Advancing with Gentleness

Ferns gently flourishing

I’ve been easing into greater tenderness and compassion within myself.  In order for this to unfold the texture of my striving has become much softer.

These days I am unwilling to muster the driving, relentless internal energy that was often my style in my corporate business career.  Although there was success in that approach, it definitely was not sustainable for my team, the organization or myself.

What I am focusing on now with my executive coaching clients and myself is disciplined, gentle, self-effort.  In order for gentleness to take hold, we must have faith that there is a benevolent energy greater than our minds that is unfolding our destiny.  We must cultivate faith in our ability to align with that energy.  This energy operates silently and powerfully in the projects that we lead if we simply notice it and flow with where it wants to go.  This energy speaks, with creative spark through our heart and not our heads.  In order to recognize its voice we must become soft and flexible.   Silence helps too.

Great faith provides the foundation for striving with gentleness. The greatest leaders have strength yes…and they have absolute confidence that all will indeed turn out in the end.  They have faith in themselves and faith and in the goodness of others.  This faith allows them easy access to the discernment that comes from aligning with the still, voice within.  This voice gets clearer when one’s heart is soft.

May you have faith and the wisdom to balance strength and gentleness in all your striving.

Retreat to Forgiveness & Compassion

I love this stamp.  It reminds me of my years of competitive sailboat racing.  I loved the physical challenge, the mental intensity, the teamwork and the beauty of being on the water.  On the racecourse I learned that the journey of life is won by those who sense the shifts in the wind and sea and boldly respond, changing course as needed to reach their destination.  Unconditional love, forgiveness and compassion are both my bold response and destination.  Here’s how these three got connected together.

December 2007.  I am in India, down on my knees  in a sacred shrine, the warm breezes, gently blowing the scent of jasmine through the open windows.  I touch my head to the cool floor before the marble tomb of the saint who’s spirit inhabits this place.  I silently pray a monumental life shifting prayer, “Forgive me for whatever it is I’m not doing right.  Show me how to worship you.  Can we have some kind of relationship, please? ”  I silently walk around to the back of the tomb, to the majestic photo and gaze into his eyes, which are sparkling with love.  I hear his response, a voice in my head.   “Let’s start by you letting me love you just the way you are.”    An intoxicating wave of indescribably intense unconditional love washes through me.

Fast forward 2 months to a handwritten scrawled question and answer in my journal:  How do I love myself unconditionally?  Self Forgiveness.  Plain and simple.

Last week the final thread gets woven in.   I get to hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak.  His theme, Compassion.  Having empathy for what another is going through and also taking action to ease their suffering. 

A mental light bulb flashes! It’s not so easy for me to get over there and have empathy and unconditional love for you, if I’m hiding behind the wall of my wounded ego silently beating myself up with negative self judgments, projecting them on to you.  I can’t get over there with you, compassionately, intimately connected until I forgive myself.  Try some self forgiveness this week for the sake of you and those you love. Forgive whatever is standing in the way of you loving you, exactly the way you are.   Treat yourself to a blended cocktail of unconditional self love, forgiveness and compassion.  Let me know how it impacts your journey.  Cheers!