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Happy Holidays, loved ones!
Remember, dear ones, meditate.
Humanity’s awakening has been divinely promised and is at hand. Nothing can prevent it because not only is it God’s Will, which is always achieved, but it is now also humanity’s collective will, and because you were given free will your will is always honored. Until quite recently individual wills, divided and confused as they were, had made humanity’s collective will very difficult to discern. It was collectively unstable, changeable, confused, conflicted, and chaotic, but now it is coming beautifully into alignment and is determinedly seeking world peace, person by person. Although, if you pay too much attention to the gloom and doom on the news media, you might well believe that nothing much has altered, and that humanity’s endless dance with conflict and betrayal continues unabated.
However, over the last several decades, with the vast increase in educational opportunities for large sections…
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It’s confession time. My time to confess, that is. I’ve spent the last week positively crawling out of my skin, energy wild and erratic. This happens every so often, but this time was off the charts. Nothing would settle me. I tried going for a walk, grounding, eating a heavy meal, meditating, taking a nap, reading, watching Netflix. I even tried cleaning my kitchen in a last-ditch effort to prove to myself that I could actually complete a task. Result: half-cleaned kitchen. I couldn’t find relief and I wracked my brain to try and figure out what was going on. Hormones? Astrological tail-spin? Solar flares? Low blood-sugar? Existential crisis? No, No, No, No and maybe….
The truth is that there was really nothing “wrong” and that’s what I want to convey to all of you. The truth is that the unsettled feeling that we all get in the pit of our stomachs is sometimes just gas. But other times, like today, its the feeling of standing on the precipice, of feeling the event horizon of something extraordinary. That feeling doesn’t mean you have to “DO” anything. You just have to “BE” and allow the giant tidal wave of amazing universal energy to wash over you. This can be hard to do, trust me. My mother used to tell me that I had an “Uber-A” personality. Sitting still and letting stuff happen isn’t exactly my forte. Nor, am I guessing, is it for any of you (we’re friends for a reason, after all).
And so the crawling, crazy, slightly manic feeling doesn’t need medicating or analyzing or fixing. You have been the architect of your life the whole time and it’s been moving forward at a maddeningly beautiful pace (I can feel some of you start to object – so let me stop you and say that it absolutely HAS). That feeling of not knowing what to do, and not knowing what’s next isn’t cause to chuck the whole thing in, its time to pause and look at this amazing feat and all of the things that you’ve created. And in that space of reflection, you can find peace.
Over the past several years, I’ve needed to get really good at owning my, well… owning my s#!t. Not only so that I can help my clients own theirs, but so that I can be a happier, healthier, more well-adjust human being. That’s the plan anyway. Whether that certain brand of personal baggage looks like pain or anger, personal shadows or the gut-wrenching fear of a broken heart, I’ve had to work on embracing it all. I have to own my faults, my imperfections and the fact that no matter how hard I try, my body will never look Gisele Bundchen’s. But there’s more than meets the eye here. It’s more than surging bravely forward into the gaping maw of an uncertain world. It’s all about accepting these “flaws” as my own and really, truly understanding that I am not perfect and in that realization comes liberation. Which is strange, right? To admit imperfection and flaws makes ones vulnerable. But there is real, appreciable personal freedom in understanding and embracing one’s own vulnerabilities. It comes with a sense of profound personal power.
I know that some of you are reading this and thinking, “Heather, dear, how is vulnerability powerful?” That sure does sound like a conundrum, especially from the conventional standpoint that revealing ones vulnerability somehow relinquishes power. Why show weakness to someone who might abuse it? However, by embracing vulnerability, you are acknowledging, even loving, the pieces of yourself that are imperfect or scary or crazy or broken. You ultimately own it all. No one can use those “imperfect” pieces to extort your emotions or shame you or exert power over you. It’s all yours.
When we don’t embrace these pieces of ourselves, we are ultimately denying ourselves love. In the context of external relationships, we end up offering only small portions of who we really are. This creates a provisional relationship, one in which the best we can hope for is to survive on the scraps of love that others can show us. After all, how can someone else love us completely if we can’t love ourselves? This externalizes both our love and our power until we are literally giving our power away – selling to the lowest bidder. We withhold, so they withhold; this creates a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum, so we find ourselves compromising and giving in just to feel loved. We fill that void with nonsense until we are so disempowered, we would do anything to feel safe, whole and loved. But what if we just stopped running from the darkness just for a moment? This is counterintuitive to most people; but embracing your faults and allowing yourself to be vulnerable is the greatest source of personal power you can choose.
This is not an easy process. To voluntarily look at darkness in another person is terrifying, let alone when we look at it within ourselves. So start where you are. Start small. The next time you find yourself in the midst of self-critique, stop and stare. What is that? Who’s in there? Can that “flawed” piece of you be loved? The truth – the answer – is, yes.
I have a confession to make. I’m an introvert trying to hack it in a extrovert’s world. And for a long time, I was in denial about this. I just thought I was “sensitive.” That wasn’t even the half of it. I realized that when it took me two full days to recover from the rigors of my work week that something wasn’t right. I mean, is it healthy to have consecutive Netflix marathons while shunning all human contact? No. No, it’s not. So I began to change how I dealt with the energetic gauntlet that I walked through everyday in an effort to be a healthier, happier person.
There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what it means to be an introvert. I thought I would share my experiences with you to give you an idea of how it relates to me. It’s entirely possible that these will resonate with you, or maybe you’ve had your own experiences, or maybe you think I’m full of it. Regardless, here you go:
- I need to spend a lot of time alone in nature in order to recharge. If I bring a friend with me, they are going to be someone who shares my reverence for nature as a sanctuary.
- I am not shy. I am not cold. I am not disinterested. I am merely calculating the energetic cost of a conversation with you. Sometimes I’m just not up to it. Don’t be offended. It’s not you, it’s me. Ok, maybe it’s you a little bit.
- I am careful about who I let into my life. Some people are harder to be around in an energetic sense. Letting the “takers” into my life is a recipe for disaster. I’ve had to get really good at boundaries (more on why boundaries are good later on…).
- I have five close friends and that’s it (well, along with my family and the eventual addition of a significant other). These people are given unabridged access to the true me. They have earned the right to bear witness to my story. And in turn I love them unconditionally. It’s not that I don’t have other friends, or I’m a recluse (ok, that was a white lie), it’s just that I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to be a social butterfly.
- I am a giver. I recognize that I am also spiritually of service and in service. If I love you, I will give freely and unabashedly and unconditionally. In the wrong way, this fosters codependency and the kinds of relationships you see on reality tv. But when done consciously, this becomes a path to energetic freedom and true love.
So that’s my experience in a nutshell. For those of you can’t identify with this, you may be thinking, “Oh. My. God. What a neurotic train wreck.” And you would be wrong. Very wrong. It’s taken me a long time to become comfortable enough in my own skin to look honestly at myself. This is who I am. On this road to self-discovery, I’ve needed to learn how to handle living in an energetically expensive world (aka, and Extrovert’s World). What do I mean by that? I mean a place that compulsively over-shares, under-values, over-reacts and under-thinks. I’m not saying that all extroverts are like this, I’m saying this is the kind of frenetic world in which we live and in which extroverts looooove.
How do I cope? I’ll share with you what I do to keep my batteries charged and my sanity intact. Please feel free to chime in!
- I practice self-care. Ah, the lost art of self-care. No one does this enough anymore. We give until the well is dry and then wonder why we’re basket cases. So, get a massage or a manicure. Or at the very least lock yourself in a room for five minutes and breathe. This, often gets me through my day. Also, naps.
- I connect with God/The Universe/The Divine. It doesn’t matter what you call It. All It cares about is that you connect in. I have a daily meditation practice that gets me there. I do this every morning (ok, almost) and it is amazing what falls into place when you choose to put this practice first.
- I take care of myself. I’ve needed to get really picky about what I eat, how I sleep, how I exercise and how I treat my body. Not just because it’s the healthy thing to do, but because when my world goes sideways, if my body is fit, I can cope so much easier. If I neglect this, I just white-knuckle through life. Having a good store of natural energy allows me to go much farther when things get too effing crazy.
- I have good boundaries. Ok, this was a hard one, and in many ways I’m still working on it. It means having to say “no” when I really need to say “no.” It means cutting out the takers and the energy vampires. In some cases, it’s meant ending friendships and romantic relationships. This is a tough one, since introverts feel like we are inflicting harm when we don’t give into the whims of another. The only harm we inflict is on ourselves. Be brave, fellow introverts!
Being introverted does not mean that you are a recluse or that you hate people or that you’re crazy. All it means is that you channel and handle personal energy in a different way. This also means that you need to learn how to handle existing in a world that feels as though its always trying to beat the energetic crap out of you without losing your mind. I hope I’ve been able to help. As always, if you have questions or need a session, send me an email.
Love and light,
In my “day job” I have the fortune of being able to lead people and influence the community. I also have the privilege of learning how to lead compassionately. What is compassionate leadership? For me, it is a way of leading people in a real and human way by making heart-felt and ethical decisions, which sometimes is the opposite of what they taught me in business school. So, here’s how I do it.
How to be compassionate leader:
1. Listen to feed back
This is the most important thing you can do. Listen to your people, listen to stakeholders, listen to your critics, listen to your fans, listen to EVERYTHING. I’m not saying that you should take everything to heart, but have a measured idea of how you’re doing and where you stand.
2. Hire good people and let them do their jobs
This means that you must relinquish control of every little thing that happens in your domain. You have people there to do a job, and you must let them do it. Nothing undermines the progress of a good team like a control freak or a micromanager.
3. Be real
You’re human. It does no one any good to pretend otherwise. If you’re afraid you’ll look weak to your subordinates, then you need a reality check. Trying to mask emotion or illness or stress is counterproductive and leads to overall burnout. Be real and honest with your team. They’ll thank you for your authenticity and this will lead to trust in your organization.
4. Don’t be afraid to make tough decisions
I hate firing people, but sometimes it must be done. I hate walking away from losing situation because I think I can always win. These things, whether an unproductive employee or the proverbial Kobayashi Maru, are facts of life and pursuing them is a drain on you, your team and your resources. Know when to cut your losses.
5. Don’t Lie and Don’t tolerate Liars on your team.
6. Lead with your Heart and not your Head
Instinctively, we know what’s right for our teams and what we need to accomplish a goal. Sometimes this is counterintuitive to those higher on the food-chain or is contraindicated in your Ops plan. If you know what’s right and what it takes to get to where you need to be, don’t be afraid to stick up for it.
7. Know when to say No
It is just as important to put the kabash on an idea as it is to boldly go forward with an innovative one. So if it’s unrealistic, unethical or just plain unattainable based on current resources, know when you can tactfully say no. Your team will thank you for sticking up for them and recognizing their workload.
8. Say Thank You – Often
Everyone wants to be appreciated. So recognize people for what they do and bring it back to what it means to the organization and the bigger picture. People don’t just want to work for a pay check, they want to have what they do mean something. Its up to you to make sure that bigger picture remains paramount and that your people feel a part of it.
9. Have a Vision You’re Passionate About
You may be steering the ship, but your people are doing all the rowing. You’ll get to your goal faster if they all are on board with your vision. The easiest way to do that is to identify a vision that gets you excited. Impassioned leaders make impassioned employees and accomplish amazing things.
10. Practice self-compassion
Hey, you’re not perfect. And that’s ok. Let go of the idea that you need to be and that you need to help accountable for every single bump in the road. As much as we would all like to think we’re omnipotent, let’s be realistic: we’re not. So don’t beat yourself if something goes sideways. This self-flagellation leads to guilt and guilt demands punishment. That’s no way to lead an organization.
11. Admit when you’re wrong
Sometimes you get it wrong. Admit this when it happens and own up to your mistakes. Don’t pass the buck, don’t dodge the issue and don’t ever carry on like you didn’t screw up. Nothing will tear down the trust you’ve built faster than pretending to be saintly when everyone knows you totally fumbled.
12. Let go of Ego
Letting go of ego is probably the toughest thing you will try to do because normally leaders tend to be addicted to their egos. In fact whole nations have risen and fallen on the whim of some leader’s ego (Er… North Korea… Rome, anyone?). So, just like you need to be able to swallow your pride and admit when you’re wrong, you need to be able to let go of claiming all your victories for your own. You may be in charge, but by no means did you do all the work. Which leads us to….
13. Be humble, be gracious and ask for help
You’re not an island. And it is foolish and unrealistic to expect to be able to accomplish your goals without the help of others. Don’t be squeamish about reaching out and building alliances with others.