“Beware the stories you tell yourself for surely you will be lived by them” – William Shakespeare
In these unprecedented times I am noticing how easy it is to get caught in the ‘story’ if one is not operating with heightened awareness. One day can so easily morph into the next and the next. The pulse and rhythm of life has changed.
There is a different edge it seems, and often it is difficult to put one’s finger on what exactly that edge is. Increased activity followed by a lull, navigating the situation depending on what environment one is operating in or from. This is uncharted territory for all of us, and we do have a choice at this point in time, in what we exhale and release – that which is no longer serving us or the greater good of society – and what we choose individually, and collectively to inhale.
These times do call for increased gentleness – of one’s self, and those of our patterns which are habitual, that we can fall into so easily – if we are not awake.
Pema Chodron says in her book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, “All our habitual patterns are efforts to maintain predictable identity”. When we feel uncertainty arising, we do not need to panic, withdraw, over compensate or ‘do’ more. Rather, we can sit and breathe and be present with the feelings. There is no need to respond habitually.
In these times of uncertainty, I have realised this, as well as the importance of being honest with yourself, and kind. Begin with the willingness to stay present whenever you experience uneasiness. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and don’t believe any one person does. What I do know is to deeply listen to what I am feeling and intuiting, is becoming increasingly more important.
Still the mind, Slow down and notice what I am noticing. Or as Pema says:
Be fully present,
Feel your heart,
And engage in the next moment without an agenda.
The opportunity to be with life as it is. To experience the freedom of life without a story line.
“In the universe, there are things that are known, and things that are unknown, and in between them, there are doors,” William Blake
At this time I sense we are moving through the known and the unknown and looking for the doors. This is what I am exploring as I integrate the learnings from Otto Scharmer’s, “Gaia journey” with my own journey in re-orienting myself for my next chapter, including the roots that are my foundation.
It is important to reflect on our roots. Where are we entangled? Where might we need to cut, trim, prune and possibly remove, to breathe more easily? What roots may need strengthening?
For us to move forward during this extraordinary period of change on all levels – political, social and wealth divide, employment, power imbalance, and to allow us to effect major transformation, we need to reflect, reassess, redress, rebalance and re-orientate, personally and globally.
In the words of my colleague in France “no-one is separate, everything is connected”. I believe there are many good things which come from COVID-19 – one of which is that we needed to slow down, stop and reflect on how deeply embedded and strong these roots were. We need to do our own work first.
It is a time for heightened attention to our roots.
A client, whom I would call a conscious progressive leader, focused on ‘reshaping’ the thinking of an established global institution, in terms of how it engages with its end users, the patients. In our discussions, he said it reminded him of the lily pond. The lilies on the top look beautiful, and yet it is the health of the root structure which is key to cohesive engagement with all stakeholders – patients, employees, shareholders and more importantly, the impact it has on society at large. This is a leader who walks at the edge.
Those who embark on the journey of “Standing Tall” in their truth, deepening and strengthening their roots, know they are leaders who dare to think and act differently, weaving new ways of being into their life as they live it – now.
How are you deepening and strengthening your roots?
Where may you still need to do your ‘work’?
Are you able to be present without an agenda? What would that look like?
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