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Posts Tagged ‘Flow’

Contemplation & Flow

Am I a contemplative? I have always been one inclined to spend much time in introspective thought, maybe more than needed for my own good. My mother on more than one occasion said, “You think too much.” Strictly defined, contemplation is a long, thoughtful look at something. I prefer Richard Rohr’s take as he added one important word, ‘a long, loving, look at anything.’

Whether or not I am a contemplative, I know I certainly desire to be more absorbed in life and living. What might it look like to be contemplative? The answer−at least for now, and for me−just may be in how I see contemplation itself: It is compassion for oneself, and all, as one. From such a stance might we become adept at feeling, hearing, and seeing in, with, and through love?

Love is a mystery in our world of work and leadership; but why? What might happen if we, as leaders, allowed love to be at the very core of each choice and every decision; allowing such energy to flow through all we do for those we lead, influence, and serve?

In the years just before writing my first book, I participated in a small, intimate writing group. It was in this time writing together where I discovered my soul connection with Pam. She didn’t just listen in what I would write, she would feel, hear, and see with me, and often deeper within than I was noticing myself. She paid attention with love.

Brought to my consciousness in my writing and expression was my consistent movement toward water, and my desire to be in and with the flow. Flow is not just some fleeting construct to me. Rather, flow is a tangible connecting of experiences through the reality and power of relationship; a landscape filled with moving reality, should one only stand still long enough to see.

And there lies the rub, the difficulty, and the self-imposed barrier to feeling, hearing, and seeing reality: a lack of stillness.

“Perception is reality.” This is a longstanding belief in our society within our work settings, and like so many clichés it has become overused in a context formed by a severe lack of understanding. Individual observation, trained in an unbalanced way of assuming, does indeed lead us in interpreting what we perceive−and this is what we then believe to be reality. This falsely formed reality only furthers our individual and collective unconsciousness to what is really going on.

What is really going on−to feel, hear, and see reality−requires us to simply pay attention.

Pam helped me pay attention to where I seemed to consistently go to bring forth words, and the meaning I intended within each composition. She paid attention to each scene I painted with the words and with my energy. Thus, flow led me to even consider the meaning and the encounter with contemplation.

Contemplation & Flow:
To experience something gladly, paying attention with love.

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Simplicity, Reality, and Love

I just want to step in
and Wade.

I only want to be steady
and quiet
in my Walk.

I want to hear and know
Oneness as I allow into my life
Wonder–at the smallest,
simplest, and so very important things
of an everyday life.

Moving back to Ohio after twenty years is one of the most significant transitions we’ve experienced. It has been a beautifully demanding transition, calling our minds and hearts into the atmosphere of present being.

It was the middle of October, waiting for the color, and I was in my new favorite coffee shop thinking on this next series of writing. I began to soak in a joy I felt, while resisting any temptation to stray away from the depth I sensed in the stream of joy.

I had just released my fourth book; a book of selected verse encouraged out of me by my beautiful friend, editor, and publisher. Do I have yet another book in me? I think so, maybe more than just one. Parker J. Palmer talks of being one of those writers who only has one book in him, but he continues writing about the topic in varying expressions. I feel this as well. And like Palmer, I don’t seem to mind.

I’m a simple person I suppose. It could seem I do not like challenge, not writing multiple books on varying topics, but it is very challenging to write about the one topic providentially placed in my very soul. This topic doesn’t define me, rather it is a wonderful energy force in my soul–this thing I know as Trueness.

Wade–Walk–Wonder

So, why this alliteration? As my soul-sister Pam said, it has a flow inherent. And as she knows from her encouragement of me, I am captivated by flow, and the rhythm it washes into the open.

It begins in the Wade. I step into life and living freed from the lie of any single expectation. Forgiving everything, gently placing all in the flow, allows me to step out and Walk in the beauty of it all–all that is reality. In the steadiness of such walking, I am deeply encouraged by how it all fits together (how it can all work together for good, if I only allow it to do so). Then, at some point I begin to actually see an unfolding; and this is the Wonder.

In this day and time, I find it sad when we allow ourselves to not be filled with wonder. We believe we are well-informed, that we see and understand so much. All that, to me, gets in the way of real Wonder.

I hope you will stay with me as writing within this rhythm unfolds; for your own Wading, Walking, Wondering.

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The Stream (Stillness/Flow)

Stillness/Flow is the creative tension in the paradox of Hold & Release.

In part 2 we stepped into the stream. There we continue to understand its particular paradox of power. In this part we consider the reality of tension that is in-between two seemingly opposite truths. The tension is creative because standing still in such movement is the only way we begin to see.

As I am being taught, when I am attempting control it is on some external issue or some internal matter that I just want to be other than what it really is.

Reality: The tension is always there.
Reality: The tension is creatively free only as we no longer have a need to label.

“The world is afraid of reconciliation. We prefer to live in a world of black and white where we create and maintain enemies, because that keeps our own group together. … Our human nature has trapped us in certain positions that have a degree of culture-forming logic to them but overall are simply untrue.” –Richard Rohr

This from Rohr is a reminder to me; to be deeply thankful and presently grateful for the fading need within to label and set apart what is naturally one.

The Creative Tension (Stillness/Flow)

It occurs to me that George was firmly focused on the flow. Our call was eight months after the business case/simulation of which I was privileged to be a part. This was one component in an effort to train and equip technical experts with consultative skills.

I asked him how this was going all these months later. “Aggravating” was his response. It seems the recipients of George’s good intentions were not progressing as he had envisioned, or hoped. As I listened, and asked further questions, he began to dig a little deeper into what he might yet do. His questions of me were about tools or resources he might leverage.

As I’ve learned wading the stream, I must be very aware of the flow without giving it my entire focus. In order to remain sure of foot in the current, and find a place to stand, I must focus on the bottom.

Finally, I knew it was time to give George a bit of encouragement. I set it up by stating that he didn’t need another’s program, and hopefully brought it to stillness by saying, “George, you can do this.”

Attempts at control throw us out-of-balance, causing us to see stillness and flow as a contradiction (either/or). The only control I, in reality, possess is my now experiential knowledge that I have no control–and more importantly that I do not want such (at least not any more). This stills me in the flow.

I am not part of the flow by being swept away. The flow is experiential as I find my place to stand in the middle and cast for what is important–and real.

The only way to love the flow, and in the flow love, is to stand still.

The Stream–a necessary note in the rhythm–is a place to fully be. It is a moving reminder, flowing around your stillness, that you are part of something larger.

It includes you–Your Trueness.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com: The Reality of Experience

On the Creeper Trail

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Constantly I am encouraged by the leaders with whom I am privileged to work. There is wisdom residing in them ahead of their experience.

I feel the call to fill them as they pour themselves into the world.

On the morning I began this I found myself meditating on the word pour. Upon visiting a thesaurus, I discovered the push and pull in the brief definition: be or make flowing.

I don’t know about you, but for me I am more attentive than ever to where I direct my energy, and in how I replenish. This is, I’m sure, because of my stage and place in life & living.

“What you focus on grows.” —Ted Senf

Consider the truth of this; consider both danger and power. Focus is dangerous when you give power to negativity and limitation. Focus is positively powerful when it flows forth from the connection of Passion to Purpose to Presence.

To live with and for Impact is to live the flow.

To focus is to allow the clarity of your intended impact to guide you in the present. And impact flows through simple focus. Focus as a noun is illusive; as a verb it is thoroughly frustrating—if we feel we have to chase it.

To be in-focus is to know what it is you really do. The how of focus is in making choices and decisions that flow forth from your what.

In my brief meditation I considered how and where I pour myself. Along with that I considered the source that fills me again. To pour oneself is what it’s all about. This is fulfilling, if one pours from the integrity of Trueness. It takes a lot of work to learn presence and the art of being present with Trueness.

It fulfills me to watch a leader put passion into motion toward purpose, and then observe the transforming power of their presence as they learn to pay attention; pouring themselves into the flow.

A Poem for Your Pouring

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I often use the phrase life & living in my writing to leaders. In part I think this is so because I’ve come to see that life is an unconscious emptiness unless one is living consciously.

To live consciously—out loud—is to live with and for Impact.

“If we devote ourselves to the life at hand, the rest will follow. For life, it seems, reveals itself through those willing to live. Anything else, no matter how beautiful, is just advertising.” —Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

While impact is technically an outcome—oftentimes expressed in virtuous terms—it is paradoxically also the beginning. And while I believe the flow is Passion to Purpose to Presence, the reality is, that once in rhythm, the flow becomes a stream where all of who you are is one.

This is Trueness moving in and for Impact.

The seed for any, and all, impact is passion. And passion, consciously freed, becomes the elemental braid holding together all you do.

In my own life & living, my passion developed my purpose. Living purposefully informed my presence. And now they are one in living consciously.

Passion allows me to have the vision.” —Ken, Coaching Client

Passion flows from the core of who you are, rhythmically engulfs you, and draws in life.

A poem for your Impact

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When leading from your authentic self you inspire others from balanced focus. After all these years in my work, I’m certain this is the only path to inspiring another.

What is focus?

I offer as an answer a balanced way of seeing through this portal. Internally, focus is the purpose through which your passion prepares to flow by your unique presence into the world. Externally, once flowing in the world, focus becomes an attraction to a common and collaborative center.

I’m writing this just days after returning from work at a client location. I was there to open a dialogue with John’s executive team around organizational transition and cultural transformation. While I had prepared an outline for the conversation, I knew that if I listened carefully enough, it would take on its own life. And indeed it did.

This team of leaders had been diligently working for the past year acting on specific behavioral commitments as a result of strategic dialogue focused on the story of the organization. John listened to his group of leaders. After this year of good work fueled by the clarity of a strategic story, he realized that each individual, through the cloud of busyness, had lost focus.

As is almost always the case−in the reality of the ‘J-Curve’ or the Dip−our movement toward the goal takes a turn down. This is when it is imperative to not lose focus on Why we are doing all we are doing.

It is only in the energy of why that we push through.

That’s when it happened; one of the most powerful pictures I’ve ever heard painted by the words of a leader. John sat back in his chair. As his words came forth he leaned into the presence of each individual in the room: “A chance to do what we have the opportunity to do with this organization comes along once, maybe twice, in an entire career.”

The renewed energy for focus was in John’s confident and open presence, where he drew individual energy to a collaborative center.

I only hope each person present felt what I felt. The doors of possibility flew open in my mind. Collaborative energy burned red and hot.

Impact was broadened through such focus!

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It’s okay to love your work, and in your work love. In the presence of your own Trueness you stand confidently in the work that, because of love, has chosen you.

Love begins, and story flows, from the inner to the outer as one finds Trueness−such generosity toward self is foundational to becoming more skillfully generous in the world.

Dan has opened his true self to a big project, a larger story; his One Million Acts of Generosity. In his very definition of Generosity, Dan captures the rhythm of a story of impact.

Generosity is the free and joyful expression of: What you care about most deeply: It is what you powerfully stand for in the world: It is the giving of your true self to another.

“The True Self does what it really loves and therefore loves whatever it does.” −Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond

Storytelling is powerful because of love. Stories of impact have power only through the love of the one telling. This is precisely what my dear friend Dan intends with his big project; encouraging  us to tell stories where we have seen the impact of someone being skillfully generous.

Dan’s rhythmic wisdom points us to the tension of hold and release and guides us to the brightness where the true self breaks into a loving presence. A story of impact is so because it is first lived and then told; and so often the telling is the living!

Your generous leadership is freely and joyfully expressed because you are learning in real time to hold your Trueness, while letting go of distractions and thus releasing your true self into the flow.

A frenzied 21st Century cries out for your Trueness.

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