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Archive for the ‘Presence’ Category

The Mystery of Being

I wanted to tell you how much your words meant to me that day.” He said this to me 15 years after that tragic day.

It was early morning and I was slowly putting on my Sunday-best pants and shoes when the phone rang. I answered and heard Don’s solemn, low voice inform me his dad had been killed in an accident. He ended the call by saying, “I just thought you would want to know.”

I found my teenage-self standing in the den looking at my mom. Upon telling her of the call she burst into tears and said, “Go to him, now! He needs you!” I grabbed my keys and took off.

I arrived at his house and rang the doorbell. Don answered the door, saw me, and fell into my arms. I helped him up to his room, and there we sat together for what I remember being about 3 hours.

The point of this story is in Don’s words of gratitude 15 years later. He was grateful for my words that day, expressions he must have surely felt in his grieving spirit. But here’s the thing, in those 3 hours, when Don talked of his dad and recounted stories, I never said a word; not one word.

I did what I did–nothing–precisely guided by the wisdom of my mother when she said, He needs you!” I did the only thing I know to do from deep within, to be with my friend.

Grounding

In a society of doers, being (and being with) is a mystery. The mystery is only in part explained by our need to separate being from doing.

The mystery of being itself is darkened when we refuse to hold the creative tension that is being and doing. If you can come to understand that we are made from love, and of love, you begin to stand more firmly on the ground of being. It is about standing firm, holding and releasing being into the present without condition. It takes the full flow of feel, hear, and see, to grasp love as source and energy.

This mysterious flow is even more elusive when our story is vulgarized by the forced belief of doing as all-important, a higher point of priority over being. With that said, it takes our early experience with doing to prepare us for the mystery that is the paradoxical tension of being/doing.

Being Begets Being

There was a point in my daughter’s early years where I must have shared this story about Don, his father’s death, and our time that day. One afternoon she came home and shared about the sudden death in the night of her good friend’s brother. Her friend’s house was just down the street. Immediately her mother and I simply said, Go.

When she returned, after about 3 hours, she said to me, “Dad, I did exactly what you told me.” Having no idea what she was talking about, I asked for clarity. She replied, “You know, Don’s story and what you did the day his dad died.” As you might imagine, my heart warmed in profound satisfaction knowing she had trusted being with her friend.

In my upcoming book, The Rhythm of Trueness, I write about the poetic journey of the leader within each of us. The leader inside is about who we are in truth, a reality since the beginning. Trueness is our energy in the respectful space of creative tension, where being and doing find flow, and together, conscious resonance.

The poetic verse of your being flows in the reality of presence as you consciously open to the moments unfolding. No doubt such presence requires trust. How slow the process, it seems, as I look back. What I’m actually seeing is my regretful reality of not learning to trust sooner. The trusting includes loosening one’s grip on certain ways of thinking and stepping into a flow of no need to control.

Where presence and voice blend, there is Trueness.

This beautiful merger of presence and voice opens you to a way of being and doing; with the reality of what is unfolding before you and around you.

Grounded in Respect

As a child, respectful
with you I can be,
only as first, I
can be with me.

Love honors being.
From the chambers
of love,
voice moves you.

Love honors doing.
From the chambers
of love,
voice moves others.

Being, alone
may withhold resonance.
Released, respectful energy
in a world needy.

Doing, alone
cannot say enough.
However, an amplifier
for voice it can be.

To be unconsciously present
too much the norm,
walking through moments
too conscious of self.

The full flow
of voice it takes
to feel, hear, and see
grasping love
as source and energy.

In the beginning
nothing it cost
to just be.
Trust was easy
from a center
clear and free.

In the moments, loving tension
at our disposal, always.

Being, resting in respectful trust.
Doing, lovingly grounded in trustful respect.

–J. Brunson

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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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Gifts From Santa Claus

We create ourselves as we go.” ~ Hallmark

‘Tis the season. The season of colder weather and head colds. Of decorating, cooking, and shopping for gifts. Of endless hours of wrapping presents and wrapping up the year. Each year seems to bring on more demands than the previous year and yet we continue to push ourselves through the activities.

And that’s just it. Activities.

As I prepared to finally collect my thoughts for this post, I re-read Jeff’s recent post in this series with a feeling of irony. Jeff asked the question, “What is calling for your attention?” I had to inwardly laugh when I thought of all the things I still needed to do to prepare for the holidays, my family, my home, and myself. All of these activities were calling for my attention to the point it’s been difficult to focus on any of them with any amount of the genuine care they deserved. I was feeling an overwhelming lack of inspiration and just going through the motions of trying to feel the magic of the season.

Then the magic, and the inspiration began to flow.

First, in an exchange of communication, Jeff shared a quote that seemed to wake me and spark my inspiration.

“Outwardly, at this stage of life, going off on new adventures, if those adventures do not build on what has gone before, may be a way of not taking up our destiny, of going to sleep again.” – from The Heart Aroused

Then I read a Facebook post from a long time friend I was blessed to have been stationed with when I was in the U. S. Navy. This story, shared here, was the flame of inspiration I needed. I hope you find inspiration in this story as well.

“I have been sick lately. Sick to the point that I have finally ended up at the VA.

So yesterday I am sitting in the waiting room of my local VA Hospital, someplace no one wants to be. Santa walks into the waiting room in full regalia, polished boots and belt. The beard was very real. Still, I am so lost in my own woes that when Santa offers me a candy cane and asks, “And where were you stationed, young lady?” – being called young lady shook me out of my own head, but my tongue was stuck to the roof of my mouth in surprise. 
Santa says “I did 3 tours in Vietnam, ’69 to ’72.” 
I finally end up gurgling out Jennifer 5B-1Diego Garcia and Santa laughed and handed me a candy cane.

Santa stopped at every chair, and asked the same question, and offered a candy cane for every reply. A few chairs down the row, a one-legged young man in a wheel chair sat angrily. When Santa asked where the young man had been stationed, he grumbled and groused and tried to push the candy cane away. Santa lifted his trouser leg and showed the young man in the wheelchair his prosthetic leg. Santa said, “You’re gonna have to get stronger than that if you gonna get your ass out that wheelchair, son.” Santa straightened his pant leg, and re-offered the candy cane, asking the same question with the same tone and smile as if that kid had never been rude.

Thanks, Santa, for a miracle of the season.”

This story is a great reminder that too often we get stuck in our own head and think ourselves into a black hole. This is not to diminish what the veteran in the story has been through and must now live with. (Either one of them! Wink!) This is more about the selfless leadership shown by Santa. He is the perfect example of Authentic Leadership and leading with Trueness. From a traditional perspective, Santa Claus always has an eye on those who need him most. Each year he manages to be fully present in the season. And he knows how and when to leverage the strengths of others. (Thanks, Rudolph!)

As Jeff shared in his previous post, “Trueness [is] a selfless method focusing you fully in the moment and on those who presently need you at your best, as you walk your path of genius.”

I’m sure that Santa in the story had to make some unexpected and unplanned mental sidesteps as he was creating who he is today. And I’m sure it wasn’t always an easy road he walked. But he found a way to pull on his strength and experience to help empower others.

This is true leadership. THIS is Santa Claus!

 So in keeping with the season, I share these gifts from Santa:

  • GATHER your GIFTS – Know that your gifts, your strengths, are always there. Enlist the help of your friends, family, reindeer and elves to make sure your gifts are ready to be shared.
  • GIVE your GIFTS – Give your candy canes freely, without any expectations of reciprocation. Your milk and cookies will come to you in time.
  • GROW your GIFTS – Embrace and share the magic! Like magic, you may not see or even know the impact of your gift. Just know someone is a better person because of it.

As I keep telling my two daughters, Santa IS real. He lives in our head and in our heart. And his Gift to us, through us, is the magic that happens when someone receives our authentic leadership in their time of need.

And so I ask, do you believe in Santa Claus? Because I do!

Jennifer 5B-2

Jennifer Rainey "Strengths Expert"

Jennifer Rainey
“Strengths Expert”

All that Jennifer does is driven by a commitment to help you look inside and identify your passions and strengths. Jennifer is a practitioner and consultant for organizational effectiveness.

Sign up for her curation:
Through the Door of Possibility

 

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What is Calling for Your Attention?

~ Give to Grow ~

The rhythm of your strengths is an operating model for the power of your presence. In such rhythm is how you give your gift in this world.

The gifts of the moment, when consciously received, give far into the future.

Your genius is in how you live the rhythm of your strengths–your guiding spirit. Jennifer and I chose to write this series on Gather-Give-Grow because of how this energy universally represents the resonance of Trueness. We don’t just write to you because you are a leader on paper, a position entitled by a box on an organizational chart. We write to you to encourage the leader within.

As Jennifer tells us, our growth and development may take many experiential forms, but we grow best when we consciously apply our Trueness. Such application is not a selfish preference, forcibly projected at others. Rather, it is a selfless method focusing you fully in the moment and on those who presently need you at your best, as you walk your path of genius.

What is calling for your attention?

This is a question of presence.

In a recent conversation, Jennifer summarized simply what I heard as her passionate commitment to herself and to you: Authentic Leadership. Unquestionable evidence of your authentic growth is how you’ve helped another grow. As our colleague, Ric Gonzalez, says, true giving is done without attachment: “This is true generosity. Practicing it is a skill, and it it takes a whole lot of work.”

Further, Ric says that detaching from outcomes frees our giving for actual impact of the gift given. And the most precious gift, and form of giving, I can receive from you, my leader, is your presence.

Your desire and your intent, when joined in leading from Trueness, induce creative tension. It is this intersection and tense union that Jennifer and I write about in this series, and we do so to encourage you.

The desire that drives you as a leader will join with intent that draws you forward. The spirit of this union encourages your Trueness through creative tension–suffering the attachment to desire and the detachment required by the reality of intent.

In trusting your Trueness, and holding creative tension until it teaches you in the present, you free your strengths into a large territory, calling ever more deeply on your genius.

A Leadership Poem: Present Value

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The Path (Being/Doing)

Now I know the path unfolds before me. Indeed it is not always clearly laid out. It is in being that I have the privilege of seeing, and in balanced doing I expend directed energy to clear the undergrowth.

Sometimes (actually often) I need the collegial love of another to remain both clear and energized to steadily walk the path. This is why I work at maintaining a community of colleagues. We support each other’s balance–our individual holding of creative tension.

Recent conversation in this community caused me to again pause and think about the place to which this work has led me.

The Creative Tension (Being/Doing)

Ric Gonzalez and I are enjoying creating our Podcasts. As we talked about the next one, my mind was on the next person we might engage in a conversation. Ric suggested we hold off scheduling the next third-party engagement and record some more together. The question however was where to take the conversation in the next Podcast.

In between the email exchange with Ric and the talk we had scheduled, I spoke with Mayra Porrata. Mayra is a colleague in this blessed community. As she and I talked–always deep, clear, and beautiful conversation–we got around to the place to which our respective work has led.

In Mayra’s view, my work has led me to the 3Ps on which Ric and I have been focused (Passion – Purpose – Presence). She is not wrong. Subsequently however, it occurred to me that the 3Ps are a How, not the What–to what this work has led. These conversations created the brilliant reminder of the What, the place–Trueness!

It’s that simple.

And the Why behind this What of Trueness is Encouragement. It is this what and why where our Podcasts must continue to focus for The Work of Trueness. How we will do this will come to us–it arrives through the energy committed to what & why.

“There you go.”
Settled.
Something I say
when I know
Being
has informed
Doing

Maybe along with “settled” should be “connected.” This is where being and doing work side-by-side, hand-in-hand, and we find ourselves in the ensuing flow of our best.

Acting on your own Trueness strengthens you in the space of Creative Tension; the balance of internal passion and external purpose. Passion drives us. Purpose draws us. The result is the creative tension of presence–balanced being/doing.

Locked into being only we blindly serve unbalanced emotion. Doing only is to be enslaved by too much thinking. We must hold the two and walk a creative path as we see genuine passion, purpose, and presence that free us for leading.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com: It Comes Together

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As our dialogue moves in the flow from purpose to presence, consider that your purpose serves your Trueness only in the present.

“Presence knows, but with a wide-angle lens and no filters.” —Richard Rhor

In this 21st Century, presence can be hard to grasp. More specifically, being present can become extremely challenging to understand, and do.

Living purposefully informs my presence.

Anytime I think deeply about presence, I am reminded of the power of listening and the clarifying force of paying attention. Listening—true hearing—is a present moment activity. Paying attention is freedom to be in the moment with what is. And freedom is in expecting good, not defining it.

“How tragically precise we can be at creating well-intended, misguided expectations that ultimately limit us in actually holding what might really be possible.” —from post, Know Thyself – Presence in the 21st Century

A bullheaded attachment to a predetermined outcome distracts from the relationship necessary to get there. Don’t get distracted in the process of setting expectations to a depth where you then miss all the opportunities to listen and simply pay attention. With your voice fully engaged in presence, others hear loud and clear. As a leader, our stories converge in your presence with us. Your Trueness encourages mine.

How do you stay balanced in your Trueness?

I suspect, however you might answer this, it is when you are truly present with another and with what is; a reality seen with a clear, wide-angle lens and no filters. The impact you desire is an intentional, conscious, and directed energy. Such impact is unfolded moment by moment; not what might happen, but what is happening. A Poem for Your Clear Presence IMG_0664

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Jennifer is a valued colleague of mine and a contributing participant in this Work of Trueness. The spirit of connection is powerful. A mutual friend (Ric, who introduced me to Jennifer) recently asked when I had last seen her. I had to remind him that she and I had never met face-to-face.

In the case of the relationship and interactions Jennifer and I share, the spirit of presence is validated. While I look forward to an inevitable and desired face-to-face meeting, I treasure the realness in our virtual camaraderie.

You see, presence is more than physical. Physicality is a valued element in relationship. Take for instance Ric, about whom I write and who has written his flowing words for my blog. I greatly value the face-to-face time I get with him because we live over 700 miles apart. But our relationship began virtually and continued for quite some time before we ever met face-to-face. And here’s the cool part, I don’t even remember when that was!

Your Trueness is the impact of your presence.

Your impact as a leader has its only shot through your authentic self. Trueness practiced is active impact. And we are the beneficiaries of this impact in your presence. And your Presence stands on the solid base of who you are−regardless of the miles between us.

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