Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wonder: Part IIIC

Love & Oneness
To allow the strength of one’s voice uninhibited flow.

Allowing Uninhibited Flow

Like Amy, Jack, Kevin, and so many others with whom I’m blessed to work, your voice−identified and consciously engaged−is your brand of love. Behind that voice, in the foundation of your Trueness, is strength. When voice is resonant and flowing, the strength behind your voice engages; it is that something you cannot help but do.

Just one week before writing this, I boarded a plane for Los Angeles to work with a client and her leadership team. Being a long flight from Ohio to California, I decided to treat myself to first class accommodations. I took my assigned seat and had barely spoken to the man next to me when he asked if I would change with his buddy a few rows forward. I agreed and moved.

No sooner than I settled into the new seat, for some reason, the man who asked me to move got bumped from his seat. I’m thinking what a waste of effort, until Brian greets me.

While your voice, however you identify or label it, is your brand of love, I actually identify my own voice as love itself. The strength of my voice is encouragement. When in the presence of another, with my voice in the freedom of flow, I simply cannot help but find some moment of encouragement for the other within what I’m hearing.

As part of his greeting, Brian asked me what I do. Upon telling him that I build confident leaders, he began telling me about his destination in New Mexico and the purpose of his travel. Brian currently works with a large company in the aircraft industry. He supports the sales force as a subject matter expert around a particular product−a product he invented and patented. After creating his innovative and very needed product, he began his own company selling directly to the end user. His frustrations with having to be too deeply involved with his sales force led him to the current position. Now, the frustrations within a large, complex organization−where his product is one of 14,000−were forcing him to consider going back to where he began.

As I listened, and offered some tactical considerations, I was waiting for the deeper issue to surface. As Brian talked about going back to where it all began, it seems his current state was a lack of passion, unlike the original desire that began it all. This can too often be the case for freelance types; he/she begins with a unique focus and purpose, only to be devastatingly distracted into the minutiae of so-called growth and success.

As Brian seemed determined to recreate a connected and passionate sales force, my encouragement took a tactical and specific approach. I shared with him the concept of interviewing for behaviors, using the power of prompting stories from the interviewee. As this captured his attention, and seemed to encourage him, I told him I would send him something on the topic when I landed. I did.

The Quiet Flow of Passion

My time with Brian was on the shorter of the two flights on the way to California. He shared quite a bit of information with me before I got to the narrowly focused encouragement. In the hopes of maybe getting a chance to be more thorough in encouraging him, I gave him my business card. Time will tell. And as I have his contact information, it’s highly likely, from what I experience in this work I love, that I will think of him and send something more.

Often when meeting someone new and engaging in deep conversation, the other person acknowledges the passion in my speaking. This makes me happy, because I love what I do and it pleases me when it shows. As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi postulates from his research and studies, while I might not be necessarily conscious of happiness while working, being in flow with what it is that I do results in my being happy. Having worked with many individuals like those about whom I tell stories, I’ve been blessed with the hours and experiences that have built my expertise, allowing me uninhibited flow and joyful presence in the quiet of my passion.

Whatever your deepest passion may be, it originates at the core of your voice; and within that core is the strength of voice that makes it resonant in a needy world. From this quiet core a voice is born and grows in desire to find its impact in the world. The impact you intend is also born in this original passion. Leading from passion, the leader compels others to action within the larger flow−a story honoring oneness.

It is difficult to see the unfolding if we haven’t learned to see in the unfolding story. To develop such sight, we must engage and connect to the larger story. We must step into the flow, individually and together. It was such story-building that had called me to California.

Advertisements

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wonder: Part IIIB

Love & Oneness
To allow the strength of one’s voice uninhibited flow.


In the Atmosphere of Present Being

Jack is an attentive (contemplative) leader. His loving presence is the living measure of his impact in this world, and confirmation of his willing participation in the unfolding of it all−presented to him in what he feels, hears, and sees.

To know the rhythm of being present, you must lovingly embrace the paradox of being both human and divine. To know the rhythm means:

  • You feel your rhythm and open to the gratitude naturally flowing from your core.
  • You hear the true resonance given you since the beginning, standing confidently in the middle and listening to the leader and teacher within.
  • You see more clearly for the sake of opening further the path of impact, a crescendo of your brand of love.

In the atmosphere of present being, you must be willing to humbly hold the impact of your Trueness. Holding impact means:

  • Forgiving your own assumptions, about self and others, freeing the flow of your voice.
  • Embracing the mystery of belonging with all and everything.
  • Trusting that your resonance is doing its work in the world, whether you will ever consciously know this or not.

Trusting Resonance

The month before writing this, I traveled to Chicago to facilitate a confidence building session with 50 leaders for Kevin, the executive I wrote about earlier. Our relationship goes back many years. His wife is Amy, that loving supporter of my work for as many years. As my wife had gone with me on this trip, Amy and Kevin asked us to join them for dinner.

At the beginning of forming my coaching practice, I struggled with marketing myself. Pretty much everything I did marketing-wise was both a train wreck and a waste of energy. At some point, and thanks to a couple of loving colleagues, I found my rhythm in this thing called marketing. This rhythm was found in the merger of my desire to work within the authenticity of the individual and my intent for them to be lovingly confident in their leadership.

I settled into an atmosphere of trust within my own Trueness. Simply, this is what that looks like: If I’ve worked with you, learning your Trueness, and I come across something while gathering, giving, and growing with the work I do, then I will stop and formulate something from the experience to share with you, in a manner that further encourages your Trueness.

At dinner that evening, Amy looked over at me and said, “You know those things you send to us, you need to know how much we value that.” What a blessing it is to hear these words from a valued relationship. The reality is, that doing work like I do, it is rare to hear such. But it is also reality that, whether it is heard or not, the impact is still there. This takes trust, a faith in the actions energized by our own Trueness, our art.

Confirming Love

While we have ample opportunities for improvement in our society, we are free. We are free to do work we love, and in our work, love others. Think about it. And where there are those who may not be readily able to take advantage of such freedom, we as leaders have a solemn accountability to create atmospheres supportive of such life-giving-sharing autonomy.

Soul confirmation, flowing worth
energy for the walk.
Movement, toward relationship
Oneness regarded.

How powerful it is to be confirmed for what you really do from the depths of who you really are. After that evening of dinner and conversation with those two true leaders, Kevin and BJ hugged, he and I shook hands, Amy and BJ hugged, and as Amy and I embraced in an appreciative hug, I said, “I love you.”

It was not an accident. I spoke from the center of my soul.

So, if we work together, will I tell you I love you? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing I will promise you, I willlove you.

What if?

You are different from me.
Such observation begins within.
Thought often turns into statement.
And if behind the statement, fear,
the consequence on the other,
judgment.

In such judgment
is tragedy twofold:
Violence, in the direction
of the other, projected.
Violence, in the direction
of one’s self, absorbed.

Allowing such violence,
projected and absorbed,
one spreads yet another layer
over the blindness
continuing to separate us
one from another.

But, what if …

We are different; Yes!
In such exclamation,
might our eyes open
to see,
not so much, difference,
but the uniqueness
yours
mine
and the fresh oneness
created
each time
we choose to see?

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wonder: Part IIIA

Love & Oneness

Our unique brand of love is complete freedom, allowing us to hold opposing truths we find in life & living. These truths become more clear to us as we listen deeply. To hold is no longer about control. As we hold with the freedom love provides, we feel with wholeness, hear more succinctly, and see more clearly.

To be in the free and whole space that love provides is to learn to be in the creatively tense middle. The middle space is tense because it forces the meeting of solitude and otherness.

An Encounter with Voice

He was a bit older than most when he began his assignment guarding the prisoners. My guess is that Jack was more mature than most his age. He had not allowed life’s realities to harden him into stone. He lived from his heart, broken open by reality, not scattered into pieces, as had sadly happened in the story of one particular prisoner.

In the ward where prisoners were placed on suicide watch, there was a particular individual who was teaching himself English by listening and searching for the right word for what he desired to translate from his native tongue. He was searching for someone to listen. Jack had walked this length of cells often and checked in on this person as the translations were being developed.

One particularly beautiful evening, the prisoner called Jack over to the cell door. He looked at Jack and pointed to a word he had written, saying, “This is my word for you.” The word was tolerance.

The prisoner shared his story with Jack that evening. I will not share that story here. What I do share, I share because I met Jack and heard the prisoner’s full story from him. The story gave insight into the teller’s tragic reality, while also speaking clearly about Jack’s Trueness as experienced by this prisoner.

Even before Jack and I had a chance to talk together, I was intrigued by watching Jack with his peers, his supportive eye contact and an engaging smile; a way of being with each person in his presence. In our one-on-one time together, I shared with Jack what I heard as he told the story of this encounter. I heard Jack’s voice of love coming through, not only in the telling, but also in the very fact that such an encounter could only occur because the man in the cell chose Jack to receive his sad story.

That night, with the open door allowing the night air through, his prisoner offered a gift in exchange for being allowed to leave his story with Jack. He gave Jack the gift of awareness, letting him know the impact of his voice, and the strength of that voice, tolerance.

The Door to Oneness

Upon learning more about my journey, and in the process more about what both drives and draws me, my friend Judy said, “You live a true life.” From this conversation, the term Trueness was given visible life in my work. My Rhythm of Trueness in this work begins as I gather from desire what is needed to grow intent, and rhythm finds its full cadence as I give in the creative, tense middle space. This rhythm, authentic and true, keeps me in the flow.

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.

In a follow up conversation with Jack, he talked about how important it is to purposefully recognize the difference between yourself and the other person in whose presence you’re blessed to be. He shared other stories of stepping into that space where he carefully held what he was feeling, hearing, and seeing. It became clear to Jack, and ever more clear to me, that our voice−our individually unique brand of love−is what opens the door, and allows our differences to swirl into Oneness.

Love & Oneness:
To allow the strength of one’s voice uninhibited flow.

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wonder: Part III

A Heart of Wonder

Stillness,
how necessary
for our movement
in the world,
time to absorb
blessing, for the sake
of expanding.

To expand is to wonder.
To wonder is to expand.
Trueness pondered,
voice amplified,
expectations released
into the flow.

We spread, not to cover
nor overshadow.
But self to decrease
and Trueness to increase;
we then
feel the rhythm
hear the middle melody
see the impact,
and know oneness
in the experience.

Experience
places memory pins
on the track of my journey,
tying together
the privilege I’ve known
through the Spirits
encountered.

Oneness, a reality
difficult to grasp
without the strength
of Love.

But oneness, like it or not,
was ordained, at the beginning,
at the foundation,
at the source
of the flow.

The italicized excerpts are journaling done on a trip to the beach one year in early May, as subtropical storm Ana passed through:

All of nature−all-and-each-in nature−are thrilled with the sun and stillness: in the flow of life & living, even through the storm and especially now after!

It was tempting to be angry, feel a bit cheated of sorts, at the presence of subtropical storm Ana−this prior to our departure to South Carolina. But in what I hope was trust−and simple living−we decided to leave as planned. And now I sit and write this looking at the beauty of peaceful sky, a full day ahead of what was predicted.

It was pure blessing for us to shift our expectations to the unexpected.

To forgive everything is to release our desire into the flow, and our wade in its stream. To see the unfolding is to trust the impact we were called to have as we observe with Wonder, at the pinnacle of intent, the fitting together of it all. And right in between we walk confidently with the creative tension of everything belongs.

How necessary it is to forgive ourselves so we might love another the way they need to be loved. I am not free to love if I have not love moving freely within. Love takes over everything. That is the way it’s supposed to be−the way it was designed to be.

This we must believe−not in the meritocratic manner in which far too many of us have been brought up and steered about. That upbringing too I must forgive!

Watching one scene long enough you can see the world the way it was all made to be, how it is all intended to work together. Seeing, and loving the seeing, is living.

The contrast … leaving our place in the Appalachian chain to be in the strand along the Atlantic, both are wonders, alive with eternity.

I of course am very glad we came on as planned in spite of uncertainty with Ana−the stalled subtropical system. In some strange form of experiential joy I’m very glad this storm was present at our time. Therein was a contrast of experience, a natural joy we would have missed otherwise, but the experience of which is making the privilege of being here something to gently hold.

It is important to be purposefully peaceful as often as possible, daily, and even multiple times a day. A dedication to purposeful peace makes us more real, free in who we really are. Being purposefully peaceful does this by slowing us down in order to feel, hear, and see. Only in such vulnerable space can we hold reality while simultaneously releasing reality. This is where life and living come together and become life & living.

Life is to be honored. And there is life beautiful all around to be observed; to be presently appreciated. And in so doing, living happens−it happens to us, as we participate in what we see.

Blessed indeed I am. It is important now that I carry this knowing with me in every step onward. This knowing of blessedness enriches my steps and ensures kindness in how I see along the path.

An ocean apart …

I’m not currently sitting on the beach. But the thought above hit me. Looking into the seemingly eternal expanse of the Atlantic Ocean, I actually feel close to those on the other side−not separated, but joined somehow.

I suppose I know the somehow, right? Of course I do. It’s the precise same joining I know with these happy birds going about their morning.

So joined we are. What now?

 

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Walk: Part IIA

Poetry & Encounter

I write poems. I try not to think too much about whether or not I’m good at doing so. To me, a poem is simply a response to an encounter, a rhythmic expression waiting for its encounter.

When writing, I quite often pause to wait for a story to tell, opening me further to my own voice in the composing. Sometimes the stories are from my own experience, but mostly they flow from my experience of another. The experience of another is an encounter with the human paradox, the counterintuitive realities that make life & living worth the attention.

An encounter is a confrontation only when one allows it to be.

The paradoxical quality of encounter is that, although unexpected, it is conflict neutral−an unconstrained, holding together of what we as humans have learned to judge as opposites.

Ericka is a caring, focused, intelligent executive. She is capable of quick, creative, and detailed analysis, and can consequently make decisions in short order. However, her voice of Trust is calling her into deeper presence with others for the sake of more meaningful interaction in a space of creative contribution. She desires for others the reward and fulfillment that come with thinking critically in the midst of our encounters with change and challenge. She leads others into a conflict neutral interval between analysis and action. This is Ericka’s due diligence as a leader, her voice flowing.

An encounter is a lesson in reality, and a true paradox. Consider a meeting of two individuals, obviously different from one another. While common cultural observation may have us trained to perceive our differences, failure to recognize differences may be precisely what keeps us from oneness.

I’ve worked with many people who have expressed the desire to collaborate at both deeper and broader levels. What I’ve learned, especially through my own flailing experience, is that we miss true collaboration and unity because we communicate too regularly from our own context; our own set of preferences both internally and externally. Failing to see the differences between myself and the other person keeps me from seeing past each variance and into the individual’s Trueness, and keeps me from bringing my own Trueness more vividly into the reality and beauty of the encounter.

Reality is infinite. Our thinking is too often finite.

Over the last several years my wife and I have been actively simplifying life & living: working from attic down to rid ourselves of things packed away or no longer needed, selling a property, leasing a down-sized space for two years, then buying a similar space closer to our daughter and son-in-law. Well enough into this process I now ask myself what this detachment is all about.

It began with simplification in mind; we have moved in great strides toward this goal. We have let go of many things, and we still have a bit to do to let go of the need for some other things. However, at this point, I am realizing the goal was less about simplification, or even detaching from things, and more about removing what is in the way of knowing Trueness, and knowing the reality of oneness.

Now that we have more freedom, we detach from things to actually learn to detach from any part of self not indicative of Trueness. These parts of us are not necessarily bad per se; they simply are no longer in control. The obstacles to Trueness are never outside of us. We become the barrier by attaching our worth, in any way, to things external to our true self, expecting these things to define us, or even help in marking out the fullness of our reality.

We are not complete as contemplative leaders unless our contemplation is shared. The answer to how it is shared and what sharing looks like is found in compassion, for oneself, and all, as one.

Ericka’s conscious attention is being applied to her encounters for reasons important to her and to those who depend on her. The more she works from her own Trueness the more she draws true contribution from others toward possibility and potential.

The love and care that others deserve, flows through us to them. If Ericka only communicated and acted from her own context, the world would miss out on the beautiful influence of her brand of love. Thankfully, she is giving her attention to her true self, thus freeing energy in leading others into more rewarding participation.

The contemplative leader’s love is real, because love is reality.

Poetry & Encounter:
A cadence of experience, a rhythm of expression formed by graceful attentiveness.

Participation (Falling in Love with Reality) – Wade: Part IA

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.

Love

We reside in a world in need, a world that needs you: the true you.

Enough.

Face facts.

Faith, Hope, Love, yes each one is of utmost importance. And the greatest of these, and all encompassing of these, is Love. No longer issue an apology or be embarrassed by this fact.

Your Trueness will not have its intended impact until you can hold in your own loving hands the reality of you since the beginning, and then offer in loving release this self into a needy world.

You were made from love. Therefore, aware or not, you are love. The world needs love. Become aware. The world needs you!

From the Beginning

Love is where I came from,
and love is where I’ll return.
In-between, intended it was,
love meant to guide and lead.
In reality love always did,
sadly, I didn’t always listen.
But now, blessed opportunity
and gift of awareness, I
can hear the voice of love
in everything I see–
but aware I must remain,
Wading
Walking
Wondering.
It’s my time to live,
live according
to the Trueness
given me
from the beginning.

–J. Brunson