A theme in my life has been the exploration of wholeness. If I have to put a finger on when I began this contemplation, I would say it was when I started writing regularly: poetry, songs and essays. Initially, my voice was “freed” or “found” by speaking the truth of my own life experience in the “safe” realm of creative expression in which anything goes. The freedom and joy of experiencing my own creative realms quickly became an opportunity and relentless urge to attempt to describe the experience of Creative Process, often through metaphor. The content quickly extended to human experience and implications for human potential. As Creative Process took me both out of myself and deeper into myself, the notion of Self expanded with an increasing sense of connection to everything – which I will call Nature. If I look back now to myself as a child, I recall that same sense playing in the Vermont woods during family camping trips or, even younger, in my crib looking at the golden late-afternoon sun and fluttering leaf-shadows reflected on the walls.
Over the years, my gnawing need to “articulate the intangibles of human existence” (the articulation of which can only point to or rub up against such things) has been accommodated by the evolution of Western society’s interest in living holistically. What that means is continuously expanding – bolstered by research and experiential validation as ancient traditions integrate more and more with daily lives. The proliferation of meditation and yoga, alternative health modalities, and other increasingly less fringy approaches to wellness, creates vocabulary and community. Even more importantly, the concept of holism expands as these practices bring heightened awareness and an enhanced sense of place in the web of life, in relationship to our planet, each other, and Nature.
And now, living holistic lives must include the integration of our “whole selves” into our work lives – ultimately blurring the dichotomy between work-life and life. Society is edging its way towards that – perhaps on the vehicle of entrepreneurism, where pushing the envelope to attract and retain people is critical. Authenticity in the workplace, studies on vulnerability, shame, “psychological safety”, happiness, creativity and innovation – and their applications and implications for leadership and business success, are creating a milieu for what I call Holistic Human Resources. For some, “Human Resources” has become a passé term, replaced by “People and Process” or “People and Culture.” This is good news, because it is a reflection of the new milieu. However, Holistic Human Resources embodies the exploration and expansion of what constitutes the whole human. It stretches the imagination as to the extent of resources available when optimizing the whole human in work environments.
I am constantly exploring the experiences that best draw out the creative human spark in people for their increased enjoyment and fulfillment and sense of true contribution in the workplace. Work-life balance for me is becoming a balance of demonstrating the highest standards of professionalism, productivity, quality, and dedication – while breathing measured breaths of all of me, in a balanced and mindful way, into all I do. By osmosis, this seems to make a difference in creating trust: others open up to be more fully present, expressive and open, too. This is how we can all contribute meaningfully in our day-to-day lives, including at work. It is the essence of Holistic Human Resources and it is good for business.