Tag Archive for: holidays

The Wisdom of Ram Dass: Family, Enlightenment, and Holiday Realizations

The spiritual leader Ram Dass once said, “If you think you’re enlightened, spend a week with your family.” Most of us immediately know what he means. As we approach the holiday season, these words take on a deeper significance, reminding us of the complex dynamics that can emerge when we gather with our loved ones. 

Ram Dass’s quote is a playful yet profound reminder that, while we may consider ourselves to be enlightened or spiritually evolved, our interactions with family members can reveal a different side of us. 

Our families are often where we’ve experienced some of our most profound emotional experiences, both positive and negative. These experiences have left a deep imprint on our psyches, and when we come together with our families, these long-standing emotional connections can rekindle old feelings, triggers, and unresolved issues.

The holiday season, with its emphasis on tradition and togetherness, brings its own set of expectations. There’s often an unspoken pressure to have the perfect family gathering, which can lead to added stress and anxiety. These external pressures can amplify existing family tensions.

Individuals change and evolve over time, and sometimes family members may resist or not fully grasp these changes. This disconnect can lead to feelings of isolation or frustration, especially when you return home with a new perspective on life.

So, what can we take away from Ram Dass’s wisdom as we navigate the holiday season?

First, it’s essential to approach family gatherings with a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness. Recognize that these dynamics are a part of the human experience, and that it’s normal to be challenged by them. Practice self-compassion, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you find that family interactions trigger unexpected emotions or reactions.

Second, use these moments as opportunities for growth and self-reflection. Recognize that the challenges you face with your family can be a valuable mirror for personal growth. By observing your reactions and emotions, you can gain deeper insights into your own journey and continue to evolve as a person.

Finally, embrace the positive aspects of family gatherings. While there may be moments of tension, family also offers love, support, and connection. Cherish the time you have together and remember that these relationships are a significant part of your life.

In the end, Ram Dass’s quote reminds us that our families are, in many ways, our greatest teachers. They reflect the depths of our emotions, the extent of our growth, and the boundless capacity for love and connection. This holiday season, let us approach our family gatherings with an open heart, a mindful spirit, and an appreciation for the journey we all share.

December Letter: The Most Wonderland Time of the Year

What a lovely time of the year in the accounting profession.  November- a month largely devoid of pressing compliance deadlines- provided space to pause, catch one’s breath, and engage in a gratitude* practice.  Although year-end deadlines and the anticipation of busy season loom, the holiday season offers us moments to enjoy time with friends, family, and community.  The year’s end also presents an excellent opportunity to reflect on the prior year and give thought to what the next year holds for your development.

Throwback to last November and I was speaking at the AICPA Women’s’ Global Leadership Summit. The entire conference was an amazing experience and one that I highly recommend.  The speakers are informative and inspiring. More-so, I had numerous heartfelt, mind expanding conversations with fellow attendees last year. 

Not only did I consider going again this year, I planned to research event sponsorship and considered inviting my team and clients to join us.  This prospective research became an action on my to-do list- an action that was not getting done. I hemmed.  I hawed.  I spoke with our team’s Conscious Connecter, Brianna about what to do.  (Side note: Bri also serves as my executive assistant, life coach, safe place to land, and accountability partner.  I suggest you cultivate this type of relationship if you don’t have one. Every leader needs someone like this ) So why wasn’t I taking action? Because, if I was honest with myself, I actually wanted to be somewhere else.

Last year I really wanted to attend Wonderland, which is also held each November. But participating in both conferences would have meant I would be away from home for ten days or I’d have to travel between San Diego and Miami back-to-back weeks.  I won’t go that long away from my family. And at this point in my life, I am no longer willing to overexert myself with too many travel commitments.   Which reminds me of something a treasured past client recently sent….

…. ouch.

This November was momentous for me and foreshadowed what’s  to come in 2024. I was invited to speak at the Wonderland Conference on a panel discussion with Adeptus Partners – an accounting firm pioneering pathways in psychedelics.  This mind expanding conference brings a diverse community focused on mental health, longevity and psychedelics. As a huge mental health advocate, I left Wonderland feeling even more inspired by the promise of psychedelic assisted therapies. 

Just like with AICPA conferences, I went to Wonderland with a desire to draw wisdom from the sessions and make deep connections with the community.   My favorite session was on “Psychedelics and Leadership Development.” I felt affirmed by Peter Carnochan’s perspective.  When asked why leaders are turning to psychedelic assisted therapy, he stated today’s leaders are short on time and psychedelics allow you to drop in deep and quickly.  Or as noted on my bio, psychedelic assisted therapy has been the most efficient and effective inner work I have done. Fellow panelist Dr. Amy Albright blew my mind with her commentary about coaching in systems. 🗣️”Anything that’s not refined in the CEO will show up in the teams.” 🤯

Amen! I didn’t have the language to explain why I felt a knowing to shift my own practice to coaching groups of leaders instead of only doing one-off engagements. It can be counterproductive to only coach an emerging leader (aka “on partner track”). I’ve observed Coachees feel frustration when their higher-level leaders have yet to do the inner work required for a higher level of leadership performance. On that note, our coach team is currently doing the deep work with Ascension – a leadership development experience for teams. For those of you seeking guidance on this process, drop me an email and we can talk through options or check out our overview here.

Conferences are filled with big ideas but insights will only get you so far. So how am I going to integrate my experience at Wonderland? By taking action.

–   Submit my MCC application by March 30, 2024 – The master certified coach (MCC) designation is the highest certification from the International Coach Federation.  Only 4% of ICF certified coaches obtain this and I will join those ranks. Why? Old me would have done it for the ego snack.  Today’s version of self sees the value of the credibility the designation will bring. I feel the MCC will support my mission to professionalize psychedelic integration coaching.

–   Psychedelic coach training– I’ve had this on my radar for over a year now.  But I have struggled to find the right program for me. Many programs are specific to one medicine and/or they overly emphasize the psychedelic journey and minimize what happens after the experience.  In my (not so humble opinion), after the journey is where the magic happens. Alas, I may have met my tribe via the aforementioned panel. I already scheduled an information session and suspect you will read about my enrollment in the months to come.

–   Be a conduit between accounting and the business of psychedelics – According to Business Wire, “(t)he global market for psychedelic drugs reached $3.7 billion in 2021. This market is projected to reach $5.7 billion by the end of 2027.”  Wake up accounting, there is an entire market waiting to be served. I will continue to raise awareness with thought leadership, like this recent podcast with Accounting High: D.A.R.E Psychedelic After School Special. If you are able to watch (and not just listen) you can view some really wild propaganda that was fed to many of us in our youth. 🍳🍳🍳 

As you head into the holiday season, be easy on yourself.  We are told it is the most wonderful time of the year and it can be.  But it can also be really challenging.  Year-end planning creates a crunch and time with family can be magical and/or stressful.  Which reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from Ram Dass: “If you think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family.” 

Blessings,

Amber

* We are actually fans of a practice of gratitude.  This practice literally rewires your brain to be happier – just like psychedelics in a fraction of the time.