BY MELISSA CEDILLO
In the workplace Slack channel, in my community’s group chat, and even in small talk at awkward networking events; the news cycle finds a way to come up. It is part of what makes living DC so dang exciting. You feel close to the action. The State of the Union address is happening and you are literally blocks away. A committee is about to have a hearing and you could attend if you would like. Participating in democracy seems more accessible than usual. Your phone lights up with a notification that another person is running for President in 2020 and so do the phones of the 20 other people on the metro.
There is also the feeling of having an obligation to stay up-to-date so as to not become apathetic to what's going in the world around you. Yet, If you are not careful, checking Twitter for the next big headline can become all consuming. Figuring who has read which article and who saw it first can become competitive. This process can bring out ugly traits. I myself am guilty of obsessively checking for new headlines and updates. How does one find a balance?
At the end of January, I began a new service placement called Faith in Public Life. They mentioned having “rapid responses” to current events in my interview and I was immediately hooked, “checking the news” would be part of my job. Faith in Public is much more than what I expected. Being rooted in faith, they are intentional about work-life balance which creates a healthy intake of news per day. Faith in Public life ensures that themes of justice are present in the office and not only in the response statements they send to their community. The office takes active steps in having respectful dialogue during staff meetings. Staff members address issues of race and gender in their daily schedules. Each person’s opinion is respected. Feedback is constructive and fruitful. It is inspiring to see faith in action through the way people conduct themselves in the workplace. I feel empowered and humbled to work with an incredible team.
Faith in Public Life has deepened my understanding of what spirituality in the workplace looks like. I am constantly reminded to put my energy in faith rather than a headline. The meditation room in the office reminds me that finding a moment to breathe is part of staying spiritually renewed. It is rare to find a place in DC that encourages you to disconnect. Keeping up with the news cycle from a faith perspective makes the process less draining. Starting each staff meeting with a prayer or a reading reminds my why this place does what it does and why I do what I do. Not for reward, but because we believe in our hearts that this Earth was created for peace.
The news comes at us fast. It can bog us down and burn us out. Checking the news and spreading the news is a staple of DC culture. The danger comes when this habit affects the core of who we are. It is easy for headlines to determine how much hope we have that day. Articles can motivate us and also leave us feeling defeated. Faith in Public Life has reminded me to stay grounded. The practice of spirituality in the office has taught me how to let this flow in all aspects of my life. This breath of spirituality is what has sustained me in DC. I challenge you to find ways that spirituality is present in your workplace.
Melissa Cedillo was born and raised a Southern Californian native. She studied Theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Melissa is passionate about the intersectionality of domestic violence awareness, immigration rights, and education. She enjoy reading, hiking, traveling, and road trips.
In Their Own Words
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