SOUL RETREIVAL AT WORK
Fighting back to retrieve meaning and purpose at work
Something is missing at our place of work, something is very wrong….and we all know it.
So many of us are sleepwalking to work each day feeling unmotivated, unfulfilled, unproductive,
and un-empowered; work has lost any sense of meaning and enjoyment. Our passion is gone. We
have become cynical and disengaged. A job has been reduced to a means of paying bills,
something to get through, waiting until Friday…until retirement.
At work, we have let ourselves be reduced to a utility, to be used for the highest level of
productivity at the lowest cost, to pump the stock in order to line the pockets of the people
controlling the game. We have lost our direction, our purpose, and consequently a piece of our
soul. Our corporations are paying for it and so are we.
Becoming conscious around money involves being aware of our relationship with how we spend,
invest and earn money. This month’s column is a call to action for you to retrieve your soul- your
essence, meaning, and purpose… to awaken and once again feel connected to, and part of,
something that has meaning and purpose while earning money beyond the illusion, manipulation,
separateness, and destruction of single-minded profit making that drives so many of us and our
We have a growing problem in this country
• 80% of people are dissatisfied with their jobsi
• The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetimeii
• There isn’t much job security. On average, Americans hold seven to eight different jobs
before age 30iii
• More than 13 million working days are lost every year because of stress-related illnessesiv
Balancing making money and doing something you love
Money, as we all know, has a huge affect on our lives and in my practice as a wealth manager I
help people make more conscious and purposeful choices about how they earn, spend, and invest
Money is just something we have made up, it is just a piece of paper to which we have given
power. I have written about it in past columns and talked about how the invention of money has
helped us achieve great things through its efficiency of facilitating trade and labor. But many of
us have either fallen into the addiction and fear of money. And when it comes to the energy of
earning money we are beginning to see the destructive results at home and abroad.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” –
Those who have a lot of money have an increased potential to control and manipulate and those
who have less have the potential to fall into the mindset of a victim. As the divide of wealth
continues to increase, it is forcing many of us to find or hold on to a job that pays us enough to
“get by” and tests the character of those who have a lot of money by resisting the primal trigger to
conquer through fear and control.
For the majority of middle class Americans, thinking about following our passions and dreams,
doing something we love and being true to our self is a luxury that we don’t think we still have.
We spend more than half of our lives at work, and we still think this way?
Many of us are working for corporations that lack any purpose beyond making a profit. The
shamans would say that these corporations have lost a piece of their soul. Many of us find
ourselves doing this out of fear or greed; fear that we may not be able to survive, or greed because
we are addicted to our life styles and money (as I wrote about in my last column, “12 Steps to
Money Rehabilitation”). It is no way to live. Working without purpose, and the subsequent
feeling of despair and hopelessness. This type of personal sacrifice can be admirable in a way
when we are doing it to feed our families, but is it necessary to sell our souls and abandon
ourselves for the benefit of others?
In the classic interview about The Hero’s Journey with Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, Joseph
was referring to this challenge of working with purpose and following our bliss as they talked
about a man that would go to work each day on a subway train to a job that didn’t feed him but
took care of his family. And although he “lost a piece of himself” each day as he went to work he
was sacrificing himself for his family. This story illustrates the challenge that many of us face.
We can either ignore the ideal of working at a job that has a purpose beyond a paycheck, or
demanding to earn a living with purpose. Maybe we can have both? Maybe we deserve both.
The cost – A spiritual perspective:
The shamans will tell you that sleepwalking through life creates a personal and societal hell.
Selling your soul for your work? Not such a good idea. When we go to work each day for a
company whose only purpose is to make a profit, it eats at our souls… slowly, until one day we
wake up and ask the question WHY? This form of “waking” can come in many different flavors
but one of the most common arrives in the form of dis- ease of the mind and body.
Guess when most heart attacks happen in our country?
▪ Friday night?
▪ Wednesday evening?
▪ Monday morning?
✓ If you said Monday mornings you were right. Studies show that men are 20% and women
15% more likely to have a heart attack on Monday mornings.v
“Wake ups”, or “initiations”, stir us from our slumber and give us a gentle tap, or not so gentle
slap, to remind us that there is more to life than the mindless march from A to B with an
occasional C thrown in in the form of a vacation.
The shamans and ancient wisdom keepers from all walks of life will tell you that when you
awaken you can see your life for what it is, without any self-deception or illusion. From this state
of consciousness you can see with clarity.
Honor your soul’s mission
“You’re here for a reason”
There is a purpose to life. Find the light inside you. Feed it, fire it up, and let it shine with
abandon throughout the world; it will reflect upon you in ways unimagined
Your soul has a special song, a special vibration that is like a snowflake, no two are alike. Your
job here on this earth is to align your “being” with your “doing”. To a shaman your soul is as real
as your mind and body, and because of that it needs to be cared for. When our soul’s vibration is
aligned with our physical existence, we are in authentic power. We are most powerful when we
are on the path to recognizing the unique gift we have to share with the world.
When we continue to do things that are not in alignment with who we are we operate out of
balance, like a car that bumps down the road because a tire is out of balance, or like a person
walking around with a small pebble in their shoe. Eventually these things eat at us. When I see a
person in this state of unbalance it feels as though they are singing out of tune, and the more
people who are living this way the more our world sounds like an entire chorus signing out of
tune. The universe is subject to this noise and the ripple effect begins to subconsciously disturb
the rest of us. The bees can’t find their way back to the hives and the oceans become dark and
murky. When we live out of balance our soul is in a state of constant stress. We get sick and
depressed and lose meaning and purpose. In extreme circumstances people and corporations can
even loose a piece of our soul.
The word soul has many meanings, and generally stirs up deep emotions stemming from cultural
and religious beliefs. The idea of a soul is prolific throughout most of the world’s religions. It is
certainly not a new concept or anything unique to shamanism.
From the shaman perspective, the term soul is used to simply express the essence and vitality of
who we are. It holds the seat of all our wisdom; it is our “being”.
When our soul becomes part of a physical body it begins to experience separateness, a place
where duality exists- day and night, good and bad, hot and cold, happy and sad. But the soul’s
nature is oneness and is always drawn to that place. The soul remembers the truth and longs for
oneness/wholeness, a place where everything is connected. So when the physical body has done
its work the soul once again returns back home to interconnectedness – ONE.
But while we are here in this dream it leads us toward our purpose here on this earth similar to the
way heliotropevi leads a flower to turn to the sun.
When our soul is whole and in harmony with our mind and body, we are in power. When our soul
is not, it is impossible for us to be in power. When I speak of power I am not talking about the
type of power most of our society acknowledges and reveres, that is external power — the ability
to dominate over things and people. I am speaking of authentic power. Authentic power is pure
and comes from within — without the need to dominate over things or people, without the need
for struggle or stress.
What is Soul loss and what does it have to do with how you earn money?
When a shaman says you have lost a piece of your soul it is not a metaphor. A shaman “sees” that
a piece of your soul is actually missing and when that happens the person who’s soul is damaged
can never be in their power until the missing piece of the soul is retrieved, hence soul retrieval.
From a shaman’s perspective soul retrieval is serious business and it is something shamans have
done in all parts of the world for ages as they help communities and individuals to help gain back
their power. When you are working at a job that does not feed you it is a sign of an unhealthy
Symptoms of soul loss include: Low energy, a general feeling of disconnected, difficulty staying
present and in the moment or the feeling of being out of your body, suffering anxiety attacks,
difficulty moving on after a large transition like a divorce or similar change in your life, always
looking for outside things to fill you up, memory gaps especially when you were a child, chronic
illnesses and weak immune systems, depression and general lack of energy. (Of course there are
multiple reason for the above symptoms and despite our obsession to always make it one thing
and give it a single label these are symptoms of how people will often present themselves to me
when the core issue is soul loss.) When soul loss is not addressed these symptoms often become
exaggerated and illness and even death will manifest.
These symptoms are usually accompanied with a longing inside calling the person to the
awareness that there is something more to life and very rarely do I find a person with soul illness
at a job they love and feeling like they are following their dreams and passions. Our work is so
much a part of us.
Finding your way back to soulful work
When we are faced with the awesome concept of gaining back our power and the potential of
living a purposeful life at work it can at first be an overwhelming concept. When we are not used
to owning our power it is frightening at first. As Marianne Williamson, an internationally
acclaimed spiritual powerhouse, put it so beautifully:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond
measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us… As we are liberated from our own
fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Marianne Williamsonvii
Because so much of our lives have been filled with the domestication of the dream that is ruled by
“getting ahead” and “getting good grades” we are lost when we ask ourselves: What is it that I
really want to do? What are my special gifts? This is of course is an incredibly unnerving feeling,
and leads many of us to get caught up in the mental loop of trying to figure out what would be the
perfect job. Overwhelmed with the daunting task of aligning our work with our passions, we go
back to sleep and give up on our dreams, stay at our soulless job and resort to just making a
A tree doesn’t try to grow; and woodpeckers don’t get sore necks.
Through my own life’s journey, striving to perfect and merge my gifts into the impeccable work,
I came to realize, at a deep level, that when I am in alignment with the vibration of my soul it
matters much less what I do than how I do it. The striving is no longer necessary.
It does not mean we are meant to be a Fireman or Surgeon, paradoxically it matters much less
what we do than how we do it – how we bring our full selves into our work and everything we do.
What to do?
Rather than looking for the perfect job that aligns with your purpose, start by looking for
companies with a healthy soul. This will lead you in the direction of “good energy” and give you
a solid foundation of possible companies to approach. Then see if “what” they do aligns with
your passions, the “who” you are at a soul level.
When you approach your career in this way, magic will begin to unfold. Look for the subtle signs
that lead you in the direction of your longings. One of the extra benefits of these soulful
companies is that they care deeply about their employees and consequently are looking for people
who “get” the “why” of what they do. These companies will see the passion of your “why”
clearly when it aligns with the company’s “why”, and the old uncomfortable interviewing process
will melt away with a passionate discussion.
Finding a soulful company
Can a company even have a soul?
Let’s first look at the meaning of the word “corporation”. A legal entity that is separate and
distinct from its owners. Corporations enjoy most of the rights and responsibilities that an
individual possesses; that is, a corporation has the right to enter into contracts, loan and borrow
money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets and pay taxes.viii
Because we have given corporations rights just like humans, (including campaign contributions –
but that is for another day) it’s not a big stretch to imagine that these corporations can have a
collective soul. But rather than get caught up in cerebral debate over whether a corporation can
have a soul lets instead focus on the essence of what I am getting at when I refer to corporate soul
Corporate soul loss
When most companies are born they have passion and purpose beyond just making money, there
is a feeling of excitement that is palpable. The employees go to work fired up about the prospect
of being part of building something with meaning. For a company like this the soul is defined,
healthy, and vibrant.
In contrast, a company with soul loss is governed by fear and greed and its symptoms include:
loss of profitability and retention of employees, distribution, and customers, lack of vitality,
boring, infighting, and very little focus on the end customer, and no genuine interest in giving
back to others.
The bottom line is that a Corporation with an unhealthy soul has lost a purpose beyond profit
making. These are the companies to stay clear of when you are looking for a job. If these
symptoms are not addressed it will result in the eventual death of the corporation- the departure of
Find a company with a healthy soul and you will usually find a great place to work. These soulful
companies have many things in common and if you look for some of these signs it will lead you
into exciting new possibilities.
Look for these signs of a soulful company
✓ A ratio of highest paid to lowest paid employee no greater than 100-1
✓ Made the list of Best Companies to Work for. http://www.greatplacetowork.com/best-
✓ A company may choose to be a B corporationix as opposed to a traditional Corporation
✓ They spend much less on marketing than their competitors
✓ Employee retention is well above average
✓ They are mentioned in books like Conscious Capitalism written by John Mackey of
Whole Foods and Raj Sisodia, a leader of the conscious capital movement and professor
at Babson College.
✓ There is a soul, a depth of purpose for “WHY” they do what they do
✓ People smile and enjoy getting up and going to work
✓ They care about your life outside of work and because of that benefits tend to be much
better and progressive in nature
✓ They make decisions with respect to “ALL” stakeholders including the community and
the earth, not just the shareholders “Companies with a higher purpose are generally
impacting all of their stakeholders in positive ways and helping to create a better world—
a world we can be proud to leave to future generations.” Steven Schueth of First
A little financial analysis of some of today’s best purpose-driven soulful companies reveals
something even more exciting. A growing number of companies pay their people more, treat their
suppliers well, deliver top-notch customer service, make consistent, substantial investments in
their communities and the environment, and in some cases even pay more taxes. Yet a 15-year
study of some of these firms demonstrated that they outperformed their peers by as much as 14 to
Work can once again be fun and filled with meaning and purpose. Whether we call them
conscious corporations, soulful companies, or purpose driven companies, in the end they are all
companies that provide a great place to work. Working for a company with a healthy soul is a
reflection of the state of your own soul’s health. Honor your life by demanding to work with a
company with soul and following your dreams and visions. The world will be a much nicer place
when more of us are singing in harmony.
i Deloitte Shift Index Survey
ii Happiness at Work Survey Psychology Today
iii US Census Bureau
iv HSE Stress Statistics
v The New York Times Heart Attacks re more common on Monday Mornings By ANAHAD
O’CONNOR Published: March 14, 2006
vi Ἥλιος (helios) is Greek for “sun”, τροπεῖν (tropein) means “to turn”.
vii A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles (1992)
ix A benefit (B) corporation is a new class of corporation that voluntarily meets higher standards of
corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency.
Lawrence can be reached at: Lford@consciouscapitalwm.com or 860-659-8299
Advisory Services offered through Conscious Capital Wealth Management, LLC (CCWM).
Securities offered through J.W. Cole Financial, Inc. (JWC) Member FINRA/SIPC.
JWC/JWCA and CCWM are unaffiliated.