Most women today find themselves defined by their connection to others—as mothers, wives, employees, sisters, daughters or friends. Because of this, many lose touch with the most important connection they have—the one with themselves.
The result is often a battle of conflicting impulses between work and family, a life of stress, anxiety and tension in which women react to difficult situations rather than effectively dealing with them as they arise. It’s a tough way to live.
But women can change this experience, says author and CEO Alka Dhillon. In her new book, The OM Factor: A Woman’s Spiritual Guide to Leadership (SelectBooks, 2015) she shares her advice on creating a spiritual foundation that allows readers to find the internal peace that will lead to external success and holistic fulfillment.
What is “OM”? It’s a mantra of Hindu origin chanted during meditations at the beginning and end of a yoga session. Yoga and the meditation that came with it helped Dhillon as a young woman experience “a change in the way I saw and perceived my surroundings,” a change that would fundamentally change her life for the better.
“Learning meditation enabled me to go beyond my physical body and physical experiences and open myself up to perceiving things through a different lens,” she writes. “I felt an inner sense of strength which enabled me to move forward on my journey through life and navigate through what was to come next in my path.”
Dhillon is very specific in the “spiritual” aspect of her spiritual guide. “I am not, of course, talking here about following a dogma of organized religion,” she writes. “I am referring to true spirituality—having a path that guides and allows a person to discover the essence of his or her being by looking within.
“When I was thinking about the intrinsic qualities of someone who flows through life successfully and makes it seem effortless, I noticed that these people are really in tune with all aspect of themselves: their body, mind and spirit,” she writes. “They look healthy and have a glow about them. They are very sharp and quick to respond. They are also extremely aware of themselves and their actions. I then realized that these people have that something special that enabled their success. I coined it The OM Factor.”
In the book, Dhillon provides practical ways to deal with feelings that arise in everyday life, ways that will ultimately help them become more successful and happy. She provides tools to help women handle “in the moment” conflicts, such as when they feel overwhelmed, inadequate, anxious, indecisive, resentful, angry, disrespected or taken advantage of. And she shows readers how to repair the reason that the situations became anxiety-provoking to begin with.
Dhillon also develops what she calls “the spiritual traits that are key to being able to handle life’s curveballs, as well as reducing the frequency of them appearing in your life.
“Those individuals who have the OM Factor (and a high one at that) are able to deal with challenging situations as they arise,” Dhillon writes. “They have learned to not react involuntarily to difficult situations, but to intentionally respond to them. They are able to do this by constantly being very aware of their deep a direct connection to their source—their spirit.”
Too often, we’re trained to look outward to find happiness, peace and success. Instead, according to Dhillon, we can choose to look inward for those ultimate goals. “We all breathe the same air,” she writes. “However, some of us breathe it quickly and some more slowly. It is the same with spirit. We all have it, but some of us are more aware and connected to it than others.
“The good news is, like breathing, it takes a millisecond to change your experience,” Dhillon writes. “Fast or slow, asleep or awake. It is all in your control and all your choice.”