On Using Change to Access Transformation

Standard

In many ways, being an effective leader involves being able to dance with change. This is difficult when the predominant stereotype of the strong leader is one who is a bulwark against change: A strong and effective leader is one who controls such that changes are minimized, if not eliminated.

The problem is that that is not reality. Change is reality. Change is what happens, regardless of what a leader chooses to do. The best that s/he can do it to adapt to change in every moment, to roll with the proverbial punches.

Thus, a crucial and necessary stepping stone in the leadership development journey is to transform our relationship to change. We must embrace that change cannot be managed out but rather can be the access to transformation.

A mantra, or set of aspirational statements, which I’ve been practicing the past few weeks is below:

Change is an inevitable part of life.

May I be kind to whatever feelings come up.

May I stay anchored in this moment.

Advertisements

On Personal Limits as Strength

Standard

This week, the stress of a major work event and having to juggle two different jobs definitely affected me profoundly. I found myself saying, “I can’t do this anymore!”

For someone who is an overachiever, this was a very difficult thing to admit. Confronting my limits has, in my own history, meant failure and defeat.

And yet I found that acknowledging my personal limits was an act of power. For it is truly accepting my boundaries that I am able to begin to have a baseline from which to move and grow.

How ironic that recognizing our limits does not mean failure but rather the possibility of transformation.

The Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary

Standard

As Lent comes to an end, I wanted to devote the next few weeks to exploring the power of the Holy Rosary as an access to continuing to meditate on the life of Jesus and how we might also emulate the Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion of Christ.

The Catholic rosary focuses on four categories of sacred mysteries. The first category is the Joyful Mystery. Joy has often been defined as the experience of Love. It is truly understanding that Love can touch and transform our lives. In the Christian tradition, it is believed that there is no greater Joy, then, than God’s Love touching the world through Jesus. Hence, the Joyful Mysteries give us access to the kind of Unconditional and Universal Love that is possible and which already exists in the world.

How do we experience Joy in our own lives? How do we bring more Love into the world?

In a couple of weeks, I will be releasing “Tapping Into the Power of the Holy Rosary,” a digital audio and e-booklet that will guide people in praying the rosary and using the sacred mysteries as inspiration for living life with more Wisdom, Courage, and Compassion. Look out for it!

On Developing a Positive Relationship to Suffering

Standard

It’s been a long while since I have written a blog post. I happen to be developing an e-course on “Living a Sacred, Fulfilling Life” and it seems that Life has been providing me with ample opportunities to move through my own curriculum.

One key idea in that curriculum with which I am being at this moment is transforming our relationship to suffering. As the Buddha realized, it is natural that, as human beings, we experience suffering because having that experience comes along with the grasping/desire-seeking parts of us that are hard-wired after millennia of human evolution. And as a means of coping, we have developed a resistance to the suffering caused by unfulfilled desires.

Even if the resistance automatically comes up, this does not mean that we do not have a choice as to how we react to that resistance and thus, to the suffering. We can begin to transform our relationship to our suffering such that it begins something positive from which we can learn.

So my mantra right now is: “May my suffering bring clarity and lead me back to my truth.”

On the Way to True Healing

Standard

This morning, I was reading from Pema Chodron’s teaching around the practice of tonglen, which is transforming how I relate to and be with the energy of my emotions. She mentioned the “soft spot,” and my heart stirred.

For most, like myself, the automatic reaction to anger, fear, sadness, shame, etc., is to tighten and harden ourselves. Our muscles tense up. There is tightness in our chests. It’s like our bodies and souls are bracing ourselves, protecting that last part of ourselves from potential hurt.

If there is anything that the last two weeks, working with my partner to bring healing to our relationship and taking the biggest steps to let go of my addiction, have taught me, it is that the way through is not to strong-arm my way. Rather, it is to open myself up all the way to that soft spot, to the last piece of me that I am hiding away. It is about bringing the tenderness up into the light. It is only by bringing the soft spot out that I make myself wholly and completely available to Life‘s healing grace.

The First Requirement for Change

Standard

Sometimes, the only way to crawl out of the hole is to fall completely into it. It’s only after the pain of having hitting the floor, hugging oneself in the darkness, that one discovers that things need to be different. It’s not because I’m a glutton for punishment or that I only learn the hard way. Rather, it is the case that sometimes, some habits and behavioral patterns are so ingrained that it almost feels like I can’t find my way out, and it takes the rough times to break down the old habits to make space for the new ones. …

As I move through one of those spaces, I am reminded of two different stories. First, there is the Annunciation to the Virgin Mary that she was to conceive the baby Jesus. Despite how freaky the moment might have been for her as a Jewish virgin woman, she declared, “[B]e it done to my according to your word.” And in the garden, in the last night before his crucifixion, her son, Jesus, prayed first that the cup might pass before him. Then, he surrendered, declaring, “Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.”

For me, these moments are reminders of what is required for real change to occur. It is one thing to say that we desire change. It is a whole other thing to be completely willing and open to change, no matter the darkness through which must travel.

As Louise L. Hay affirms in You Can Heal Your Life, “I am willing to change.”

Keeping the Dark Night of the Soul in Perspective

Standard

So I continue with my Lenten process of surrender and renewal. This intentional period of self-reflection has brought up so much stuff for me, … stuff I thought I had dealt with, … stuff I thought was forgiven, … stuff that I hadn’t expected. In yesterday’s blog entry, I mentioned that the first step towards Transformation is a profound acceptance of current reality.

Yet, at this stage of the journey –  the beginnings of what the “dark night of the soul” most closely associated with St. John of the Cross – there is a tendency to want to wipe the slate clean. Either, we seek to invalidate the past, beating ourselves up for things long done: “If I had only done this, …” or “I should have done that. …” Or, we think the only way to evolve the Self is to rid ourselves of any and everything that has the appearance of not working in the present moment: We begin to cut out relationships, purge our homes of photographs and old letters, erase contacts from our smartphones and Facebook.

Neither of these approaches is wrong per se, so long as we remember that it is all in the name of creating space. Forgiveness isn’t about rewriting the past or the present; rather, it is about letting go in the present so that there is space for a new future to be birthed.