This month I’d like to share some thoughts with you that have emerged from a continuing education class I’m taking called, “Caring Science, Mindful Practice,” based on the work of Jean Watson and Thich Nhat Hanh, two leaders in the fields of mindfulness and heart-centered healing.
We were asked to reflect on:
“What is caring professional practice? What does it encompass?”
My belief is that caring professional practice is an approach to work and life that goes beyond a series of tasks and responsibilities.
I can devote many years to training, studying, and practicing techniques. I can put hours and hours into marketing and building a practice or a business. I can show up to the workplace and perform a job efficiently, creatively, and effectively. I can connect with colleagues and clients to expand my experience and knowledge. I can strive to be tops in my field through developing expertise.
Yet something is missing. It is impersonal, it is mechanical, it is void of any passion and joy if all of my efforts lack caring.
When I care, I add the dimension of the heart. Caring opens me up to a profound, meaningful connection with my clients as well as my colleagues. When the connection happens, it opens the door to the possibility of transformation within others and within myself. Caring changes the lives of others and gives me purpose and meaning in my own life.
So, caring professional practice encompasses more than the job. It encompasses the way I approach that job. It encompasses an ethic of integrity and authenticity that informs the way I do that job. It encompasses the way I give to others with unconditional love, as well as the joy and satisfaction that I receive in return. It also encompasses the way in which I take care of myself because the more I offer kindness and caring to myself the better I am able to offer love and caring to others.
Caring makes my work meaningful, and with meaningful work, I am able to live a meaningful life.
And this realization doesn’t apply only to my Healing Touch practice; these questions are applicable to every aspect of my life: my family, my day-to-day activities and interactions with people, my relationship with myself, and my spiritual practices.
I can bring mindfulness and a heart-centered intention to all that I do and allow that transformative energy to encompass everything. And the same is true for you. No matter your vocation or avocations, the act of caring is a powerful force that can enrich every aspect of your work and your life
To learn more, check out Jean Watson’s Caring Science Institute and Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village. If the ideas in this article resonate with you and you’d like to bring a heart-centered approach to your work and life, contact me to learn more.