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In our first coaching session, he stated, “I’m not sure I’m passionate anymore.”

Unhelpful guidance, profusely proffered without permission, contains anything but meaning. So difficult it can be to let go of expectations, not letting go of any optimism for good, but the false assumptions we find clinging to us like soot from a toxic fire.

I suppose finding and knowing meaning depends on where one looks for it. Even more debilitating is if one no longer believes meaning is possible. It is a major shift when you finally grasp that meaning is created within the flow of it all, abundance available in the movement of internal to external and your Trueness active in the world.

The mystery is, in part, found in our own journey.

Less important is seeking any specific explanation of mystery and more important is opening to what is; experiencing the present so as to receive the meaning already there for you (the true you.)

In the first part of life experience, meaning comes to us through others. Fortunate I was to learn about deep friendship and unconditional love early on by knowing my grandmother as my closest friend. The simplicity of being in her presence, and her presence with me, schooled me in what I would need to know in the subsequent acts of life & living, opening me to mystery and my own journey with meaning.

With mystery and meaning it’s less about understanding and more about accepting what is already true within you. Trueness asks you to live and work in alignment with the source of who you are. At such source is a new confidence, a way of being in your unique brand of love, creating unconditional presence held firmly by flowing voice.

I am privileged to work with individuals who want to lead from such love, being, and presence. Letting go into desire’s drive and intent’s draw, I get to see these individuals open to the middle of meaning; a resonance unique to who they are.

The release, and resonance, of voice may flow through passion, presence, or purpose, but remember that your voice is gifted within and from your Trueness.

Meaning is the inhale/exhale of Trueness. Meaning is right in the middle of a living, breathing paradox. We find in the making of who we are that it takes experiences of all sorts; an unfolding of all things, working together, basically schooling us in the reality of everything belongs.

Mystic Memory

It was August, mile four,
one of my long walks.
Quiet, peaceful, simple,
thoughts fired into memories.

Feeling, from all those years ago,
the shade of grandparent trees,
porch time with Sallie and Henry.

The memories thick as fireflies
on such a Mississippi evening.

The red and white kitchen table,
the window behind the bench at that table.

The cupcakes,
oh my, the cupcakes!

I was safe, then,
so safe.

Still, there’s safety in the present,
but no one else must hold the pearl.

Yes, that was a tender time,
open and wide.

I was safe, because?
Because of love,
because of love, unconditional.

In such safety,
unconditionally,
every little thing
had meaning.

The source of meaning was from without,
graciously held by those showing me
the pearl of great price,
the Trueness within.

And from within,
now meaning flows.
Then, every little thing had meaning.
Now, up to me it is
to know meaning in
everything belongs.

–J. Brunson

Version 2

 

I tell stories about the year 1996. It was a year focused on becoming the best listener I could be. Spending the year learning to listen led me to a deeper experience in what it meant for me to be a leader. Further, in the process of study and learning application, I was molded into a coach whose only desire is to encourage individual Trueness.

Now, I will remember the year 2016 as one for critical transformation, opening me ever deeper to my own Trueness. Meaning comes from Trueness, the true self since the beginning. As Ric Gonzalez and I have discussed in our podcast work, it doesn’t matter which comes first, passion, presence, or purpose. We’ve found individuals getting to meaning as each stands with her/his own point of origin−a voice of passion, a voice of presence, or a voice of purpose.

In our first formal session together, Sean asked me how he would know when he had made the transition from what he values into beliefs that translate into conscious behavior, to that space where he would be doing what it is he does while being his true self. The vessels in my brain almost popped with excitement. I wanted to lay out all at once everything he and I would do over the next few months, but that would’ve definitely been too much for him to process in that moment and in the mysterious space he opened with his wonderful question.

My answer, for the time being, was that he would know he was in the mysterious movement of such transition (really transformation) when he found himself being present with each interaction and each experience. Sean and I talked about flow, in the sense of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work, as presented in his book, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. In the last paragraph of this book, Mihaly states, “Just as we have learned to separate ourselves from each other and from the environment, we now need to learn how to reunite ourselves with other entities around us without losing our hard-won individuality.”

Unfortunately in modernity we have come to see mystery as something to be solved. In our effort to not know mystery, to be uncomfortable with what we don’t understand, we move quickly into fixing mode. In the process we have become very judgmental. Judgment is a barrier to any positive, collective outcome. The need to fix, judge, or control comes from fear. Fear becomes a shared emotion only because we allow it inside ourselves as individuals.

Letting go of judgment is part of opening to mystery. We contradict mystery when we allow expectations to control us, and attempt to control with expectations. It is an absurd cycle.

“We cannot be present to anyone or anything in judgment.”
–David G. Benner, Presence and Encounter

I cannot wait to show Sean his voice. Voice is a gift of being. Your voice knows its stand right in between your desire and your intent. When standing there, voice in full flow, letting go is simply part of your art!

Whatever opens you to Trueness − passion, presence, purpose − stand there, confidently. If anything in life & living can be trusted, must be trusted, it is your Trueness. Stand in the middle of your own Desire & Intent with voice in service, gathering, giving, and growing in the mystery of letting go.

Silent Freedom

Mystery
not the agent of fear,
of what we are afraid.

The absurdity of it all,
our angst, our anxiety,
fixed in a demand to control.

Whatever is missing
has been dismissed
in the waste of fear.

And mysterious still
how one might believe,
ever was there
any chance of control.

What then was dismissed
from fear, without thought?

Was it loss?
Was it love?

Providence not trusted,
in the flow of it all, it all
moves with us, or without us,
but so wants the divineness
of our presence.

In a loud world,
a distracting swirl,
silence is a mystery.

But silence we need,
for more than a bit, to hold,
and without judgment, release.

Letting go,
how can this be,
possibly be,
the way to steer,
a source to guide?

Simple it is,
to be led out there
one has to be guided
in here.

And the source,
the guide,
from your beginning,
is away from the fray.

In the silence,
in the depths
of The Presence,
is the middle
of your being.

Here, in the middle
of who you are,
since the start,
is inclusive freedom.

–J. Brunson

The Moment - by Anna Sabino

Presence – by Anna Sabino

When an individual is acting from Trueness, the path to impact is negotiated with the loving and mysterious movement of providence.

In too many organizations, of any kind, it doesn’t take long to observe behaviors of unhealthy competition, selfishness, and downright nastiness. We cannot focus properly on any larger, collective mission when such energy is being wasted internally. It is the same for us as individuals. We cannot develop externally what we are not developing internally.

Trueness honors the uniqueness of each individual as the power to make the collective whole.

I endured all 35 hours of the teams training that the organization purchased. I emerged from the mandatory course stating that it would never work. I did not like being a negative critic. I was still young enough however to be a bit proud when a few months later the whole process was abandoned.

A few years later, interest arose for my process for building a team. When speaking of the method, I made one thing immediately clear, the individuals on my team never heard me use the words team or teamwork. My method approached teamwork as an outcome and team as a title identifying a collective of committed individuals.

When knowing your Trueness, and doing work from the energy of your true self, you will have an impact on others. Your work will have meaning, for you and the other.

I am still learning to feel, hear, and see my own impact in this world. I only know such impact as I first feel in my own Trueness the voice that pushes me out into the world. In the continual flow of giving what the world needs from me, I have to let go of all in the way of listening. From another’s Trueness I then hear appreciation for our shared presence. From what is given back to me I can then begin to see what impact looks like in the reality of the other.

The mystery comes into play as I let go of control and expectation – a seemingly impossible task, but a necessity to knowing impact.

Trust the Mystery

The mystery of impact,
a paradox hard to hold,
being who I am
doing what I do,
to what end?

The answer held truly
by the one, herself
by the one, himself
read aloud in their own lives.

In the theater of my life,
I stand somewhere between
the second and final acts,
scenes replaying and lovingly teaching.

Youth now walks behind me,
but deserted me it has not.
Its diligence dutiful and due,
its design served adequately.

From the words of life & living,
a manuscript evolving,
my impact unfolding in the chapters,
written by others
finally by me being read.

And read I do
often and openly.
no longer hiding,
impact embracing,
the mystery holding,
the mystery holding me.

­– J. Brunson

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Shared Love

See the Impact

The more aware you become of your brand of love the more you see the alignment, the movement and order of things, that flows your love out into the world. The shared love of my friend Ric is the reason I now have a treasured relationship with Jen.

Jen’s desire, through the life of her work, is that others realize their potential. The intent drawing her forward is that those influenced by her work find the creative tension of comfort and challenge, as they live more consciously.

If I were employed once again in an organization, I would want Jen to be in charge of the learning experiences designed to make me more fulfilled and impactful from the core of my authenticity, ever evolving from my strengths.

Jen’s Change, and Influence

Like many others right now, Jen is between gigs, not currently employed in a typical job in an organization. Recently, she found herself empathetically identifying with the questions of a friend: “Who am I, really? Who do I want to be? I’m all these things to all these different people in my life, but I don’t know who I am for me.”

Several years ago, when in the Navy, she and friends were out for dinner. Jen’s fortune cookie strip said, “You are the warmth that illuminates those around you.” She said to me, “I’m not much of a luminary if I’m stumbling around in the dark.”

Her purpose type (see Imperative.com) is a Luminary, shining a light on others and what they need to see inside themselves. Jen is an instinctive connector; people to people. She is passionate about opening the other person’s vision toward impact of individual purpose, and being the provider of resources supportive of individual impact.

She may be in transition (between professional jobs), but she is not in-between; the way in which the world often thinks of it, in neutral, not in gear, not moving. The change upon Jen is really not so much change, per se. It is much more accurate to say that she is now, in what feels like transition, becoming more free in being who she really is.

The Rapids of Influence

Jen is asking herself “What does it look like to put more energy into being with my purpose?” Answering this question is at the heart of what it means to be a leader in this 21st Century. Taking the time for herself, to step back and look at her Trueness, Jen has become more conscious of what she values most, what she most wants from her life and work. Everything she needs in order to gain what is most desired and intended is already right there inside. Trusting her own Desire & Intent, she can now more freely experience the pulse of Feel, Hear, and See.

Feel the Rhythm. You get a feel of your own rhythm as you open to the gratitude that wells in your core. To forgive your own assumptions, about self and others, requires courage and frees the flow of your voice.

Hear the Middle Melody. To stand in the middle with any clarity requires you to listen to the leader within. From this firm stand in Trueness, you hear the voice of self, singing over the rocks in the streambed of experience.

See the Impact. The more conscious you are of your own true rhythm the clearer you see, and your confidence crescendos with your brand of love that must be shared as you wade the confluence of Trueness, your true self and that of the other.

For Jen to feel is the inner part of her work of being human, and to know her unique interest to energy connection. To see is to embrace the impact of her work in the world, and to know further opportunity. And right in the middle of feel and see, she will hear what really is, brightly aware of the impact of her own rhythm.

Finally committing to the rhythm of your Trueness, you can now grasp the truth of your love. Our individual, unique brand of love has been given to us to share. What may feel like change and transition to Jen is more likely her own Trueness finding its place in our needy world, and in her Trueness finding the ways to share her love.

A Leadership Poem: Here’s the Thing

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Rhythm

See the Impact

I have always required a fair amount of alone time. As a child I spent hours with modeling clay as a playmate. I molded short stories and full movie scripts with the consequent figures. In my teen years, in the midst of much activity with a base of life-long friends to be, I often turned down the offer of an outing to continue working on some scale model, or other project–alone.

My first memory of feeling lonely was some time during my last two years at the university. In those days, because the university had a sprawling campus outside a small town, activity was often sparse on the weekend.

It was one of the few weekends I stayed on campus. My home was 140 miles away and I was not long with money, cooking in my room quite often in an electric skillet with ingredients brought from home, and living the remainder on about five dollars a week. I walked the campus for what I remember being hours. I was alone and walking into loneliness.

In the Middle of Alone and Lonely

I found myself outside a small chapel. Suddenly present inside, I quietly stood in the middle experience of alone and lonely. Such experience was a space asking me to be with what is, all that has been, all that will be–it’s all now.

Nearing 21 years of age, graduating with a degree in accounting, an impending job search, and our wedding, it was a beautiful, settling moment, a present grounding. Forty years later, I find myself in that small chapel, metaphorically, quite often as I coach individuals and write for you.

Surveying the years since that moment in the small campus chapel, I see how providence moved me, through experience, toward my own voice. Early on, my voice of Love, and its strength of Encouragement, struggled to find focus. Eventually, my voice became my focus as I translated voice into a personal/professional purpose and brand.

“The voice emerges literally from the body as a representation of our inner world. It carries our experience from the past, our hopes and fears for the future, and the emotional resonance of the moment.”

–David Whyte, The Heart Aroused

I truly believe that the more narrow your focus, the broader your impact. Narrowing focus is a disciplined practice supportive of the developing ability to let go.

The Middle Stand of Trueness

Trueness is the impact of your presence; a presence grounded in voice applied. The impact of your methodology of focus is faithfulness to a cycle of energy that has been diligently built on your Trueness throughout your journey. If I did not know voice, I could not know rhythm.

In a chapel of awareness, Kelly has embraced her voice of Respect and Dignity and is applying her rhythm of impact. Upon seeing in writing, her voice, and its strength of A Clear Voice at the Table, her boss said, “The better you listen the better you are at executing your personal brand.”

As Kelly has learned, and is now practicing, to focus at her best she must listen. She came to me, and our work together, at a beautiful, providentially timed moment. She was aware of key perceptions about who she was in her work, and she didn’t like what she saw. As with any perception, it is the one being perceived who makes the choice to do something about changing any specific perception.

Kelly came to me in light of her courageous commitment to change the perception, “Give it to Kelly, she’ll get it done.” While that may have the mask of a compliment in our work society, it is a very narrow view, limiting Kelly’s ability to apply her Trueness as well as the ability of anyone to observe such authentic rhythm in action.

Kelly felt alone, and thus lonely. She didn’t know what to do beyond what constantly bubbling emotions were saying loud and clear. Now, when her voice of Respect and Dignity is in the lead, she will consciously listen in each situation. As she will continue to discover, the more she listens, the more her voice will have its place with influence, inclusion, and impact.

Being true to self is not possible standing to one side or the other. Trueness is found only in the middle stand.

A Leadership Poem: Quiet and Clear

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Voice of the Other

Hear the Middle Melody

Through the years of consciously supporting the growth and development of others, I have consequently learned much about personality preferences. We learn about these individual preferences through instruments that type our personality.

I don’t care much for the term “personality type.” I much prefer to reference one’s preferences, for that’s all the varying personality scales are supposedly measuring, a first order of go to in one’s regular activities and interactions. The natural reflex of such preferences can also find us automatically holding a clouded filter through which to feel, hear, and see.

This level of knowledge with preferences has, through experience, taught me much about voice. There seems to be a rather consistent (although somewhat generic) correlation of voice preference with behavioral preference. Instead of a false confidence with such knowledge, I feel a growing accountability to better understand what I know about individual voice, the correlation of voice to Trueness, and the unifying influence of voice consciousness in a needy, 21st Century world.

Fortunate I am to have individuals with whom I regularly learn as we talk, with mutual intentionality, about voice in life and work. Dan Roller is one such person. He willingly holds the creative tension of leading in the 21st Century. Dan’s voice is Centeredness. His work, and purpose, is about showing others the value in what they do through who they are.

You Lead Who You Are

In a podcast conversation with Dan, he talked about being present to others by being present to self. As part of a contemplative practice as a leader, he asks himself in the moments with others, “Who am I being?”

Dan says that to be in relationship with others, and really pay attention to what makes them come alive and contribute in work that they value, we must employ generous listening that actually helps the other know his or her own value. That is when the individual can feel, hear, and see that what they do indeed makes a real difference.

In the work he does, Dan has become a facilitator of conversations intended to draw out the voice of the other. Who he is being in such work is most effective when he is operating from his Trueness. A determining factor of what and how you hear, when with others, is the influence of who you are being when you listen, or when you think you’re listening.

What You Choose

We all have filters clouded by unconscious wearing. Dan believes we can consciously choose to see differently, and therefore to see much more. In the process of choice, you can open to other ways to see situations, and other ways to see the other person.

When in the presence of another, Dan pays attention to who he is being and to what he is choosing to do. As he encourages us, this takes discipline to practice. Filters find their way over our way of feeling, hearing, and seeing very easily.

Dan tells a story of a young man who stood at the microphone at a meeting being conducted about a code of conduct being instated by a school district where Dan consults. He admits to a filter he was wearing as the young man talked; viewing through his get-to-the-point filter (one of those preferences I mentioned), Dan felt the speaker was rambling. He caught himself, removed the filter, and opened his listening (letting go of the filter’s clouded script), and began to hear the voice of the other. He chose to listen for the voice of this young man in what was being said. In the process, Dan found the meeting to be a much more meaningful experience.

Learning to listen to self allows you to become a more generous listener to the voice of the other. Learning to consistently practice present listening to another makes you better able to hear your own voice.

Being able to see yourself, and how you are being with a certain situation, can open your practice of presence. Dan told me that presence, or being present, must become more than something you turn on and off. It is a way of being, a way of being with the other. It is a choice, a choice to feel, hear, and see the reality spoken through the voice of another.

“A moment of Trueness exists when passion, purpose, and presence have aligned and I’m being true to both self and the other in the moment of presence I’ve been given with them.”

When you are truly driven by desire and drawn by intent, then from the middle melody of Trueness you are able to expand into other dimensions of preference and behavior. Successful expansion occurs as you apply your own voice and practice hearing the voice of the other. Together our voices find flow and confident resonance.

Thank you Dan for being a leader willing to be in the conversation with us, and for choosing to feel, hear, and see with us.

A Leadership Poem: Earning the Return

Dan Roller 2Dan Roller has dedicated his energy to helping leaders and organizations build the capabilities they need to execute on what matters most to them. Dan founded Acris Consulting to bring the expertise of those who have a passion for execution to the field of education where he first began his career as a secondary and post-secondary teacher.

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Voice of the Leader Within

Hear the Middle Melody

Fortunate I am, and a blessed place to be on this interior journey, as I continue to learn how to firmly, openly know this middle space.

The exterior part of all experience has equally been a series of blessings. For so long I wondered why the rub against judgment was placed in me, in my spirit. Now, I feel I know why in my soul. It is because my calling needed a beginning, something on which to build a journey. I suppose it’s like the grain of sand inside the shell.

For this grain I am thankful, for it has played a part in a pearl of great price. On “price,” and such pearl, I have to wonder if the great part of price refers more to the cost along the journey than simply the generic value of a pearl.

Mayra’s story begins with a point of suffering on the inside–the illness of a child. I am certain you agree that we don’t need all the details to imagine, or feel, the sorrow of such a reality.

As a child, Mayra knew what she wanted to do with her life. She wanted to teach peace. Peace is what she now teaches, in literally everything she does. It is how she does so that is the impetus for this piece.

The Messy Middle

Mayra is a very contemplative person. She is deeply moved by things, by experience. In each experience, she listens deeply to both intuition and to feeling. Everything she does and sees has meaning to her. This includes even the smallest of activities where many of us so often find our minds wandering to the next thing on the list.

Mayra’s challenge to us as leaders is to try to do everything from a place of love – not a place of obligation (moving our attention from “in order to” to “for the sake of” as Allen Huff’s dad taught). Her entreaty is to only do things out of love: while the outcomes may look the same as those done from obligation, the intentions are totally different. To not act from this place of love can be degrading, to self, to others.

While one may be “obligated” to do something, it behooves one to learn how to do it out of love. How does Mayra remain in such presence, and act in such grace? She said to me, “I’m inspired every single day. Challenges in my life have only brought me closer to who I am, to my humanity.” In limited human terms, she could find every excuse to hide under a blanket of self-pity. Instead, she released the leader within, the leader born in her Trueness.

Failure is not the opposite of success; it is just on the other side of the seesaw that is the reality of life & living, and of being a leader. There is peace in the middle melody –the middle stand as a leader. Only at this fulcrum of the middle do we truly release the leader within. Mayra calls this level of awareness the messiness of the middle.

In this beautiful, middle space, the external and the internal become one, the inner life and outer life are one. This is the point of the middle melody, if we only listen.

 Voice and Tension

Mayra’s voice is Respect (Civility). From this voice, she talked to me about how the work of a leader is the work of protecting humanity and the environment in which we find ourselves working together. We need each other. Although we may do individual work in our separate spaces, we are all connected. It is all about you and not about you at the same time. Welcome to the creative tension of the middle.

As she had described herself to me as a contemplative person, I asked Mayra to give me a visual of what it looks like to be a contemplative leader. Here is what she said:

A contemplative leader is present. You are aware of not only what is happening in the environment, with the people involved, but also very aware of what is happening with you. We are very complex beings.

Further, she said that if we operate only from our minds, and our ego, we do damage to those we supposedly lead, and to self. To avoid such individual and collective damage, Mayra implores us to “Stand in the freaking tension that hurts like hell!” I know that Mayra has learned to do this! From within, she leads. From within, she feels with us, hears in the present experience, and sees the impact–a rhythm made possible by trusting the unfolding.

We Lead Who We Are.

Parker J. Palmer, an impassioned teacher, believes that we teach who we are. In studying his book, The Courage to Teach, I found myself replacing teach with coach, and eventually with lead.

Coaching hundreds of individual leaders brought me to the conviction that we indeed most effectively (and affectively) lead from the ground of who we are. Imagine the discoveries we could experience if we consciously navigated with the sextant of who we are at the helm – our Trueness.

Working one-on-one with leaders–building individual confidence–has taught me many things. These many individuals, through the generosity of trust, opened me to what I’ve been teaching, and so passionately desire to continue teaching, Rhythm.

Like Mayra, I’m still finding a more abundant answer in how to continue teaching from the powerful calling of voice. She and I are learning to continually trust the unfolding. The essence of such trust can only flow because of voice–a courageous, conscious application of Trueness in each circumstance.

A Leadership Poem: Peace Betwixt

Mayra Porrata

 

Mayra Porrata is an educator, writer, publisher and  speaker on community health promotion, social-emotional health, personal peace, conscious leadership, social entrepreneurship, and establishing cultures of collaboration and support.


Sunny Day Publishing
Follow Mayra on Twitter

Cuyahoga Morning – by Anna Sabino

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