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.

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The Rhythm of Journey – Part 6 of 7

The Trust View – Desire & Intent

In The Stream I talk of the flow and of the need to stand still in it. In The Path I speak of the steady walk.

The Trust View holds both movement and stillness.

The Trust View is a place you go internally to make balanced-sense of all external experience. This view is metaphorically real when B.J. and I go into the heights nearby and hike a trail leading to a summit; a high point that balances ascent and descent.

At such summit we pause and consciously open to all that can be seen. Without words we find encouragement for the journey to continue.

To see the unfolding is to trust. Put another way, if we don’t trust we will not see. The  Trust View is a place to see, a place to be in the moment of totality. The Trust View is the third note in the rhythm of journey.

The Paradox of Desire & Intent

I am blessed deeply at a refreshing level by those with whom I have the opportunity to commune through this work I’ve been given. I am rich beyond any measure with which I previously dreamed. Such fills me with a clear and flowing sensation known as gratitude.

I was led to this work of encouraging leaders over a lifetime of experience. Each experience of what I loved to do was accompanied by one I didn’t so much love. This is the paradox of experience.

At each point of desire–that something I cannot help but want through my work–I am driven to act by that which seems to wonderfully control me. At each point of intent–what I want for the other through our experience together–I am drawn to persistently encourage in spite of the reality that I cannot control the outcome. This is the paradox of Desire & Intent; the binding-together of passion and purpose.

Gratitude is not a passive response to something we have been given, gratitude arises from paying attention, from being awake in the presence of everything that lives within and without us. –David Whyte, Consolations

In this 21st Century it is important that we experience leaders who desire to live into passion, and intend action with purpose; and find fulfillment in presence–while leading others to the same participation.

To see the unfolding is to stand in the place where observation and participation meet and swirl together, creating the joy of experience, a beautiful blend of being and doing.

Stand first in the presence of your own Desire & Intent, then presently lead us to focus on the story that binds us together, influenced by presence within and presence without.

A Poem at WadingtheStream.com Presence Within & Without

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Purpose – Surrender

Leading from the middle of her own Desire & Intent Susan calls it Being Genuine. This is Susan’s voice. Undergirding this voice are values like respect and trust.

“Surrender is entering the present moment, and what is right in front of you, fully and without resistance or attempts at control.” —Richard Rohr


Katie and I were in the session that followed the creation of her guiding objective—a conscious commitment to generate the flow of her authentic presence; and its consequent impact.

There was a particular relationship challenge she wanted to discuss. As she gave me a bit of history between she and the individual, my eyes were drawn to one phrase at the core of her objective: Trusting Relationships.

So, I challenged her to think through how this objective commitment might guide her in connecting with this person; a relationship of significance in her work. While Katie logically approached a plan focused on the upcoming debrief of the current project, I kept pulling her back to the core phrase.

Eventually she understood the difference between a structured debrief and a courageous conversation focused on improving a relationship.

After our call I began to question why I had pushed so hard on that specific phrase. Suddenly I wondered, Could it be that the phrase was also her voice? As I opened her Development Story where I would find her voice recorded, I thought, Let it be so!

And there it was …

Trust (Trusting Relationships)

What a relief!

And now I can summarize like this:
Ultimately, it seems, I was encouraging (yes, strongly) Katie to be present with what is so important to her and surrender to her voice of Trust & Trusting Relationships.

A Poem for your Authentic Voice

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Know Thyself – Impact in the 21st Century

In this part of my journey−as I float in this second-half of life−it is a great blessing to share trust with someone both young and wise like Tara. Tara’s impact in this world is first deep, then wide. While I could write much to explain why I see what I do, I will instead tell a story of my experience with this extraordinary spirit.

On a gray winter day Tara and I met to simply catch-up over warm chicken pot-pie and a salad. In conversation that day I learned many things that unfolded into an understanding behind the beautiful flow of spirit I know as Tara. Little did I know the surprising gift she held for me.

Reflecting on a talk I gave where Tara was present, she asked, “Do you remember Allison?” As it was a group of about 25, I hated to admit that I didn’t remember anyone by that name. As my topic was Desire & Intent, my talk includes an exercise built around what I’ve learned to be a powerful question. It seems Allison was afraid to talk with me after the talk because she could not answer the question. Tara then told me about how Allison did later answer the question; and then Tara described to me the impact this was having on Allison, and the confidence-building changes she was seeing unfold for Allison.

You might think someone doing this work I do would be very conscious of such impact. I admit it, I am not as often as I must learn to be. So all the more surprising and wonderful was this gift from Tara that day. Tara’s impact in this world is clearly flowing through her unique knowledge of, and application of, love. That love is just part of who she is. Thank you Tara!

Only when I know both seed and system, self and community, can I embody the great commandment to love both neighbor and myself.
Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Release Desire & Intent into Skill 2


This is what I wish for the younger generations: that they embrace and enjoy the journey and are a happy traveler along the way.

Wading the Stream of Awareness
        (Desire & Intent Chapter)

 

 

Jason is a young leader I met while facilitating a leadership retreat. He seems to maintain an incredible state of awareness. He is learning things in his youth about being a leader that others don’t often grasp until much later; and through much turbulent experience.

Jason is knowledgeable, yes. But it is what I see him do with that knowing that builds his credibility in the world around him. He is learning what it looks like to embrace the accountability of his Desire & Intent while allowing it to amplify his voice along the way. He communicates clearly as he sorts information purposefully for the other person. He is becoming more conscious of the unique methodology by which his authenticity channels to those he leads, influences, and serves.

I treasure the time I get with Jason. His is a bit younger than my daughter. Is it a father thing? No. I feel a deep connection. Sure, I did things to make this connection (that’s what I do), but its depth was established from Jason’s authentic response.

Jason is a happy traveler, trusting the guidance of his Desire & Intent. Desire is real. Honor this reality. Intent envisions desire made real in the world; and intent cannot manifest anything real without attachment to honored desire.

Like Jason, the vision of intent gives your desire a method in which to release−to do its thing in the world. Release the influence of your Desire & Intent into all communication and allow it to authenticate your connections.

See sister post, Letting Go into Desire & Intent

Skill 1 Encouragement – Drawn by Purpose

Seasons transform the year; light and darkness transform the day. … There seems to be no other cauldron of growth and transformation. −Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs (2003)

There comes a time for each of us where we are given the opportunity to unlearn. Many turn down this contemplative occasion. Courageously entering introspection (contemplation as a leader) opens you to the process of tearing down and building up that is necessary for your transformation. You are transformed as you learn anew and find form for external sharing.

We are transformed into our purpose−it is the source for sustainable impact in this world, this arduous journey. Purpose must draw you out of the fray−while you paradoxically remain in the fray−in order for you to become the individual you were intended to be.

To support your continual transformation, I (thanks to Richard Rohr) encourage you in the following:
1) Let go. Freedom is in releasing the need to control.
2) Hold the tension. There will always be the rising and the falling.
3) Trust in the unfolding. Trust yourself−your impact unfolds through who you are at your core.

See companion post, Trust in the Unfolding

Wisdom from a Young Leader (Hannah)

On Sunday, May 6th, I helped facilitate my last graduation of students from our Region’s Youth Leadership Program on the beautiful Milligan College campus. In the last 10 years, I have had the blessed privilege of seeing around 300 students to this point. There were a few unique things that made this last time special.

One of those I share with you here. At this graduation exercise, the students present a brief talk before the attending crowd. Following is one talk on which I found myself hanging on her every word. Consequently, I asked Hannah for permission to share the manuscript of her speech here on my blog. Enjoy, share, and please respond with a comment and be part of continued encouragement for this wonderful young leader. Thank you Hannah!

Hannah’s Talk …

You know sometimes when you’re standing right in the middle of something so substantial, it can be hard to see the big picture; and my generation is living in the very heart of a technological revolution.

Fifty years ago, you would actually have to get out of your seat if you wanted to change the channel, and computers were as large as bedrooms and not something you could use at home. Likewise, one hundred years ago portable telephones were just a dream and the radio was gaining popularity. If you look into medieval times or even the early renaissance period, you would see that one new invention or change in one hundred years was an accomplishment.

Now, we are impatiently awaiting the arrival of the new iPad, iPhone or wireless vacuum cleaner that does the cleaning for you. New technology is just a part of our modern culture and although it’s all fun and useful, there are also some negative effects involved. The things that are supposed to make our lives simpler can cause clutter, and also be a source of division.

Yes, with phones and video chat we are able to keep in touch with friends and family that have moved away, but they also keep us from face-to-face conversations with those who are close to us. For example, a minivan with a TV attached to the ceiling of the car. These can be useful on long car rides when kids get really bored; but I think a child can survive a 15 minute car ride to the grocery store without having to watch cartoons. I remember whenever we would go on long car rides when I was younger, my brother and I would make up stories and reenact them with whatever stuffed animals I happened to bring so we didn’t really need the TV.

Other examples can be seen at any average high school with teenagers walking down the hallway on their phones listening to music or texting … while that thing standing next to them? Why yes, that is a fellow human being. Our imaginations and creativity, along with the discoveries of those who came before us, are what enabled us to come this far; however, if we don’t take some time just to stop and think without the aid of a television or discuss something with someone face-to-face, we might lose the thing that has carried us through wars, diseases, and disagreements among friends: our humanity.

So, while extremely useful and fun in many ways, technology can also be a hassle. It can cause clutter and be a source of division in our lives. I’m not saying that you should throw away every worldly device you have so you can find yourself, but maybe every once in a while instead of turning on the television, you could discuss something with a friend or family member, or maybe try something you never have before.

It’s a big world out there with lots of different places that don’t require 10 lbs worth of devices, and plenty of sights worth seeing through your own eyes and not the screen of a computer … so just enjoy it!