Contrary to popular belief, ambition and spirituality aren’t in opposition to each other.
- Ambition is a strong desire to achieve something.
- Spirituality is connection with our essence, our spirit that’s already whole and perfect.
From my perspective, the important thing is understanding the motivation behind our ambition.
The externals (academic achievement, upper echelon title at work, bling, financial status, the super-duper whamodyne car in the garage) isn’t who we are.
When we remove the externals—strip down and get bare naked to the internals—we reach our essence, our being. That’s where abundance resides: peace, joy, compassion, gratitude, inspiration, creativity, and grace—our basic wealth.
It’s from our essence that we pursue our passion—an expansion of who we are. Living our passion fuels both the internal and the external aspects of our self.
It’s from our essence that we utilize our talents, achieve our ambitions, and live our potential—to make a positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing impression on those in our sphere of influence.
When was the last time you got bare naked—right down to your essence?
I think I am moving in that direction more and more. Thanks, Laurie!
Olga — Yaaaaay you! 🙂
I love this: understanding the motivation behind our ambition.
It’s really got me thinking. I recently thought my ambition was one thing, but turns out it’s not. Something else has made an appearance, something I’ve been doing all along but in the background, and now I’ve come to that dilemma – what to choose? I know I’d be happier concentrating on one thing – there’s only so many hours in the day…
Food for thought 🙂 Thank you, Laurie!
Sassy Brit — You’re one smart cookie; I’m confident you’ll make the best choice 🙂
If we age consciously, we “fall upward” toward our essence and our ambitions become more spiritual. Mary Catherine Bateson and Richard Rohr are two important guides to this process. So are you, Laurie. Great post!
Shirley — Thank you so much for sharing Mary Catherine Bateson and Richard Rohr here. Here’s to falling UPWARD 🙂
Yes to Shirley’s additions to your wisdom! I’ve found both Bateson and Rohr helpful. Most recently Krista Tippett’s interview of Bateson, “Composing a Life,” held my attention on my morning walks. It can be found here if your readers are interested:
Kathleen — Thank you for sharing this link. I look forward to delving into it this evening 🙂
Funny how we’ve always thought it was non-spiritual to be ‘ambitious.’ All my life, I’ve claimed I’m not ambitious (after all, it’s not a pretty trait in women…). Your post brings to the forefront what’s been in the back of my mind a long time. Several years ago, a successful acquaintance said to me, “Of course you’re ambitious. Look at all your writing, and how you’re pushing to make yourself and your stories better, word by word, book by book. You are extremely ambitious.”
Huh. I guess she’s right.
I love how your ambition is pushing you into great things.
And I love that photo of you!
Pamela — I’m so glad this post resonated with you 🙂
We often hear the expression “blind ambition.” Perhaps that is the difference–when someone is focused only on the achievement of something without examining the motivation behind it and blind to the consequences.
I like the photo, too.
Completely off-topic,Laurie–but here in the south, the question always arises: Is it butt-naked or buck-naked? No one has the answer…..Happy Tuesday to you!
LoisaJay — And now I’m grinning from ear to ear and will be pondering your question all day long! 🙂
Ha! Let me know if you find out the answer!
Loisajay, being from the South myself, I can say with confidence the answer to your question is BUCK Naked, not butt naked. To be even more correct, one would say, “Buck nekked”. As in “He broke howling from the briar patch, buck nekked as the day he was born.”. You get naked at the doctor’s office, but getting nekked means you are probably up to no good.
Wow! This post is pure alchemy. Combining ambition with spirituality would seem like trying to make two magnets connect at their north poles. Can’t happen! But surprise: these elements combine in an unexpected way to create transformative energy. Bravo!
Sharon — I’m so glad this post hit the spot with you. Thank you for letting me know 🙂
Synchronicity in timing. I’ve been struggling with choosing between ambition and my joy. Very interesting that the ‘thing behind the thing’ of ambition IS being driven by joy or essence. A new side to the coin I have been shown…
Lana — So good to see YOU! And yes, it’s “the thing behind the thing.” 🙂
I read all your articles they are very good and helpful. I especially liked last weeks about Willa and courage. Thanks Laurie. Mary
Sent from my iPhone
Mary — I’m so glad you enjoy the content at Tuesdays With Laurie. Thank you for letting me know 🙂
I love this Laurie …. stripping down to our essence can reveal a different ambition and direction in life. I know I never imagined I would be a coach and then a teacher …. but that is my calling. Thank you 💛
Val — I’m so glad this post resonates with you. Thank you so much for letting me know 🙂
I’m jumping into the shower now!
On our trip, I noticed a quote from British Columbian Emily Carr, writer/author/naturalist: “I don’t want to trickle out. I want to pour till the pail is empty, the last bit going out in a gush, not drops.” The alchemy of spirituality and strong desire would enable such accomplishment, I think.
I also hope Len was your photographer. Ha!
Marian — I absolutely love the Emily Carr quote you shared here. Thank you!
And yes, Len was the photographer 🤣
Oh yes, how was your trip Marian? So sorry we were unable to find a time that would work for us to connect with the new gallery opening but I hope you got to see and do many of the adventures on your list.
Terrill, my August 30 post will feature highlights from British Columbia. We were wowed (once again) by the astonishing beauty in Vancouver and Victoria.I hope your art launch was a smashing success!
Connecting with our spiritual self, our essence, I would agree is an upward spiral. Spiral dynamics has been useful to me in understanding the breakdowns, breakthroughs, and forward thrusts of human evolution. A quote that I believe resonates with ambition and spirituality (although slightly different in emphasis): “Life is dynamic and in a continuous flux of change. Although we may strive for stability and control, we are continuously swinging from a state of chaos into a state of order and back again. This is a given. This is a fact. We only need to dynamically and consciously steer along with how life presents itself. Our life conditions are leading as they determine which values, motives and behavior are the most appropriate in a given context.” Here’s a resource: http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/en/integral-vision-2/
Laurie, you may be interested in related color references.
Audrey — Yes, indeed! 🎨
Audrey — THANK YOU for sharing the quote and the link. I’m going to enjoy digging into it! 🙂
I suspect you are very familiar intuitively, intellectually, and spiritually with SD!
I see why you said this would connect with my latest blog post, Laurie. Thank you for directing me here. I appreciate what you have to say about getting down to our essence. Good food for thought!
Lucinda — Something to chew on 🙂
In this sense (and most others if the truth be told 😉 I am not sure I have ever acquired much of a wardrobe Laurie. I love that bare-naked-raw-source with light breeze on my skin experience! There is a clarity and richness that serves up integrity, compassion, clarity, drive and freedom in amounts that make my skin tingle from the inside out with this kind of bare-naked living. I will take it any day over bling and consumption. That said, it is easy to take this position when I have enough, more than enough, of all the basics in life like lots of LOVE from a partner, family and friends, a creative passion, a thriving community, abundance of whole foods, a great education, good health and universal health care, comfortable walking shoes and a raincoat for west coast winters and a home with running hot and cold water and refrigeration and car in good shape and finally, no dept! Not that I put any more clothes over my inner-being when I didn’t have some of these things but it is easier to stay centered when life is this good in a crazy world turning itself upside down. Somehow, I always have been able to count my blessings in some of these areas all the time, particularly the first one – lots of love and the second one – a creative passion and a third one that is maybe more personal – freedom to choose.
Great post Laurie and one that has me thinking about the complexity of our desires to thrive. All the best of the week ahead and sure do love seeing all those awards for you book! Nicely done!!!
Terrill — I enjoyed reading your thoughtful explanation, thank you.
“I will take it any day over bling and consumption.” Amen siSTAR! ⭐
How perfectly well said. You have put in beautiful words what I always feel inwards. The externals are all vanity. It is what burns inside us that matters. 🙂
And what a sensuous photo of you. 🙂 Thanks so much, Laurie. 🙂
ReadingInPleasure — I’m so glad this post resonated with you.
I’m currently working on a writing project that requires me to draw from my essence. Surprisingly, I’m finding the challenge of standing naked very empowering. (I’ve spent too many years trying to hide or disguise myself.) Sort of like looking in the mirror and saying, “This is me.” And then smiling at the reflection and saying, “Wow, this is me.”–and not in an egotistical way, but rather from self-acceptance that comes out of self-love
Leanne — yes, Yes, YES! 🙂
My love told me the other day I do intimacy well and in a way no other person he’s dated has quite managed to come close. To strip things back and get at their essence, I take readily to the task, though it would take me a while to fully articulate why I am good at doing so, especially given the environment I grew up in.
Jeri — I applaud people who’ve used their non-positive early home life as a launch pad AWAY from negativity and into creativity. My hat is off to YOU!
So true! I find material possessions don’t really add up to your happiness and I suppose that’s why I found it so easy to get rid of stuff, empty house and get away with what we really needed for our long trip in motorhome. I feel I am doing what I always wanted to do and the real me is a lot happier for it. I believe I am also speaking for my husband. 👍❤
Fatima — I think that’s fantastic; my hat is off to the two of you! 🙂
I am slowly stripping down to my bare essential self by moving from a good sized home into a townhouse that is half the size of this one. It is making both my husband and myself conscious of the things that we really need rather than what we want. We are interested in simplifying our life style as we age yet live comfortably without adding extra stress to an already stressed out world.
Joan — I applaud your next steps. I think it’s wonderful! 🙂
I have been most of my life spiritually driven or motivated. Now not so much, in my older years. A recent psychic/healing reading told me I was on my true path….I guess I am trying to define what that it….Healing is the only word that comes to mind….and bare naked I am still fat
Patricia — If healing is your true path, that sounds pretty darned terrific to me 🙂
Dr. Laurie! You ask some really tough questions. Questions that really make you search deeply and ponder widely. I truly believe that for the last few months, my nakedness has been exposed, therefore, allowing my creativity, peace and joy to burst forward. I am still a work in progress. Thank you for challenging our motivations!
Jayden — I’m so glad this post resonates with you; thank you for letting me know 🙂
Laurie, what an excellent question and one to send some searching thoughts poking through my mind to see what interesting things I could ferret out. My spiritual life and my ambition seem to go well together. My ambitions earlier in Life were much stronger in the financial and practical matters, making a home, raising a family, running a business. Now I just want to sit back, grow some flowers and veggies, count my Blessings and thank The Creator for his interest in gardening!
Sandi — Well put, dear friend. Well put! 🙂
Every time I walk into my writing group, I walk in with just my bathing cap and rubber duck and I even leave them at the door . All group members are as honest as they can be, holding nothing back . When I come out I feel cleansed , like I have offloaded my soul to them and them to me . It’s serious stuff this writing business isn’t it Laurie .
Cherry — I love, Love, LOVE the word picture you painted here. And yes, this writing stuff is serious business.
Thank you for another thoughtful post, Laurie. I love that you have raised ambition out of its traditional place alongside gluttony, sloth, et al. For me, it’s the ability to know your calling and to feel passion in pursuing it. So, it is connected to spirituality in an important way. Both require an ability to “know thyself.” Hadn’t thought of the connection before. Thank you.
Janet — I love that you brought in the all-important “know thyself” aspect. Thank you! 🙂
The term essence seems to me to hide some assumptions that don’t hold up very well.
Sure we can strip away superficial stories that over simplify the complexity that we are, and we are each complex, much more like a city than like a singular entity, and there is a singular aspect that emerges from that complexity.
It seems to me that there is power in understanding both the singular and the multitudinous aspects of what we seem to be.
It seems likely that I’ve gone a bit deeper into that exploration than most.
I spend quite a bit of time in those depths.
In that sense, I’m about as naked as anyone ever is.
Ted — Yes, you’re in the D-E-E-P end of the pool, and that’s precisely why I like you so much! 🏊🏻♂️
Reblogged this on rose bingham and commented:
So beautiful, and a philosophy for living life.
Last night in the shower!!! 🙂