Feeling too much? Like your nerve endings are on the outside of your body and the slightest sensation or incoming news can ignite or trigger or send you into an emotional spiral?
I am with you.
One client recently called it feeling the “collective rawness.” Yes, collective internally and as a global society..
And with no break since March, it’s been quite an onslaught.
The chronic news of Black people being killed by the hands of law enforcement (over and over) is one thing. Add the pandemic and all of its societal changes and fears and mixed news from science and conspiracy theories, another. Add to that the political craziness and hate-mongering and divisiveness AND the continual destructive storms, wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, and we are tired.
Cognitive exhaustion, physical exhaustion, emotional exhaustion, and even spiritual exhaustion are all real.
Our lives are not the same as before March of this year, and we wonder when, if ever, we will resume something that feels “normal.” Our minds are searching for some way to “solve” these problems or our hearts want someone else to “save” us from this mess.
Steven Covey wrote years ago in the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, that it is never a good idea to try to teach or learn when we are tired or emotionally upset.
Guess what? Most of us are both.
And, I’m here to say that Anger is our invitation to create, innovate, move us out of the stuckness and towards what’s emerging. It’s a doorway. How?
Anger has gotten a bad rap. Especially for women. We aren’t shown, for the most part, models of what it looks like to be an angry woman, on purpose, who is still loving and guided by Spirit.
That’s because we haven’t had many. Neither Mother Theresa, who bore her pain silently and alone, or feminists who came across as anti-men and angry. Not the working mother who is worried about her children while taking care of her community and planet and Self (not in that order) while holding down a job. Not women who have chosen not to have children (for their own reasons, because they have a choice) while marching or actively supporting Earth, Gender and Sexual Equality, Racial Justice and healthcare access for our marginalized citizens, nor for those who quietly go about their day-to-day, signing petitions, learning about their role in racism, finding ways to discuss and grow as conscious individuals while making a difference in their own circles by choosing Love over discrimination or hate.
So many ways to be activists. Even by choosing the food we eat, and how we spend our money.
AND, it starts by being Angry. Allowing the fire in the belly to be stronger than the fear of staying silent, standing by, or choosing the status quo for comfort’s sake.
Anger is the beginning of a spiral of emotions and truly helps us become innovators and creators and impactful leaders (and activists).
Years ago, a wise teacher and friend helped me learn about my emotions in this way. Begin by choosing a specific issue that is troubling, that you hate, or that made you angry.
Allow yourself to feel the emotion, speak out loud about it, write it, dance it.
It tends to fade after some focused attention.
Below is something different. Sadness, grief, or fear. Each could come in their own wave.
By asking ”What about this makes me feel sad?” we can get deeper. Feeling the sadness, the grief may be, and letting it be expressed (again through writing, dancing, speaking/crying out loud) allows it to be expressed, felt, and transformed.
Next is probably fear. “What am I afraid of?” Asking over and over till you start feeling the fear, start knowing its source, and focusing on it, even for a few minutes. Sharing out loud to a trusted friend, who is only observing with compassion, not speaking at all, can be cathartic. Letting it out through words, written or prayed, screamed, or softly whispered brings light to the shadow and gets some space around it.
“What do I want/need?” is next. What do I really want to change this? What do I need? It may be that you want the political divisiveness to end, but stay with what’s under your control. What is it that I want to feel instead of this? Expressing it through dance, writing, drawing, imagining then sharing it in some way with the Universe/God/Source is very beneficial.
Then we get to Forgiveness. What can I forgive myself or another for? Again, expressing it orally, through another format is your choice, but put it OUT THERE.
Appreciation/Gratitude is what follows. Express it. To yourself first, then to another if need be and you are called to.
Last is LOVE. It’s the natural progression of following our emotions down to their Source. Our essence is LOVE and when we fall away, step too far from it, feel disconnected, the other emotions are there to help guide us HOME.
Let’s not fear Anger. It’s sacred and needed. The more we try NOT to be angry, the more we can make ourselves sick. It’s like trying to imagine we can shake a can of soda or sparkling water and then open it and it won’t make a mess. The anger WILL explode one way or another unless we guide it back Home. Back to Love.
Want a safe space to do this process? I’m here.
One of the ways that we can integrate our rational and intuitive sides, or our spiritual and physical sides, or whatever duality that we play in, is to recognize each for their gifts and their shadows.
Actually I think we dwell in more of a quadrality. I believe that we have distinct heart, soul, mind, and body versions of ourselves, as well as many personalities of different ages, or versions of selves brought out during different situations and people. The uniqueness of who we are, the truth of who I am at least, tends to show up when I’m stressed, tired, or emotional.
This last month has been tough, we’ve not only had worldwide pandemic, but we’ve also had change. We’re seeing change. Finally. And lots of ways of Being are shifting, becoming more open, more visible.
Some changes that we’re seeing is around the way law enforcement (and our world as a whole) treats people of color.
Racism is getting the national stage and has a voice in the Black Lives Matter movement. And, the world is listening. It’s become a mainstream theme, and no longer can we ignore the history of how white people have systemically used racism to better themselves. So, we are seeing long-established beliefs and systems beginning to change, evolve, involve everyone to create new solutions that benefit the entire community.
Along the lines of change, and on a personal note, I have just come off of two weeks of being with family during my mother’s hospice and passing. The time with her those final days was beautiful and peaceful, especially towards the end. AND there’s all the family dynamics.
Our family is diverse in that we have almost every skin tone, belief system, and political view represented. And noticing who I feel comfortable with, and who I retreat from, which conversations attract me and which ones feel so uncomfortable I want to leave, and all the spaces in between. All were ‘growth-full’ for me.
The other thing I noticed is that this time, unlike in the past, I avoided managing intellectually, controlling, running the show. I pushed through my typical role as Big Sister and took a backseat. This allowed my sister to step up, and my middle brother to take on the logistics while staying calm and sane. Everybody has their own way of grieving, I realize now, and there’s no right or wrong. Allowing everyone, including myself, to be: absent, involved, avoiding emotion, feeling deep emotions, it was all acceptable to me.
What I’m noticing is I’m allowing myself to really FEEL it this time. The heaviness, discomfort, and roller coaster of grief is sitting with me, riding through me, knocking me down with wild waves, and then holding me aloft in a swell. And I’m not trying to pray it away or force it away, but BE with it.
Also noticing that when I most need my practices; my physical practices, my spiritual practices, and my emotional practices, I haven’t been drawing upon them. I know they would provide a larger bank of Resilience and firm grounding to support me and all my different levels of awareness.
Yet I’m aware that although these deeply held and true support systems that I have built throughout the years were tossed aside, and I threw myself into the storm in the waters, without any safety net or lifeboat.
I really left it all behind!
As I pack up to head out to our little river place, I realize I wouldn’t leave to go on a hike or camping trip without necessities like food and water…so why would I do that to myself, emotionally, and spiritually, throw myself out there without any of my backpack-full of tools and goodies?
What I appreciate now is my awareness of how I abandon myself.
And how I don’t always take advantage of the systems that are in place for me.
The beautiful practices, and awareness, and music, and all of the things that soothe me. I’ve gotten much better at accepting love and care and affection from others. That’s a big one, as opposed to pushing them away and pretending like I didn’t need that. And where I want to go back to is getting my journals out. Putting the music on tap, so at any time I can just bask in it.
And remembering to go sit outside, I did do a lot of that in the last week. Just go sit outside and look at the sky and appreciate the breeze whether it was hot and humid, or cooler, and we’ve had everything in the last week ( it’s been a very interesting week, hasn’t it?). So, noticing, I can take advantage of just looking at nature and remembering. Oh, where am I feeding me? Where am I not feeding me? Where am I starving me? What nutrition is important for me? And getting back on track with those support systems, those structures that allow me to access my strength, my power, my creativity, and capacity to be with all of this.
This is when I’m not easily knocked off of center by others in my family or outside of my family or in the news.
And also, allow me to soothe, and be with, and hold, all of the pain and the grief. All the beauty and the joy that life is.
Here’s to expanding and opening and softening at the same time as holding the structure and the practices, the routines, and the rituals that support me, and you, and all of us.
What if Success was as sacred and singular, as each and every one of us? What if there is such a way of being seen And being safe?
Very often there’s a polarity, that we tend to jump in between.
I’m out there I am letting people know who I am and what my message is, and what I’m here to do in the world.
And then there’s the other.
Oh my gosh, what if they see me? What if they know me? What if they don’t like me? I’ll just go back and be invisible…being invisible is very much my story.
And, for many reasons I don’t need to go into here, Invisibility was the safety mechanism that I developed as a child, and it became protocol. It was my routine. It was my pattern and reactive tendency when things got uncomfortable. Whenever I began feeling expansive, and open, and allowing, for love and life and grace to flow through and to me, it felt unnerving. It still feels scary. It feels uncomfortable. And that is where I want to take you today.
We cannot do our greatest work unless we are ready and able and trusting that it’s okay to step out of our comfort zone and speak up and share our light and our truth and our wisdom.
So, which one do you do? Go out anyway, put on the false bravado of I’m doing this because I have to do this because my business coach told me to do this because that’s what the men do or that’s what the successful people, women I know do. And the only way to grow my business is to continue doing this uncomfortable…(fill in the blank): networking, speaking, writing (whether it’s a blog or a book), videos, sharing on Facebook, showing up on LinkedIn. And I don’t believe that has to be the case. I feel that the more that we do and we allow, and we show up in our truth and own our value and worth and brilliance, that’s when we’re seen.
And it doesn’t mean that we have to do 70 posts a week to make sure people remember us. Of course, we want to watch our social media or our digital media numbers, it’s kind of helpful to know where we’re showing up and where our clientele, or potential clientele, might be. But the other piece is very much around, “How do I just show up and trust?” And if that means doing video blogs, which I did for five years, with no one watching, or whether that means I host a zoom call, and maybe only two people show up, does that mean I’m less worthy? Less valuable?
I don’t think so.
I believe that every time we speak our truth, whether it’s to our friends, our family, our clients, or potential clients, when we show up in our aligned and authentic self, we are modeling, who we are in our work in the world. We are our own biggest billboard if you will. And how do we show up with that presence?
Well, that’s a deep one. And that’s where knowing how to blend our doingness and beingness, our feminine and masculine traits, our intellectual and intuitive wisdom, and our emotional and somatic brilliance, all of those things make up our “secret sauce”. Our SuperPower.
So that’s what we’re going to do in the next month as we move into June. We’re going to operate from a place of receptivity and activity, of beingness and doingness, of physical and somatic wisdom, as well as emotional intelligence and spiritual wisdom. All of those forms of who we are, those different versions of us, if we integrate them and align them, that’s when we have a presence.
That’s when people see us. It’s not about having the perfect lipstick color. Believe me, my last video did not have the perfect lipstick color. And it’s not about wearing the right clothes. (We’re all learning that during this time of working from home. Many of us in our sweats or yoga pants.) It’s about grounding in deep trust, centering into our purpose, and our value, and our worth, and dropping down in a way, from our brains – our beautiful, fantastic, and powerful brains. I don’t mean to do them a disservice. However, when we use that as our only guiding sense of direction, we can go way off our path. So dropping down into our heart space and dropping down even lower into our power center in our lower abdomen. connecting on all of those different levels, energetic, physical, divine, emotional.
Then our voice comes through with clarity, with an authority that people can hear, and those who are attracted to what we have to say, are ready to come and reach out. And I’m all about that. I’m all about letting the people make the decision if they’re ready. They might have a niggling fear of I’m not sure I’m ready, and that’s fine too. But they know in their hearts if it’s time to be seen, to be held, to be supported in their inner landscape journey, in their deep dive into their becoming. And that’s, that’s where my passion is. That’s what I have done for myself and numerous others, allowing them to experience transformation from their old self to their new version of self to the next best. And they’re continuing to grow with a little less fear, I might add. So that’s my thoughts for now, and I look forward to spending some more time with you and sharing some more musings in June.
Take excellent care of yourself, now, and as we move forward into these uncertain and ambiguous times.
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Full circle. A spiral, really.
The heroine’s journey is back INto herself. The foundation of confidence, presence, and wisdom as a Feminine Leader is Self-Awareness.
self-a·ware·ness (a definition)
1. conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires: “the process can be painful but it leads to greater self-awareness”
Lots of airtime around this topic these days, yet it’s not common to meet those who model it with Integrity and Courage.
Self-Awareness is not only knowing, but owning, our Strengths, Talents, Wisdom, and, what makes us uniquely Brilliant…
It is masterfully knowing the areas of our Shadows. The bad, good and ugly parts. Our reactive tendencies and patterns that hold us back, keep us quiet, or self-sabotage.
And once identifying them, allowing them (and the fullness of Self) to be seen, heard, embraced, loved.
The reasons why this is so rarely seen in our leadership is exactly why we ache and yearn for it. It’s why we identify, trust and connect with those who show up with courageous vulnerability.
The Volatility, Uncertainty, Constantly Changing and Ambiguity of these times are asking for us to step forward in this way.
Yes, it’s calling us into our own Heroine’s Journey.
Full Circle, dear one.
Back to where we came from and forward into the unknown.
Fighting our inner demons and dragons and feeling our power growing as we continue to heal and let the old patterns fall away.
It’s time, Sister. Let’s keep taking steps, together.
Read the transcript.
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Is religion at the foundation of Values and Integrity? Can you be a values-based Leader and be nonreligious? Listen in to my musings and experiences with this emotional and contentious subject. As always, I welcome your questions, comments and views. AND, I ask that you share with compassion and respect.
Read the transcript here: https://deborahleeann.com/integrity_values_religion_transcription/
Authentic Leadership Academy and Consulting
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Thanks, I’ve got this.
No really, I do!
You see, what YOU think of ME, is none of my business.
I read that book. About 40 years ago, in fact. Here’s a link, if you’re curious.
It had a profound effect on me then, and it still does.
Yet, I forget. I worry about what to write and how to write it and how to show up in what clothes and what people think and the feedback I get (even if it is good!)
How can we get OVER ourselves? Follow our own guidance and trust when it’s time to ask for guidance from others. There is a huge difference.
I’d like to tell you a story about how other’s were concerned about me 10 years ago and how I switched it back and took back my power – and it was magical!
I was divorced, running out of money and networking all over town to find the perfect job that would utilize my talents, give me the flexibility to be Mom to my middle-school-aged daughters and pay me enough for my household expenses as I was not receiving child support.
A dear friend and my mother both shared with me they were concerned (afraid, actually) for me and worried about when I was going to find a job. I assured them both, calmly and assertively, that I wanted only their confidence in me and to imagine me happily working and paying my bills. They both agreed and within the next month or so, not one but TWO contracts for my consulting work were signed!
So, let’s get back IN-to our own self, stop minding others’ business and ask politely that they not get into ours unless invited.
©2018 https://deborahleeann.com Authentic Leadership Academy & Consulting