August 1, 2012
Although the summer often assures me of a time less pressured, a time less burdened with "Shoulds" and Ought Too's, this summer has been very different for me. I have been collating and going through all my boxes of papers, journals etc. to see what is still relevant, what is true for me in this moment, and actually, what is no longer an area of conflict for me. It has been an opportunity for me to clear not only my physical space, but my emotional space.
What came to my attention is that, in a few weeks, Seven Oaks in Va. is hosting a Leadership Conference, sponsored by the Trustees.
I would like to share an experience that I had twenty nine years ago at a Leadership Retreat sponsored by Insight (John Rogers) and led by Marianne Dickerson. There were often individual processes. The one that I was given was to go into Central Park and observe the statues, and come to a conclusion.
After looking at about fifty statues....I saw that most were men, most were generals, some were poets, there was one dog named Balta, many statues were of metal, all had plaques, and all except Alice In Wonderland and the Dog were on pedestals. (the bases were usually marble) I thought I had done a very " conscious" inventory.
When I returned, I shared my findings, and was told I missed the point, and needed to go back the next day.
Those of you who know me well, can picture how annoyed I was. I do not like missing points. Most of the others had their presentations accepted. I went back to Central Park the next day, added a few new awarenesses, and came back to Marianne. Again, she said I missed the point. I remember going into an emotional reaction, and saying to her...."The only thing I did not tell you was that " Pigeon Shit" was on every statue."
She said with a big smile on her face:
" This is your lesson of Leadership Barbara, "If you put yourself on a pedestal you will collect lots of "SHIT".
Marianne, wherever you are, "thank you" for this most wonderful lesson that continues to serve me.
In my notes, I found this paper I was writing which is most pertinent now.
*Leadership as a Spiritual Practice
In the beginning is YOU.
In everything I have every read, in every retreat or class that I have ever taken, I have been faced with the fact that I can not assume leadership unless and until I am willing to acknowledge and then CHOOSE (there goes that word again) to accept and EXPRESS who I am in this moment. If I am to assume Leadership, then I must take responsibility for my life, let go of my need to blame, my belief in my victimhood and my belief in my powerlessness. With this said, I would like to offer you some questions that will lead you to a very palpable energetic shift in your awareness.
Here are questions that I suggest that you journal and meditate on. Allow yourself the time to observe new answers and insights.
As Emmanuel offers: "See with new eyes and hear with new ears."
1. Name your images, and understand and name: " what is the fear and the defensive behavior that these circumstances created. " Another way of saying it is: are you willing to ask yourself what is the belief that my ego is built upon? (I must be agreed with, I must never be criticised, etc.) Done in depth, this is a freeing exploration.
2. What are your self judgments and your faults, that have created your idealized self image? Another way of saying this is: What about you will you " not accept" so that you will alter yourself and pretend to be other then you are. You cannot be vulnerable or transparent if you continue to NOTaccept your own "imperfections". List these self limiting values, and see how your have distorted them into "idealization". (I must always "understand". I must always be generous of my time, money etc.)
3. Are you willing to be real, (What does this mean to you?) and then are you willing to risk being seen for all of who you are? Are you willing to accept your own imperfections and not project them onto others. Are you willing to take the time to write about this? ( ex: I am angry, but rather than admit this, I will tell you that you are angry.)
4. Are you willing to do this as a spiritual practice and devote yourself to "excellence" not perfection? Without this commitment to go beyond your frustration, without this commitment to go beyond your fear of rejection, your fear of exposure or criticism, and without this ability to be objective, first with yourself, and then with other, you cannot be present in your heart, and therefore you will not be able to connect and to walk with another in true open heartedness. This is the way of Leadership, and this is the path of intimacy.
"Only the joyous can give joy, only those in truth can bring truth, only the loving and the loved ones can give Love. Let yourself experience this every day of your life. The love of the universe permeates all that is, all that ever was, and all that ever will be, all that you are, every level of your blessed being."
The Pulse of Life #238
I welcome you to the next step on your Path, and to the Spiritual Olympics.
With an open heart and gratitude,
*Please call or write with any questions.