Experimenting life without a job identity
Frederic Laloux is a man of many projects that he tries to square, not always easily, with his inner knowing that he is meant to live a simple life, spending much time with his family and whenever possible in the silent presence of trees.
Among other things, Frederic advises leaders of organizations who feel called to explore fundamentally new ways of organizing. His research in the field of emerging organizational models, published in his book Reinventing Organizations is being heaped with accolades by some of the most respected scholars in the field of human development and management.
My personal practice is…….
Trying never to fool myself about my intentions and what’s going on in me. Whenever I feel a sense of discomfort in my work, in my relationships, whenever I feel that something is off, doesn’t feel quite right, I try to pause and reflect what’s happening. Above all, I try to be honest with myself. What’s really happening? Is my ego triggered? Do I feel attacked, slighted, am I secretly hoping for recognition, for signs of affection? Are some of my old patterns and shadows showing up again?
I’ve come to see that every upset is a setup,
to bring some shadow into the light, and to live life more lightly and joyfully.
Most often, it’s easy to understand what’s going on. I see an old pattern coming up, or recognize a fear from my ego. But sometimes, it’s not obvious for me what’s really going on. Say I come home from an evening with friends, and somehow the evening left me with a bit of a strange taste, but I can’t really put words on it…
In those cases, I have learned to dialogue with my inner knowing, with my soul. I use a muscle test, as it is commonly used in kinesiology. I ask simple questions, and through the muscle test, I can listen to the yes/no answers from my inner knowing. In the example of the meeting with friends: what is the emotion that I feel? Is it anger? No. Sadness? Yes. Sadness for something someone said? No. Sadness for something someone didn’t say? Yes. Sadness for something I didn’t say, but should have said? Yes.
At some point, generally, it all makes sense, I see things clearly, all of a sudden. Oh, of course, when Pete said x, I shouldn’t have kept quiet, I should have told him x. The strange feeling I came home with is sadness at not having spoken my truth in that moment.
How did you discover your practice?
In childhood already, I had a keen sense when something was off in how people related with each other, a keen sense of the unspoken tensions that could exist between two people or in a group. It took me much longer to sense the same within me and learn to act on it.
I learned to use the muscle test when my wife was training to become a kinesiologist a few years back.
Why do you practice?
It’s not a conscious act, not a practice I do at fixed moments, twice a day. It’s just something that comes up in the moment, whenever I’m conscious that something doesn’t quite feel right in me.
How frequently and for how long do you practice?
Checking in on what’s happening within me must happen, I don’t know, a dozen times a day or more. It’s something that happens in the moment, and doesn’t take more than a second. Oh, I wanted to answer this, but that’s not really needed, that was just to make me feel good about myself.
The deeper inquiry with the muscle test? Perhaps once a week or every other week on average, whenever the need arises.
What’s something that gets in the way of your practice and how to you move through it?
Busyness. What get’s me through is simply that
for a while. I don’t like guilting myself into practice. For me it works much better to listen to the cues of discomfort, and do the practice because I sense I want and need it.
What supports you in staying committed to your practice?
It’s not a practice that has any fixed rhythm, which suits me well as I’m not good with those.
because I want to get out of the confusion, the lack of clarity I’m in.
What role does your practice play in your work?
It helps me show up from my better sides as much as I can, and it makes relationships so much easier when my intentions are pure and my ego is not involved. Above all, it helps me not do work that doesn’t feel aligned, that doesn’t feel meaningful and purposeful. That has been a true blessing in the last few years.
Describe someone you know whose practice inspires you.
We have friends who regularly spend whole days in silence. Occasionally my wife and I spend a dinner in silence, and we love it. There is a whole different presence to each other when we are not in dialogue. I sometime wish we would do this more often, but then there is always so much we want to discuss that we don’t make space for it.
A practice I’d like to explore is….
Oh, I used to meditate twice a day for two years before my children were born. Since then I prioritize other things over the 40 minutes I used to meditate. I feel that the meditation would do me tremendous good, but somehow it’s not yet high enough in terms of priorities. I’m curious when I’ll feel called to pick it up again.
For more from Frederic, check out Reinventing Organizations here.