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Music, the Environment, and the Creation of Sacred Space

I am most interested in what creates the container of sacred space in organizations and the redesign of work to be more holistic. Some might hypothesize it is a collection of individuals who take responsibility for their lives, and this is a piece of it certainly. There is something deeper that occurs in more awakened teams, the organizational DNA or culture, contains some unique strands. Between the walls of an organization is space that creates an opportunity to build and create something new, fresh, and vibrant.I am going to begin the dialogue by examining the social and environmental space in organizations.

“Both environmental and social sustainability confront one issue – the belief that the sole goal of companies should be to maximize profits and the idea that markets work well to optimize scarce resources.” (Ambec and Lanoie)

However, I believe environmental and human sustainability also pays. The literature bears this to be true, and take a peak at the Great Place To Work Literature, here. Part of the human equation for me is how we bring the gift of creative means of expression to work (e.g., music) to create this sacred space. Here is an example of a university creating sacred space and leadership through music; go to this link by clicking here.

I asked the CEO of Matrix Solutions, Rob Pockar, about some of their best practices around a more holistic workplace. Here is what he said:

“We have long recognized that a key to sustained exceptional performance is to create a workplace that fosters a sense of community among colleagues. We foster our amazing culture by investing in creative initiatives like providing our people with bikes (instead of cars), lifelong learning, and many exceptional social events (paid ski days, hiking days, golf days, TEDx events, team dinners, holiday parties, etc.). The result is a powerful connectedness among our people; powerful bonds fused by respect, commitment, accountability and deep care for each other that contribute to transforming our work from a job to a purpose. We believe that it is more than a career, it’s an experience.”

Does your organization care about its social practices? Does it bring music into the organization to create a different vibration?

What other creative things can be brought to bear in your organization?

Does your organization focus on environmental sustainability?

What are the implications for all of the above for how work is done and the consequences for research, best practices, and policy?

Ginger’s Blog
Catherine raises important and provocative issues about creating “sacred space,” and this is just as important in one’s own home as it is in organizations. She suggests music, implies art, considers nature, and implores us all to do something. So how might this relate to the Enneagram?

The first notion that came to me was that this might be related to subtype: self-preserving, social, and one-to-one instincts. Self-preserving subtypes of all types have preferences and issues in common, as do social subtypes and one-to-one subtypes. Peter O’Hanrahan has commented, and I think aptly so, that when you identify your subtype within your own type, you will likely also relate to elements of the same subtypes for the remaining eight enneatypes. I will, in this blog, try to make a connection between all self-preserving, social, and one-to-one subtypes and what they might need to create sacred space at home or work.

The Self-Preserving Subtypes
Ones: “Worry” | Twos: “Me First/Privilege” | Threes: “Security” | Fours: “Reckless/Dauntless” | Fives: “Castle” | Sixes: “Warmth” | Sevens: “Keepers of the Castle” | Eights: “Survival” | Nines: “Appetite”

Naranjo says that all self-preserving subtypes are less trusting and more guarded than the other two subtypes of their type. This can be read in the names for each self-preserving subtype, names handed down from Oscar Ichazo, originally in Spanish and now in English. Their concern (valence/attachment) with trust and self-protection is reflected in the names, even Fours who are reckless about security issues. So what might a “sacred space” be like, sound like, and feel like for self-preserving subtypes within organizations or at home?

Here are some possibilities:

Physical Space | A physical space that is truly theirs and both reflects their basic natures, pleases them, and provides them comfort (and this may vary by person and by type). This might be something they co-create that has items that make them feel “at home,” even in the workplace. Many self-preserving subtypes like their things tidy and if they like things messy, they know where to find what they want. Plants are good, a natural and sustainable environment with recycling and natural light. A warm place, not too cold and not too hot. Solar electricity is good, too.

Food | Most people who know subtypes say that self-preserving subtypes like to know the food they want is there when they need it, even if they never get around to eating it. Good food and fresh food and carefully selected food, and in a shared refrigerator at work, some way to indicate that it is theirs. Organic is good, too!

The Social Subtypes
Ones: “Non-adaptability” | Twos: “Ambition” | Threes: “Prestige” | Fours: “Shame” | Fives: “Totem” | Sixes: “Duty” | Sevens: “Sacrifice” | Eights: “Solidarity” | Nines: “Participation”

Naranjo says that the social subtypes of all subtypes are the most intellectual versions of that type. The social subtypes also all have energy flowing toward or away from social groups. Or, they may show a great deal of ambivalence about groups, but there is lots of energy in this ambivalence. So what might a  “sacred space” be like, sound like, and feel like for social subtypes within organizations or at home?

Here are some possibilities:

Physical Space | A physical space that contains a community space, where people can feel comfortable going in and out, yet still feeling part of something. This might have comfortable chairs and sofas where people could relax and chat, with short tables to put things on (books, newspapers, food, papers, drinks), but that don’t obstruct interaction. The space might have plants on the periphery that hold the entire room together. And their individual space at work might have comfortable chairs for several other people to join them. And with this all, social subtypes also need someplace to refuel and recharge away from others, though introverted social subtypes would likely need this more than extroverted social subtypes (though they also need some down-time).

Food | There should be enough food to share with others, either in their office, their kitchen or the community space. Healthy food is good, but so are sweets. People like sweets and this will allow others to want to come and join.

The One-to-One Subtypes
Ones: “Zeal” | Twos: “Aggression/Seduction” | Threes: “Masculinity/Femininity” | Fours: “Competition” | Fives: “Confidence” | Sixes: “Strength/Beauty” | Sevens: “Suggestibility” | Eights: “Possession” | Nines: “Fusion”

The one-to-one subtypes like (love) to engage intensely with one other person, and Naranjo describes them as the most emotional of the three subtypes. So what might a “sacred space” be like, sound like, and feel like for one-to-one subtypes within organizations or at home?

Here are some possibilities:

Physical Space | A physical space where they can talk and engage without being distracted by lots of other people. This can be in a community setting (more people to engage with on a one-to-one basis), but the seating should be really beautiful and comfortable for conversations with one other person, conversations that are not distracted by others coming up and joining without invitation. So set up space where there are sets of really comfortable chairs right next to one another, even facing each other, but separated by one small table. Make sure the acoustics allow for more intimate conversations. In a single office, one extra chair will do. Mood music (no elevator music, please) and exotic plants, too!

Food | Food is not as important as with the other two subtypes, but it should be carefully chosen. Some carefully selected food delicacies and luscious chocolates might work well. Unusual food and drink give them something to talk about and to savor.

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