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

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

The Path

“They’re just living their lives.” A wise colleague said this in response to a frustration. Unfortunately, I was the holder of that frustration. Along with the Achilles’ heel of needing to understand things at a too often intense level, there is yet another one; I also hate to be ignored. Let me walk into a restaurant, be ignored, and I’ll walk out never to return. Sorry, it is what it is. During the challenging year in which my colleague spoke this, I was feeling ignored. It was frustration built up from unnecessary expectations I had set for others.

Her comment got my attention, brought me to ground. I was embarrassed by the intensity with which I had succumbed to false expectations; scripts written that had nothing to do with reality. I had strayed from rhythm, the cadence of my own way of being in this work I do. Somehow in my journey, three strengths have evolved and joined together to give me, not only a rhythm in the work, but a model for doing the work: Gather-Give-Grow.

Study has served my life and work. In study, I gather information on the one hand. On the other hand is the need to grow something with what has been gathered. When the hand of gather joins the hand of grow, I then know how to truly give. And giving is done in a steady walk, on the path with purpose.

At the core of life & living is what it means to walk. To participate is to step from life into living. Life is observation. Living is participation. Life is the energy of internal focus. Living is the energy of external focus. Life is the birth of new ideas and creative, intuitive ways of being. Living is the freeing of such energy into a needy world, as we do what is right for us to do along our own path.

The Rhythm of Paradox

There is this,
There is that,
And the two together
I hold.
A tension of life,
A blessing for living.

As I sat in the quiet of an early Wednesday morning, the blessings of life & living were swirling about me. I pray I have had the impact upon others that is spoken in my own statement of Desire & Intent:

That you lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence; as you embrace the power of who you are, and act on this Trueness.

This is a good and noble thing for me, because the collision of desire and intent were given to me; implanted from the beginning. As such, this is life, given for living. This statement doesn’t define me, it was given for the defining, reality brought to my life & living.

I use the term life & living as a reference to one’s path and to express the flow of internal to external, and open awareness to the path−the middle tension created by the paradox of life and living. For some, energy given to the doing helps develop awareness of being. For some, energy given to being helps develop more conscious application in the doing. It doesn’t matter where one must begin, based on her or his makeup; it only matters when both are held in the blessing of creative tension, rhythm, and flow.

I speak about flow and rhythm as if they are the same thing. They are, and they are not. I speak of flow in the larger sense, that of which we are all a part. I speak of rhythm in a personal manner, that cadence within, given since the beginning, and key to knowing how we join the flow.

Encouraged by the Fitting Together

In my work with individual leaders, I have for years engaged in dialogue about strengths. I include this focus on each person’s strengths because of an external concentration in our work society leveraging varying instruments to show people their strengths. In our corporeal work around leadership development, we assume a focus on strengths is telling the individual something of deep, internal truth about who they are. Rather, we are only pointing to an example of how they show up in the world, not why they show up.

This work in the external can go only so far in being of assistance to true impact. If one only lives actively from external sources, there is no flow, and there is no rhythm. Flow and rhythm are not propositions of either/or, but the holding together of both/and. The fitting together of it all, part of the energy of everything belongs, is part of a reality that is in our midst in this 21st Century.

Personally, if I try to understand this fitting together, I ultimately limit my seeing. But if I simply allow it to encourage me, I stand a much better chance at seeing how it comes together. I must not allow any need to understand, or any other Achilles’ heel, to prevent me from knowing this belonging.

After many years holding the need to understand (a private version of control), I’m learning to release into what it means to contemplate and participate in the unfolding flow; taking a long, loving look at reality. Critical to this learning is remaining connected in the flow with my own rhythm.

The encouragement we need comes from within, as our desire becomes fueled by our voice and joins intention, creating the energy needed for impact.

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

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

Wading into Trueness

Trueness is the deeper context to which this work has led me; a work to which I’ve been led and now find pulling me forward.

One’s journey toward, and with, Trueness begins with the Wade, the choice to participate−even well before we understand all we feel, hear, and see flowing around us. I have come to a place in my life and living where I consider all my efforts to be The Work of Trueness.

I believe that the true self is not lost out there but buried in here. I also believe it is one’s life-long work to uncover and live from this Trueness. Our Trueness is the pearl of great price buried in that field, the ground we purchase by letting go of all that is false and in the way of the flow of our voice, a brand of resonant love uniquely given to us from the beginning.

At the core of the nature of reality is paradox. We are being unrealistic when, in our life and living, we constantly need to separate; to make choices and decisions loosely structured on the lies of dualistic thought. And the most serious flaw at reality’s core is the failure to embrace as One the human and divine. It seems to me that any subsequent refusal to hold any other true paradox is built on this failure.

Do You Hear?

The most important tool in the craft of my work is that of listening. My very Desire & Intent in this work depends on the attention I pay to listening. Listening is the tool, but really hearing another is the skill (art). To allow the two to properly work together, I must get myself out of the way.

I’ve found that most people don’t listen well to themselves, and therefore not hearing profound points of resonance from both inner and outer charges; the impact of desire and intent. Several years ago I fell victim to my own lack of hearing.

I was having an economically challenging year, telling myself a story of betrayal and evaporating value of this work in which I had become so invested. During this time, two dear friends encouraged me to listen to what my clients said to me about our work together, and to really hear in their words the impact for them in the intersection of my own desire and intent.

Providentially timed with this encouragement, I found myself in a conversation with Amy, a wonderful client and supporter of my work through the years. Sensing my walk along the cliff-edge of depression, she lovingly took me to task for not intuitively knowing the value of the work I do, and what I had done for so many. She decided to speak for them.

Speaking to my own gifted rhythm, she said:

  • We learn from you and take this to others, proliferating our mentorship.
  • You teach us how to leverage our relationships.
  • You give us skills to teach the methodology to others in order to improve both individual and organizational impact.

Needless to say, I’ve kept Amy’s words before me in the years since receiving them from her faithful courage. This beautiful, blessed interaction with her helped pull my steps away from a desperate edge and inspirited my walk back into my own cadence. Amy knew my rhythm because she had become conscious of her own rhythm in the experience of being truly heard.

Forgiving Reality

In my book, The Rhythm of Trueness, I share the rhythmic flow gifted to my consciousness through my study of Fr. Richard Rohr’s writing: Forgive Everything / Everything Belongs / See the Unfolding.

It is in the Wade, stepping into life and living freeing oneself from the lies of expectations, where we are struck with the paradox of stillness and flow. In the flow, sudden awareness of things moving together with or without us, we realize the importance of our participation. But to move such realization into active engagement, partaking of the energy available to us, we must let go of the false standards that have so far defined us.

To forgive everything is only possible somewhere in the intersection of forgiving reality and forgiving yourself for the reality created by circumstances, and any set of standards by which you may have been taught and most likely controlled. To forgive reality, as one knows it, is the proclamation of true freedom, and forgiving self is the freedom to be true.

Trueness
Who one is since the beginning is already present, with colors and hues on an original palette, simply waiting to be stroked into present being by the dance and dialogue of artist and canvas.

Your Rhythm in Leading – Part 6 of 7

Rhythm

See the Impact

I have always required a fair amount of alone time. As a child I spent hours with modeling clay as a playmate. I molded short stories and full movie scripts with the consequent figures. In my teen years, in the midst of much activity with a base of life-long friends to be, I often turned down the offer of an outing to continue working on some scale model, or other project–alone.

My first memory of feeling lonely was some time during my last two years at the university. In those days, because the university had a sprawling campus outside a small town, activity was often sparse on the weekend.

It was one of the few weekends I stayed on campus. My home was 140 miles away and I was not long with money, cooking in my room quite often in an electric skillet with ingredients brought from home, and living the remainder on about five dollars a week. I walked the campus for what I remember being hours. I was alone and walking into loneliness.

In the Middle of Alone and Lonely

I found myself outside a small chapel. Suddenly present inside, I quietly stood in the middle experience of alone and lonely. Such experience was a space asking me to be with what is, all that has been, all that will be–it’s all now.

Nearing 21 years of age, graduating with a degree in accounting, an impending job search, and our wedding, it was a beautiful, settling moment, a present grounding. Forty years later, I find myself in that small chapel, metaphorically, quite often as I coach individuals and write for you.

Surveying the years since that moment in the small campus chapel, I see how providence moved me, through experience, toward my own voice. Early on, my voice of Love, and its strength of Encouragement, struggled to find focus. Eventually, my voice became my focus as I translated voice into a personal/professional purpose and brand.

“The voice emerges literally from the body as a representation of our inner world. It carries our experience from the past, our hopes and fears for the future, and the emotional resonance of the moment.”

–David Whyte, The Heart Aroused

I truly believe that the more narrow your focus, the broader your impact. Narrowing focus is a disciplined practice supportive of the developing ability to let go.

The Middle Stand of Trueness

Trueness is the impact of your presence; a presence grounded in voice applied. The impact of your methodology of focus is faithfulness to a cycle of energy that has been diligently built on your Trueness throughout your journey. If I did not know voice, I could not know rhythm.

In a chapel of awareness, Kelly has embraced her voice of Respect and Dignity and is applying her rhythm of impact. Upon seeing in writing, her voice, and its strength of A Clear Voice at the Table, her boss said, “The better you listen the better you are at executing your personal brand.”

As Kelly has learned, and is now practicing, to focus at her best she must listen. She came to me, and our work together, at a beautiful, providentially timed moment. She was aware of key perceptions about who she was in her work, and she didn’t like what she saw. As with any perception, it is the one being perceived who makes the choice to do something about changing any specific perception.

Kelly came to me in light of her courageous commitment to change the perception, “Give it to Kelly, she’ll get it done.” While that may have the mask of a compliment in our work society, it is a very narrow view, limiting Kelly’s ability to apply her Trueness as well as the ability of anyone to observe such authentic rhythm in action.

Kelly felt alone, and thus lonely. She didn’t know what to do beyond what constantly bubbling emotions were saying loud and clear. Now, when her voice of Respect and Dignity is in the lead, she will consciously listen in each situation. As she will continue to discover, the more she listens, the more her voice will have its place with influence, inclusion, and impact.

Being true to self is not possible standing to one side or the other. Trueness is found only in the middle stand.

A Leadership Poem: Quiet and Clear

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Creative Tension – Part 2B of 7

Listen to the Rhythm

 Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances. –Maya Angelou

As I read the previous post from Jeff, I too was struck by the words he shared from Parker J. Palmer; especially,

“Pay attention to rhythm.”

This simple, yet powerful, statement reminded me of the clear messages shared by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in the book The Power of Full Engagement. Rhythm is all around us.  It’s in nature as we move from day, to night, to day again; as we move through the seasons, and the years. There’s rhythm in the universe around us. And there’s rhythm in the universe within us. Our heartbeat, our breathing, our sleeping, and as we move through our day, there’s a rhythm we “dance” to – sometimes like a puppet on strings.

But our natural rhythms have been overridden.  With the fast pace of life and Jennifer 2B-1advances in technology that is meant to keep us connected, we’re wired up, but we’re melting down.  We have laptops and tablets and smart phones. There’s a wifi hot spot in just about every coffee shop, restaurant, sports center. We get pop-up reminders, and text messages – all designed to help us manage our time, and our connections, better.

Our capacity to be fully engaged, to be our whole selves, our strong selves, depends on our ability to periodically disengage, slow down, and listen.  Listen to what the universe is trying to say to us.

Recently a good friend shared a story that has stayed with me. Maritza exemplifies what it means to truly listen. Like most of us, she was caught up in the hectic pace of the life and work she chose for herself. And like many of us, she was tired, stressed, and not fulfilled. Then she made a change. She quit one career and took a completely different path and found her calling, her purpose, by listening. Some may call it the universe or a guiding spirit. Maritza calls this her angel. Even though she has never seen him, Jennifer 2B-2she’s felt him, and listens to his “guiding voice”. Maritza’s interpretation of what she hears when she listens to her angel is her strength. Through her listening, she gathers what she needs to help others. And by sharing her strength, her calling, she can feel energized as well.

We all have our own “angel” trying to speak to us when we are faced with a problem or puzzle or decision. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of how to listen. We have a way that feels natural for us to renew our energy and maintain a natural rhythm. Whatever your preference, the point is to recognize when your rhythm is off and make the time to set it right. Some ways to do this are:

  • Practice “strategic disengagement”. Consciously and deliberately create new boundaries for yourself.  Disengagement doesn’t have to be long. It just needs to be intentional and conscious.
  • Discipline yourself to see the patterns around you. Then use what you see to help others.
  • Deliberately look for people with opposing viewpoints to engage in conversation. Look for evidence that contradicts what you believe. Doing this will help keep you from becoming complacent and keep your mind energized.

Even as we do this for ourselves, as leaders, we need to remember that others look to us for guidance. It may be our voice that speaks to them as their “angel”. So not only do we need to remember to disengage and renew our own energy, we need to be aware of the rhythm of those we lead and encourage them to do the same. In doing this we open ourselves to the rhythms around us and the creative tension that will help us to gather what we need to lead others.

So as you think about what you do and whom you lead, and I know you will, remember that you have a rhythm and the universe is speaking to you. Sometimes we just need to slow the rhythm, listen to our angel, and then get back in the dance.

Jennifer 2B-3

Photos courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Jennifer Rainey "Natural Information Curator"

Jennifer Rainey
“Natural Information Curator”

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.

 

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Through the Door of Possibility

Creative Tension – Part 1A of 7

Driven by the Impact I desire to have and drawn to the Impact I intend to have, I have for many years been a person who studies.

On the day I began my part of this composition, Judy (my coach, colleague, and friend) and I were talking about a shift in our motivation for reading and studying. We have each come to a place where we no longer study for study-sake. It is now more important to be in study driven by what it is we know we must now learn. And what we now study is in direct support of what we desire and intend to impact.

Modern education is training for autonomy, and in that context, it is almost impossible to admit that knowledge itself is a gift.

–Parker J. Palmer, The Promise of Paradox

In the quest for learning, Judy and I are being challenged to go beyond acquiring for mere practicality and now see our learning for application that is pure.

Please understand, study has served up value and purpose in my life and work. This place where I now stand in life & living requires the shift from a need to study to a need to learn. It is time to bring fullness into the rhythm.

Study is to gather information on the one hand. On the other hand is the need to grow something with what has been gathered. In the sense of application and practice, as I use the term in my coaching, is a true knowing–learning that occurs when the hand of Gather joins the hand of Grow and we then know how to truly Give.

And there lies, with Give, the stand in Creative Tension. Difficult it is to be creative without the tension between what we desire to be real and the possibility we intend.

Impossible it is for me to learn and give of that learning if I do not first receive it as a gift. When received as a gift I find myself soaked in gratitude, and I know then my responsibility is to dry out in the air of giving.

And hence, we have the gift of leadership. A leader holds such tension; holds it long enough to understand what it looks like to give in the present, allowing us to come together and make real the larger story we desire to tell.

A Leadership Poem: You Are Someone

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Our Outer Accountability – Desire & Intent

The participants in the group experience had each answered the Desire & Intent question−exposing in the “Power of 3” the flowing rhythm of unique, individual Impact. Pat, in the diagnostic style of her profession as a physician, asked, “What if all 3 of mine are equal?” I had to admit that I wasn’t sure how to answer. So to offer something in support of her studious intent, I explained how this rhythmic power of 3 seemed to always provide the right order for the individual; to concentrate on that versus equality.

There are lots of actions we could take to pursue a work or a career, but we often don’t begin, because we don’t feel the grip, the connection, the current that can carry us across such a wide tract of water. −David Whyte, The Three Marriages

The rhetorical and rhythmic power of 3, while still a deep mystery to me, has brought my work to life. It was the singularity of my own Desire & Intent that provided the foundation for building−confirming and making real what I know.

I was pleased and honored when Dr. Pat approached me one-on-one afterwards with her 3 answers in hand. As she translated her physician pencraft, I was able to better understand the natural flow and rhythm of what she had recorded about herself. It was cool to watch her stand right there and witness her desire collide with her intent and clearly illustrate her Impact in this world−this presence and way of being in the life and work that she chose, and that had chosen her.

So very much was brought into Dr. Pat’s view through the one word she selected intuitively to open this vista; “Wellness.” At first in her eyes, and subsequently in the words we shared, I was privileged to be a part of this story, even if for a brief time.

Pat is an active example of someone living her Desire & Intent−her Trueness.

See companion truth – Our Inner Territory – The Freedom of Desire & Intent