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  • Writer's picturekarri winn

Creating A Sacred Livelihood

Updated: Jun 16, 2018

Since 1993 I have practiced Nia, a somatic movement technique comprised of 52 principles to teach people body-centered awareness.

In 2002, I asked my Nia teacher, Carlos Rosas, an almost incidental question.

I was confounded by Nia Principle 11: Business + Marketing, which, in my mind, had nothing to do with the body. I asked Carlos, “What does business and marketing have to do with the body? I don’t get how Principle 11 is in fact a principle for body awareness.” Carlos looked at me replying tersely, “I think you need to answer your own question.”

However it happened in the great mysteries of life, this question became the genesis of a quest that lead me to discover my life’s purpose, the importance of purpose for human vitality and a body-centered business philosophy.

It took me seven years to fulfill the prophecy. Along the way I found five keys that eventually wove together in a remarkable way.

Later in 2002, something happened in my life that was absolutely unforeshadowed.

I enrolled in an MBA program – not to answer The Question. I was essentially an early adopter in Sustainable Management at a fledgling business school devoted to the triple bottom line. Yet, it was still business school – which was without doubt - the last thing I could have imagined doing.

Still, it was my destiny. It would have been impossible to answer The Question without understanding business administration, theory and application. While my initial motivation was sustainability, I now passionately believe that business is the über vehicle for creating meaning in the world, a transcending gesture beyond sustainability.

My business school mentor, Jane Lorand gave me the first three keys. In her course called Critical Thinking and Diffusion of Innovation, Jane asked “[h]ow do you know your idea is a good idea”? Well good is a subjective frame, in terms of uncertainty and complexity, the ultimate measures are purpose and philosophy- keys #1 + 2. Purpose measures good vis-à-vis your desired outcome. Philosophy measures good vis-à-vis your worldview, that is, “what do you believe is real and true and important about the world?

Our worldviews begin developing before we even have language. What we believe is the conceptual water for all of our thinking – our preferences, reasons and opinions all fundamentally stem from our beliefs. Two things about worldviews continuously astound me. 1) Most people cannot, with clarity state what they believe is real and true and important about the world, 2) Absolutely every single human being has a unique philosophy.

The 3rd key is that I have unique gifts and I bring those gifts to the world leveraged against 3 a priori resources: time, consciousness and life force energy. Of the 2, consciousness + life force are structurally coupled to time, which is finite. My time, to me, is of inestimable value.

I found the 4th key in Manfred Max-Neef’s human needs framework, which radically displaces the Malthusian Pyramid. Max-Neef helped me understand being level needs like identity, freedom and creativity. Humans have profound intangible needs that, by and large, are not satisfied through commerce.

In 2009 I took a course called Creativity and Right Livelihood. Right livelihood is a concept from the 8-fold Buddhist path. I began to contemplate the idea intently. One day I had the impulse to look up the definition of the word sacred – the 5th key. Using Internet divination, the first entry on my search was from Sacred: Dedicated or devoted exclusively to a single use, purpose or person. Whereupon I immediately heard the voice of my body say “that’s me to you, I am dedicated exclusively to you, to the purpose of your life – You are Sacred!” Instantly I recognized this truth for all human beings. In a flood of understanding, the answer to the question “what does business and marketing have to do with body”, washed through my cells and my body-centered business philosophy was born.

In conclusion, my answer.

The essential gesture of a business is making offerings that satisfy needs. The gesture of a human being is offering one’s gifts. Each of us will exist once in all time – our bodies, what we believe, our purpose and the special attributes that each of us are imbued with are priceless. When we bring our gifts to the world, we create meaning, which satisfies profound being level needs, that remarkably, have a biological benefit of enhancing physical health.

Our livelihood is the sum total of our choices and actions. Everything that we experience as our life – the clothes we are wearing, our jobs, the food we eat, our relationships, walks in nature – everything is the result of choices and physical actions, that is the business of our body.

Each person’s livelihood is unique and therefore it is sacred.

Purpose is one of the most powerful ways that human beings create meaning. Plus, people who know their purpose are healthier, live longer and have higher quality lives.

Purpose is an intent; a desired result or outcome. Your life purpose is like a North Star that gives you clarity of direction, like a compass point to your destiny.

If I know what I believe and if I know my purpose - my unique path to bring my gifts to the world, I, Karri Winn, increase naturally, organically, the ROI of choices and actions that result in, what I call the double top line: financial, material resources and meaning. Meaning is arguably the most important psychological and spiritual need for a person to satisfy.

Finally, regarding marketing, a body-centered perspective, this is about self-promotion. Pro + Motion meaning forward moving, specifically, bringing your unique gifts that will exist once in all time into the world. Self-promotion is truly the mastery pathway to self love – the degree to which I love myself is the degree to which I will be willing to make choices and actions to live into my purpose, which is how I bring my gifts to bear.

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