Love: A Participation Essay

In a recent visit with a dear friend, I shared my desire to offer something extra to those I’ve coached through the years. My friend asked me why I was considering this. After a few moments of stumbling around logical answers, I heard myself saying, I love them.

Because of the love I have for the individuals I coach, I want to continue to be available for them along their journey deeper into, and with, Trueness. The deep context of this work I do has driven me further into my own Trueness. Or is it better said that going deeper into my own Trueness has driven me further with this work? Whichever, I am recognizing a need to share, more often and ever more deeply, the abundance available through becoming aware of one’s rhythm; a life-giving cadence given since the beginning. 

This I know from my experience, if an individual acts from Trueness−living her or his own rhythm−then this person is acting from a unique brand of love. I teach rhythm to the individuals I coach as a way to teach love−love for your work and love in your work−and how such love is profitable, not a business strategy but a way of living Trueness, embracing the rhythm of you.

The True Self
Jim is both a technical expert in his field and a caring and present leader for those he leads, influences, and serves. People depend on him for clarity as they work together in creating a steady approach to accomplish common goals and tell a common story. As he leads them, here’s what they know for certain; he is committed to each one of them, attending to need and strengthening each person as she/he gives to and serves others in the work done.

Trueness is a word I use to encapsulate all I do within this work which has called me out. Trueness is also a way to summarize the expression, who you really are. What is the true self?  Sorry, but I’m not writing this to answer the question. As opposed to answering, it may be that we have to live this question individually. And living the question may be a life-long task.

Jim is driven by a commitment to process in a way that is both efficient and effective: efficient being about the work, and effective being about the people. In the present with his own unique experiences, how they’ve shaped him, and how he knows experience shapes others, he told me that happiness is something he understands better now. Yes, this reflects a level of maturity, but it also displays a depth of connection with his Trueness.

I write these essays not as an expert who has it all figured out. Quite the contrary. I write to actually attempt to grasp things; not grasp and hold on, but to hold things for a bit so I can then let go into the flow of reality. I turned sixty-four on my last birthday. I thought I’d have all this thoroughly figured out by now. I was wrong.

Only those who are totally secure in their love
can live thus fully the present moment.
Thomas H. Green

Love Itself
I am neither qualified nor ready to write about this topic. Yet, I write about love consistently these days. But love itself, what does this mean? I want to become love itself. But what does this look like? At some inevitable juncture it has to look like who I really am. If we are made from love, then we are made of love. So why don’t we act like this is so all the time?

As I was thinking on how to describe what love itself might look like, Jim came to mind. In a recent conversation, I shared a basic principle about leadership and one’s growth and development as a leader. I had not thought about this principle in a long time: Whatever you desire to do for others, you must be able to do for yourself. Jim was referred to me because his boss understands this principle and wanted to give Jim the time and space to give to himself, selflessly. The time Jim is giving to himself, for his growth and development, is energy given for those he leads, influences, and serves. The strength of Jim’s voice is that of presence with another. And his time for himself is not selfish, but again, selfless; making himself better for others.

I met Jim when I was facilitating a leadership experience at his organization. During the lunch break he and I had some time one-on-one. I personally experienced his ability to be present with another. So when his boss mentioned he would like to consider Jim for my coaching program, I pushed forward at the chance to work with this individual and his brand of love.

To love, in all one says and does, is a privilege. It is a privilege because of what it brings to the one who loves. Allow me to make this personal, going from one to I. I love, do love, can love, only because I was first loved; from the beginning. There is great benefit and wonderful blessing in growing older; as long as I do not just get older but actually do grow older−grow in love, always!

The Flow Constant 

Love in the work,
work in the love,
and love works on me.

A quiet morning
and warm Spring rain
reminding of the obligation
to encourage true self,
allowing peace and quiet
at the center;
calmly pushing away
each unnecessary judgment.

This is love.
Quiet. Solid.
Steady and grounded in this Trueness,
it is a sure stand and steady walk;
it is this grace
given by love
of which we are part.

To place into words,
to define my Trueness,
what words might suffice?
Likely done already, this task
of defining self true,
work done in the very work
that called me out.

Yes, but maybe this work
only opens the door of consciousness.
So then, what does it look like
walking through, now enjoying
the deeper quiet, peace,
and love?

Maybe this walk is faith,
and maybe hope, leading
to the flow constant
of love.

Trueness is Love
That dear friend of mine called to check on me (his love in action). We talked about where I am with offering any kind of extended program to my coaching clients. I told him how my expression of love for those I’ve coached had moved my thoughts away from predetermined outcomes and distracting expectation and toward honest expression of the heart. I decided I wasn’t building a new program, I was simply acknowledging love and allowing it to guide me ever more clearly. Confirming my messaging moved me away from generic scripting toward individualized messages of love, a fresh commitment of my love in action.

When I approach things from my own Trueness, keeping my commitment to do what is good and right for me to do (and letting that go to do its thing), and doing this from a personal voice of Love and Encouragement, good things happen. I find myself worrying less about the outcomes, because the outcomes do take care of themselves. Letting go is not about a lack of caring, but simply about not having the need to grasp at things, in a manner where holding on is damaging to self and others. Letting go, we open the space for the true self and its love from the beginning.

When you finally commit to lead, influence, and serve from the rhythm of your Trueness, you can grasp the reality that there is no priority higher than that of your love. So maybe love itself begins within. Through such love, we become the love we’ve always been. This is Trueness. This is the true self.

Letting Go

Wisdom, she smiles.
Maybe even smirks.
The things we grasp,
so not worth the energy.

Let go.
Stop reaching out
to grab onto.
Let it all flow by,
with love, push it all
into the cloud of forgetting.

Notes:

Green, Thomas H.. When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings. Notre Dame: Ava Maria Press, 1998.

 

 

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In the Resonant Middle – Your Impact

Transition, one then another
dispensed on a soul
is to an individual
proof simply one is living.

−verse 1 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

My voice of love, and its strength of encouragement, implore and equip me to share important things with you. At the forefront of such sharing is my wish for you to take the appropriate time for yourself, with associated energy focused on your service−the impact of your Trueness.

As I considered the deeper context to which this work has led me, other questions were opened for my consideration.

To what has this work led me? Where has this work led me?

My answers:
To what has this work led me?

To an appreciation, & consideration, of the potential of what I know.
To a holding that doesn’t require a possessive need to understand.
To an intersection of study and work in the center of Desire & Intent.
To my own simple Trueness.

Where has this work led me?

To a point where I try to do more and more in and from love.
Into a flow, a letting go practice into the flow, of what is, now.
To a place of intuitive trust: trusting a sequence to see the unfolding.
To a focus on Trueness, for others.

I love beautiful questions. I love also when another beautifully answers such a question for me, based on what she knows of me–my Trueness. From the influence of Bernadette Jiwa (TheStoryofTelling.com), I asked myself: Where does what matters to me intersect with what matters to the other?

Listening
This question was beautifully answered by Coach Judy when she said to me, “Your clients know you listen and really hear them. That’s the intersection.”

Listening is the intersection of what matters to me, and what matters to the individual. I must keep allowing this, for this is the deeper context and the deeper connection. Where else will it take me? We’ll see.

So, when you learn to speak of loving your work–a work you’ve been given–you now speak more about those for whom you do your work, individuals you’ve been given the privilege to love.

This is your impact.

A poem for your work: This is Your Service

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Your Rhythm in Leading – Part 1 of 7

Deep Impact

Feel, Hear, See


What is the deeper context to which this work has led me?

Somewhere in the four years of living this beautiful question the answer began to surface. The flawless answer was first a seed, predestined to sprout within a deep, inner and original conversation. Such conversation is born in Trueness.

Trueness is your authentic self, from the beginning, with colors and hues on the original palette, simply waiting to be stroked into beautiful, present being by the dance and dialogue of artist and canvas.

“Part of being present has everything to do with being true to yourself. If you are true to your passion and your purpose … then, they align with presence.” –Dan Roller, Acris Consulting

Trueness, it seems, was my one-word answer to the question of deeper context. I had been brought to the middle of my own Trueness, and I became more dedicated than ever to support the shift toward Trueness in others.

A Story of Impact

This work I’ve been given to do allows me the opportunity to journey at length with special individuals. One such privilege is my colleague Ric Gonzalez. I’ve known Ric long enough, and have been close enough over the years, to observe his evolution and transformation into the realm of his Trueness. Ric, through his life and work, is making an impact.

Writing about Ric brings to mind a project I learned about when working a gig with the Jet Propulsion Laboratories and the International Storytelling Center. The JPL project was called Deep Impact. I interviewed one of the project team members and heard what it was all about. A probe was launched with the intention of colliding with a nearby comet.

The probe was described to me as a solid mass about the size of a coffee table, with no damaging ordnances aboard. Once it would meet the targeted comet, it would make a deep impact and send out debris that could then be studied, resulting in a better understanding of the comet’s makeup and origin.

Why would I compare Ric to a solid mass meeting a target? Ric intends no harm in the work he has chosen, and that has selected him. However, his intention has drawn him forward to make a deep impact. He then pays attention to what swirls in the space between what he desires and what he intends–being present in the creative and tense space of the work he does. In such space, Ric becomes more aware of his own Trueness while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of those he leads, influences, and serves. This is Ric’s deep impact.

Feel, Hear, See

In and with Trueness, I had my why and what. This left me with the question of how. The answer to how was tucked away in my authentic self. In one word, my how is Rhythm.

The answer of Rhythm opened yet further conversation as I found myself asking, What is it about rhythm I so desire to teach?

Writing this series on Your Rhythm in Leading is part of the journey toward an answer. As I’ve learned to live the questions, I’m finding I must many times live into the answers–it is an unfolding.

The methodology I’ve found to illustrate one’s rhythm with passion, purpose, and presence has sub-rhythms within. One such pulse contained within is associated with the outcomes one values. I know this pulse as feel, hear, see.

As for Ric, and the reality of his impact, he has taken accountability for why he feels, what he hears, and how he sees. He listens in the flow, and in the process honors his rhythm.

We desire and intend the same for you!

“What would it be like to take a professional approach to the longings of our soul for fulfillment in the world?” –David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America

And thus, thanks Mr. Whyte, answering this question has been my journey for the last 20 years!

A Leadership Poem: Soul to Soul

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Creative Tension – Part 5B of 7

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

 

Creative Tension – Part 4A of 7

Trustworthy Timbre

While Jennifer and I write about the rhythm of Gather-Give-Grow, you may notice we seem to emphasize the middle, Give.

IMG_0112As I compose this, it’s autumn in the mountains where I reside. Color is the fruit of rhythm in the trees. Allow me to ask you to look upon your leader-self as a tree. With the roots of who you objectively are, you Gather. Desire originating from such authenticity drives your gathering. Intent draws your authentic self out and up to Grow and spread your limbs of reach for others. And with this image we are back to Give, depicted by the trunk, the reliable Trueness of your presence.

Finding oneself on the firm landing of the middle is what our rhythm as leaders is all about.

Jennifer reminds us that being a leader is not about position or power; it is about the presence we have that inspires another toward possibilities. Your voice is a perpetual reserve of energy for the creative tension that is the power in the atmosphere of your middle stand.

One’s voice, like water, will find its way. More joyous, however, is the journey when we more consciously learn to apply our voice in those significant middle-moments. It is a stunning moment of simplicity when you realize–in words or picture–what it looks like to stand in the moments of voice generously applied.

In a moment of attentiveness, stop, and answer this: “What is the one driver of goodness that, for you, must be present in each interaction for the possibilities to be properly honored?”

Your intuitive answer is your Voice.

Your voice is true resonance from a tense stand in the middle of your call to leave it all a bit better than you found it, and the freeing of your own rhythmic tune. Your voice is the energy core for balanced application of all your innate strengths. Your voice, freed in and through the intersection that is your stand, is the inspirational presence leading others toward their own possibilities.

From personal experience–my own journey–I can assure you that knowing and consciously applying your voice, as consistently as humanly possible, is a solid stand bringing to life your own unique, strength-filled rhythm of Gather-Give-Grow.

After all these years of working I’ve come to a conclusion about this work to which I’ve been called. When an individual thinks on our work together, they will find it difficult to explain what we did or how it was done; all they can do–must do–is tell their own Story!

And I will know my voice freely flows.

A Leadership Poem: The Privilege of Resonance

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Creative Tension – Part 3B of 7

Jennifer 3B-1

This is the motto of the Mudderella, a 5 – 7 mile obstacle course race created in 2013 byJennifer 3B-2 Christina DeVito, former Chief Strategy Officer for Tough Mudder. The Mudderella was designed by women to help women realize they are stronger, mentally and phyically, then they realize. The Tough Mudder, created in 2010, is a 10-12 mile obstacle course “designed to test physical strength and mental grit.” There’s even a Froot Shoot Mini Mudder for kids ages 7 – 12. All of these events are about teamwork and camaraderie. They are about helping the person next to you get through that obstacle, not about who finishes first. They are “about knowing what strong means for you–and owning it.”

So why am I sharing all of this with you? What does a muddy obstacle course have to do with leadership and the work of Trueness?

Actually – quite a lot!
Let’s engage in some divergent thinking and explore…

I was introduced to these events last year by a colleague who has participated in the Tough Jennifer 3B-3Mudder for about 2 years now. The initial draw for me was to support Mike as he completed the Chicago event in May of this year. The event was close to home so I thought it would be good to cheer for him. Then he told me about the Mini Mudder and I knew my 10 year old daughter would probably love it! And she did!

In September, we traveled to Wisconsin for another Mudder. Through all of this, I watched Mike, my daughter, and my husband, challenge themselves by participating in these events. They proved to themselves that they had the physical and mental ability to succeed. Seeing this has been an inspiration!

The leadership Mike provides isn’t just about completing a muddy obstacle course. It’s even more valuable. You see he leads with “influence through presence,” as Jeff mentioned in the previous post. Mike’s strength of character, discipline, and focus on self-improvement has a way of inspiring those around him, whether he realizes it or not. As we know, being a leader isn’t about a title or power over others. It’s about the presence you have that inspires others to CHOOSE to follow. And when you make the time to invest in yourself, you GIVE to others the best of you.

Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.”
–Jim Rohn

These words seem to be echoed in many ways around me. Due to a recent change, a good friend gave me a simple, yet powerful book by Patrick Lindsay, Make the Most of You – 170 ways to be the best you can. The simple advice provided on the inside jacket sings of leadership and trueness, investing in yourself so that you may give to others.

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Photo courtesy of https://pixabay.com

“The most important changes generally don’t come from the big things that happen to us; it’s the small things that really transform our lives – small things that have surprising, powerful ripple effects that go far beyond our expectations.”
–Patrick Lindsay

In a world of constant change, embracing the small things can make all the difference. I know the ripple effects of the leadership Mike provides are still being felt. His strength inspires the strength of others. And his potential will find a way to unleash the potential of others.

So as you think about your trueness as a leader, remember the advice shared by Patrick Lindsay,

  • Leave everything a little better than you found it;
  • Wear your scars proudly;
  • Unleash your own song.

Invest in yourself – Gather. Embrace your trueness – Give.
Own Your Strong! – Grow!

Mudderella, here I come!

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

The Rhythm of Journey – Part 1 of 7

Introduction to The Rhythm of Journey

I must be near The Stream, with the stream consistently. The stream is in me. And when needed−which is quite often−I hike to the Trust View to see and remember that all I Hold & Release into the flow is part of a larger reality of Life & Living.

It was an early Spring morning when I stepped into self-induced worries around things that do not require such energy draining attention. In those moments I decided to own the fact that I must learn to truly let go. How? How indeed.

At that moment I had a heart thought:
“Just be grateful.”

So that day, I simply walked in gratitude. After the day of walking as such, I found myself journaling a prayer of sorts:

Let gratitude go deep
deep into the heart of who I am
deep into the soul of self
of others
of everything.

The next day I simply took action instead of wasting energy on any worry. The doing was what I knew to be good and right in my being.

For a while now I’ve been very attentive to the rhythm for my own Life & Living.
~ Forgive Everything
~ Everything Belongs
~ See the Unfolding

Forgive Everything gets me down to The Stream where I wade into the flow and mindfully place things (including those self-induced worries).
Everything Belongs is The Path−my evolving journey as I learn continually to honor paradox (a practice in leading with a non-dual mindset).
See the Unfolding; as I place all in the flow and let go of the need to judge/separate, I rise to the height of the Trust View.

The Rhythm of Journey

The Stream
Hold & Release …
 The Paradox (Stillness/Flow)
The Path
Life & Living     … The Paradox (Being/Doing)
The Trust View
Desire & Intent … The Paradox (Attachment/Detachment)

Introducing this to you, my reader, has been a significant challenge. I hope you will stay with me as I continue through the next six pieces.

I desire that you know your rhythm. My intent is that these pieces of writing from me will take you into conscious presence with the rhythm of your journey; and that you will see such rhythm as the energy source for your Life & Living as a leader in this 21st Century.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com: A Walk in Gratitude

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