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.

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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

Resonance

The fullness we seek has already filled us within. Such abundance has been pre-coded within the operating system given us since the beginning.

How might I be so certain of this, what I believe as fact? Maybe it’s the courage of faith, or the faith of a courage planted in the soil of Trueness.

The collective problem, employed individually, is in our lack of trust. We tend to not trust simplicity and grace, believing instead that there is always something we must yet do. Mutual love is the essence of presence, of good relationship, and the collective privilege of resonance flowing from uniqueness.

A Bridge to Presence

A ping from the soul
the spirit hears,
resonance within
the walls of experience.

Truly hearing, beyond
feigned listening
we come together;
a reverberating oneness
in the oneness of vibration.

In the 20/20 of resonance,
sightful clarity,
a resonant moment
becomes a hologram
of all that is true.

To resonate is to flow
the sound of peace
in the middle we know.

Living each question,
holding with care,
welcoming each paradox,
I let go into the flow.

–J. Brunson

 

 

Writing

Encouraged I’ve been by those with the courage to pick up pen and face the page.

The writer, someone most likely never met, even from an age long past, reaches out and touches between soul and spirit the one who cares enough to take in the words.

In this writer, a voice.

In this writer, love.

And when voice vibrates through love, and love resonates from voice, we who read have the privilege to hold the words and release them to another in the power of our own loving presence.

Words Between

In quiet faith
allowing
the voice of creation
the audience of my heart,
I trust
the flow
of spirits to my words.

Between the lifeline of a future
and the memory of a past,
I let go and reach out,
only to grasp back
toward the reality of now.

Love for what I do,
Love for whom I do it,
assurance nourished.

Such assurance,
arrogance absent.
Rather, such is
confident presence,
and present love.

Words gather love.
Words grow love.
And pressed between,
I must give words.
I must write for you.

–J. Brunson