Is the suit a symbol of oppression, or a symbol of liberation?
As filmmaker Guy Ritchie states, there are many businesspeople who go to work in a suit because they have to. The suit doesn’t fit. Something within them rebels against the suit. And so the suit wears them. It becomes a straightjacket. And yet Guy Ritchie loves to wear suits. His suits have become his shining armour. He knows who he is and why he is doing what he is doing. He wears the suit. And makes it his own.
So, is the suit a symbol of oppression, or a symbol of liberation? The answer is that it depends on how you wear it. And so here we arrive at a crucial distinction. What you do for a living is important, but it’s not the most important thing. It is what you bring to that work that is of the essence. You have to own the work, and you have to own the time that you put into it. You have to be present to what you do, and to the people who are there when you do it. So, when you work you are there, and your spirit is with you. And to do that, to be that, you need to know who you are. You need to learn how to say “yes” to your Authentic Self, and “no” to those who do not honour that.
Writer Natalie Goldberg puts it like this: “If you really want to be a runner but you think you should meditate, make running your practice and go deeply into it at all levels.”[i] This is exactly right.
This is a short extract from my upcoming book, Power and Presence.
[i] Natalie Goldberg, “Writing Down the Bones.”