suspend the
construction, as in meditation, we enter a consciousness of the whole or a unity.
More formally, one enters consciousness of what Buddhists call codependent
origination, or a sense of pure relatedness to all. Nothing we recognize as separate
exists independent of all else. As the Vietnamese master Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, we
come to an appreciation of inter-being, that ‘everything is in everything else.’ . . . “If I
am in you, and you within me, then mutual caring should caring should replace
antagonism. (Gergen, 2009, p. 386)
This philosophy of relational interdependence allows for a kindness and compassion to
emerge when it comes to coworkers, clients, and even toward self. Carol is able to handle
the uncertainty of freelance by incorporating consistent spiritual and healing practices into
her life.
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