Tsubos, Spirit and Success

By on June 18, 2013

(This is an excerpt from the introduction to my forthcoming book, Crafting Your Spirit)


It is easier to write a resume than to craft your spirit,

But crafting your spirit makes resumes irrelevant, and success, on your own terms, inevitable.


Writing resumes is symbolic of mass society. Stuck in the past. Focused on the way things have always been done. More interested in what people have done than in who they are today. We have been taught that building careers and accumulating material status is necessary for success, happiness and fulfillment.


But all that is changing. People who have reached these career peaks are discovering that, despite having the toys and the title, they are left strangely unfulfilled. Yet most people continue on doing more of the same. Why?


Simple: They aren’t aware that there is another option. Most people choose building career, status and material possessions by default because that is what they are told success means. Yet even as they are achieving it, they are longing for a deeper sense of meaning, fulfillment and lasting success that can only come from a focus on nurturing their spirit. While the understanding that spiritual growth is the true source of happiness and fulfillment is increasing, it is still far overshadowed by the belief in the importance of the traditional trappings of success.


Crafting our spirits requires a radically different way of thinking. It requires a commitment to personal integrity and accountability that will help us face our fears and step beyond our ego defenses and our need to be right. It requires the constant cultivation of awareness of our both our highest and basest motivations. It requires us to face our fears of following our own path despite judgment, criticism and disapproval from others.


Crafting your spirit is tricky. It requires patience, constant openness to feedback, the willingness to adjust, and a commitment to constantly fine-tuning awareness. It reminds me of studying Shiatsu massage in Kyoto. In Shiatsu there is something called a tsubo. This is a spot on one of the body’s meridians that is raised, indented or hardened. It indicates an imbalance or a blockage. These are the points where pressure needs to be applied to release blocked energy and restore health.


One of the interesting things about these tsubos is that they move. When I placed my finger or elbow on a tsubo at a particular angle, it would only stay there so long before it would subtly move or sometimes quickly “pop out” from under my healing pressure. I would have to release my pressure and come back at it again from another angle. Sometime a particular tsubo would shift five or six times. I had to go back in many times before both I could tell that it was fully released.



To achieve true success – success with soul – requires the application of shiatsu to our lives. We must look for those places where we are hardened, where our energy is blocked, where we are not in the flow and apply pressure over time to them from many angles to heal them. Healing these blocks can be painful and requires both the skill to apply the right type of pressure,  the willingness to release old habits, and the creativity and commitment to persevere in applying healing pressure from different angles over time. If we lack the skill, willingness, courage or persistence we will not be able to release these old patterns and achieve true success and fulfillment.


To determine some of the areas where you might be focused on writing your resume than on crafting your spirit, consider the following questions:

• Am I pursuing this opportunity for the money, power, or status it affords despite the subtle (or obvious) feeling that my heart is not in it?

• Am I taking this career path to please anyone other than myself?

• Do I believe that what I really want to do will not pay enough, not be respected by family, friends, or colleagues or in some other way have a negative consequence?

• If I knew that fulfillment in my work was about changing something in me, not changing my job, what would I need to change?


Finally, if you do nothing else, simply contemplate the quote at the beginning of this article and allow it to deepen your awareness of the actions you want to take to build success on your own terms.

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com