Reconnecting with or discovering your “inner leader” can be a very vulnerable and intimate experience. These experiences are unique to each of us.
Grief is a courageous example and one that I have become close to over the past two years. We’ve just experienced a super exhausting, more than two-year, slow burn toward the inevitable transition with our dear Olive. Her process shifted my focus, changed my perspective, deepened my learning, called forth tremendous amounts of servitude, patience, love, and… well, a whole lot more. We needed to make the ultimate choice for her and helped her onward just over a week ago.
My heart was pounding. I thought, “I’ve got to let this tension go. I’ve got to relax. Focus on controlling your breath. Try not to get hurt. Breathe.” The moment that thought connected with my chest, the large white Brazilian Lusitano horse laying at my head let out a cleansing breath in that wonderful way that horses do.
When something is bothering her, she tells us. When she’s scared she comes to us and let’s us know. When she makes a mistake she apologizes. When she wants love or reassurance she knows how to ask for it. When she wants to be alone because she needs quiet, or she needs to process something, she finds a quiet spot to do that.
Look, me and baboons simply don’t need to be occupying the same space. Figuratively or literally. If you know me well enough you may have heard me tell real-life stories of my own encounters with them in Cape Town and outside of Johannesburg. I sure as hell don’t want them in my head wreaking havoc. If I search these memories deeply enough I can still hear my NYC burrough, O.G. Jewish Grandma yelling at my sister and I to quit screaming about baboons on the roof from the backseat of the 1972 era Ford. Ah yes. Good times.
Somewhere out on the horizon, down a rediscovered backcountry trail, the sun is rising over a campsite. A rooftop tent splays out from the top of an off-grid trailer pulled behind a well-equipped overland vehicle. Out here it’s quiet with occasional noises created by what is meant to be here. Leaves and twigs that rustle, creak and crack in the wind above and sometimes may crunch under the cautious feet of passing wildlife on the floor below.
Standing at the kitchen sink early this morning, I twiddled the blind open and looked outside. I noticed how inside I was in that moment and how just beyond there was outside. I paused before beginning to wash a few dishes. I settled my stance more firmly onto the floor. Quickly I took a moment to notice more. What did this shift in my stance feel like? Was my head looking downward or up and outward? Was I consciously, now practicing, “presencing?”
As is its way, life’s path sometimes distracts us from ALL that we have within us to be and to do… “Something showed up for me…. and there were others too. Something showed up and then there was a big wolf’s glowing-yellow-eyed face… it was wise, knowing and conveyed an expression like, “No – I’m not your spirit animal.”
I must admit, in my early days as a leader I was all about me. I had a title and I thought that was all I needed. I thought because of my title everyone would follow me and respect me.
First develop your “YOU,” as the decision maker or leader — learn which parts of your self serve you and deal with those parts that don’t.