Old rules… Old thinking. Old ideas… Old stories.
So many people are saying the same thing. The “old rules” no longer apply:
Marketing expert Seth Godin talks about the “forever recession and the coming revolution”.
My favourite author, Charles Eisenstein, says: “We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human”.
Russell Brand made a few waves by calling for a “revolution of consciousness”.
Wherever you look, people are waking up to something. “Old” no longer works.
Nowhere is this as clear or as painful as in the world of “j-o-b”.
Some people never “take off” in this world. They can barely scratch a living. They spend their lives “crushed” by depression or other conditions, fully convinced that they’re too flawed or broken to work in mainstream society. I belong to this group.
Other people do take off, and do really well… By mainstream society’s standards. They get the nice job they always dreamed of… only to find out that they can’t carry on doing it and live with themselves. The job is not in alignment with their values.
So many of us are struggling with this paradigm shift.
I, for one, fought my intuition, and fought really well. This nagging sense that “the old rules no longer work”? I did not accept it straight away. For two reasons.
First, because I’m a political / philosophical junkie and I couldn’t explain, logically, why the world had changed to the point the “old rules” no longer apply. “Why would the world have changed all of a sudden? Come on! It can’t be”. This line of thought would lead me to… “You must be the problem: the world does work, you’re just flawed”.
That’s the second reason: I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was the only one who didn’t “fit in”. I felt the world “worked” for everyone else except for me.
So I had to work with my stuff… A LOT.
And I arrived to the place where I can see lots of people who, like me, struggle to “fit in”.
We simply cannot function in the old rules. Our values are misaligned.
Perhaps we are really sensitive, and our intuition will not allow us to live under values that don’t serve us or humanity.
But for whatever the reason, we cannot do “normal”. We cannot do “business as usual”.
Either we never get “there”, because we’re just not cut out for it, or we do and we break down.
We need the “new rules”.
So what are the “new rules”? They can be summed up by Awesomepreneur’s tagline “work with heart”.
How you do something is just as important as what the something turns out to be, because how determines what.
The “new rules” are essentially, bringing conscious awareness to what you do. Being present. Being “mindful”.
It means the values have to be present in the process.
“Heart” is not a “plugin”; it’s the whole operating system.
And when I say “heart” I mean “yours”. You heart and your relationship to your heart. It all begins with you.
Let’s get practical with some examples:
Old rules: “we’ll make a lot of money and when we do, we can use that money to change the world for the better”
This is a strategy used too often by charities. And of course it doesn’t work because how you make the money will determine how you can use it, and how you can change the world.
New rules: “we’ll work towards changing the world for the better, being in alignment with our hearts and values, and we will do the same thing to make money”.
Old rules: “you go to any bar/club and you meet some guy you like, and once you have the guy you can get started on making a real relationship work”.
Trust me to be a writer and a feminist and use my own “rules” to cast a critical eye at “The Rules”. (a part of me is giving a slightly devilish laugh)
Of course this approach doesn’t work because how you find the guy determines who the guy is and the kind of relationship you get into.
New rules: “I’ll stay connected to my heart and trust that through living my life in alignment with my values I will find a guy along the way who is in alignment with the whole of me”.
Old rules: “I’ll “kill myself” through this torturous gym routine and then I’ll have a hot body”.
You may end up with a “hot body”, but you will most likely develop an abusive relationship with yourself.
New rules: “I’ll focus on making my relationship with my body harmonious, and give my body what it needs, and if it’s in my body’s capacity to become “hotter”, then I trust that by following what my body tells me, I will have the “hottest” body that my body can ever be”.
Note from the author: I can categorically state that the process of “killing yourself” through a harsh gym routine has never given me a “hot body”, according to the standards of “more toned and muscular”, while a super mellow chillaxed yoga practice is giving me kick-ass thighs. Just something to think about.
New rules are Russell Brand’s “Revolution of Consciousness”.
It’s Danielle LaPorte’s “Desire Map”.
It’s Charles Eisenstein’s “Sacred Economics”.
It’s all the same thing.
It’s organic vegetables. In other words, “how you grow the vegetables will determine how nutritious they are”.
This goes entirely against our dominant culture, which says, in not so many words: “find a way to grow the most vegetables, in the shortest amount of time, for the lowest possible price”.
When the “vegetables” are… “us”, no wonder we feel “squeezed”.
But we need to talk about how you actually get to live by the “new rules”.
Because it is really hard. And when I say “hard” I mean “impossible”.
But we need to do it because some of us don’t really have a choice.
It’s not that “working with heart might be a lovely thing to do, certainly preferable to not working with heart”.
It’s like “well, I can’t do any work at all… I either work with my heart or I’ll be forever unable to do anything that may possibly serve someone, not to mention I’ll die from poverty”.
The “new rules” are not optional for some of us.
So how do we get there?
Simple. A word which here means “it’s not simple in the slightest but I can describe it in a word or two, har har”.
Spiritual practice. Yoga. Mediation. Mindfulness. Bringing conscious awareness to your every day life. Getting to know yourself.
In essence, regularly connecting to your heart. And, this is important, regularly finding out what your needs are and finding ways to meet them.
Uh-huh. You can’t “work with heart” if you are proverbially “killing yourself” in the process.
You can’t “work with heart” while ignoring what you want and need.
The heart of “working with heart” is listening to your own heart. (yes, I am a big dork, why you ask?)
That means learning to trust that your needs are legitimate, that they won’t lead you astray.
It means “meeting yourself where you are”.
When I say “work with heart”, I don’t mean “work while you love the world”. That’s too… “out there”, and it’s almost impossible to start “out there”.
You have to start “here”. And that means “loving yourself”, in some form or another. Or tolerating yourself. Or “doing something to ease the panic, anxious, “I’m worthless” feeling”.
It all works.
Here’s the ultimate truth: if the work we do is violent towards ourselves, then some of us can’t do it.
It’s that simple.
We may want to. We may need to pay the bills.
But we can’t.
And if we aren’t even paying the bills… perhaps it’s time to give the “new rules” a chance.
At the very least, you will come out with more spiritual awareness.
And who knows: you may also get some kick-ass thighs.