How we think about leadership shapes how we approach its presence and development in our lives. Behind our predominant economic model and our political structure is the very tricky idea that for there to be leaders, there have to be followers. A divide is created between those who are so-called “followers” and those who lead. An assumption is made about the capacity of others to make a difference.
How would we approach our leadership development differently if we came from the place that every single person has a contribution to make to the improvement of this world?
Rather than people being the cogs in the business machine, what if instead they each play a critical part in finding the best possible solution given the resource constraints?
I’ve been doing a lot of exploration, both through my mindfulness practice and through somatic work with my therapist, of the body. It is unfortunate that centuries of a mechanistic and reductivist approach to science has meant that we relate to the body as a machine. It is 0nly in the past two decades that homeopathy and ancient wisdom traditions, like yoga and tai chi, have made a resurgence to reconnect us to our bodies.
As I have written in the past and as Martha Graham was purported to have said, “The body never lies.” It is through the body that we are able to even experience the world. Our senses give us the capacity to have a felt experience of the Universe. Our emotions cause bodily experiences that cue us in on something coming up for us.
Becoming an effective and authentic leader means paying better attention to the body. It means really listening to our gut. It means really leading from the heart. It means really getting into our seat and grounding ourselves in our truth as we experience it.
How might you start listening to the body’s wisdom today?
We live in a world of appearances. As much as we might hate to admit it, it is all too easy to put up facades in order avoid shame and hide where we feel we are insufficient and lacking. We’re not young / rich / smart /popular / thin enough, etc. We fall short of our own high expectations and/or that of those whose love we crave.
As I work to create for myself my own brand of authentic leadership, one of the facades I am working to tear down is the fear of saying “I don’t know.” Admitting that I don’t know touches a sense of insecurity and self-doubt that I would rather not explore.
Yet, “I don’t know…” is the preamble to a more courageous declaration:
“I don’t know right now, and I am open and available to Life’s Wisdom.”
This is an act of humility that invites a greater Wisdom to come forth. It is not a commentary on a perpetual state of ignorance, but rather acknowledgment of the changing nature of Life and that Wisdom is available to us once we makes ourselves available to it.
A lot of personal growth and leadership development literature focuses on the journey to a life that you love. What of the the other way around?
How does Life love you?
How does Life show you support by clearing your schedule, by communicating a piece of wisdom exactly when you need, by sending you down a detour that actually saves you time on the way home from a long day? How does love show up in a stranger’s smile, in your friend’s caring attention, in your partner’s loving touch?
Human beings are hard-wired to look for all the things that are wrong with our lives. Think of the difference it would make in our lives if we experienced Life is fully supporting and loving us all the time!
There are moments in life where one wakes up, looks around, and asks oneself, “Is this all there is?” … Is this the relationship I want to continue with? Is this the job I saw myself being in? Is this how I want to spend the days of my life? … These are the critical moments of tenderness and humility when we choose between settling and leaping into the unknown, between surrender and resignation.
I was once asked, “What is the difference between surrender and resignation?” Resignation and settling means that we have given up hope. It is the limited self no longer seeing any possibility beyond what we already know.
In contract, surrender is an act of wisdom. It is a profound acceptance of Life. It is saying “I don’t know” and putting all that we are into the hands of something greater than ourselves.
In this way, surrender is not an act of capitulation, but rather one of victory for our Highest Self.
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!
In the Buddhist tradition, there is a beautiful metaphor called “Indra’s net.” Indra, the Vedic/Hindu god of the heavens, has hanging above his home a net that stretches to the edges of the Universe. The net connects all things of the Universe. It is like a spiderweb. And when one strikes a part of the spiderweb, the entire spiderweb vibrates.
Such is the Universe in which we live. It is an interconnected Universe. When one part of the multidimensional web is struck, the entire web vibrates.
When one person makes the journey towards the fullest expression of who they are and only as they could be, the entire Universe begins to shift.