This weekend I was in Chicago assisting at the MORE Life Training weekend with the Wright Leadership Institute (you can become a fan of them on Facebook or check out their website at www.wrightliving.com) from Friday evening to Sunday night. In my last blog post, I made a prediction that I was going to learn a lot about myself while participating in this weekend, and boy did I!
On Friday I filled out a packet to help me understand my leadership strengths and weaknesses and discovered (not much to my surprise) that my biggest gap in leadership is taking risks and making mistakes. For the rest of the weekend, whenever I did a project or worked with people or went to lunch or pretty much anything, I worked on being conscious of taking risks--that is, doing things that take me out of my comfort zone, asking for projects that I knew would challenge me, accepting assignments that I had never done before, and asking for help or clarification when I was working on something that was unclear or beyond my capabilities. On Friday night when the participants went home, I took the big risk of asking for different responsibilities than I had been given that evening, and on Saturday I got them! I felt seen and heard and like I matter to the group when my requests were honored, and also so much more engaged with the material, the participants, and my fellow assistant team members.
On Saturday I got to join a group of the participants (along with their team leader and assistant) on a lunch outing a few blocks away from the Institute. Everyone was given an assignment to follow as many urges as they can during the lunch break, and so in the restaurant we all ended up having a napkin fight (as opposed to a food fight). I surpressed an urge to start throwing food, and one of the participants next to me pointed out that I wasn't doing the assignment because I didn't follow my urge. We started having a conversation about the importance of being conscious of the urges we suppress every day, and choosing moments when following those urges is right and when--like then, throwing food on a man in a $500 suit--was probably not right. The participant asked me, if following urges in the moment is based on what you deem to be right, was Hitler right in following his urge to start the Hollocaust? He kept pressing the matter, trying to get me to either admit that Hitler was right (which I do not believe is true) or that the assignment was bogus and that I, and the Institute, was wrong for asking us to follow our urges. I felt very scared by the way he was pushing me and very hurt by what he was trying to do. I carried this conversation around with me all day and finally talked with another assistant about it at the end of the day. What I discovered is that this way of manipulating a conversation to prove that someone else was wrong and bad was something that I had done to an old friend of mine all the time. When I had been doing this to my old friend I was conscious of what I was doing, but I had no idea how painful it was to be on the other end of a conversation as manupulative as that one. It was such a deep, raw truth to learn about myself, and my feeling of vulnerability when I apologized to this old friend yesterday was such a relief. We cleared the air of so many old heartbreaks and opened the doors to new growth. Although I felt angry at and hurt by this participant on Saturday, I also feel grateful to him for helping me learn this about myself.
Sunday was also about taking risks for me. I made a lot of mistakes and did a lot of things that scared me, but I felt so happy to be engaged with new material and to be working in different ways with my team. I participated in more activities, I got to do the things I asked for, I received help when I needed it, and at the end of the day felt full to the brim or nourishment that can only come from a life of engagement, truth, adventure, and support. My boyfriend and I shared some deep truths with each other and have already improved our communication and intimacy a hundred-fold. I came back to Ohio and engaged with my old friend and then again with my boyfriend. I supported him in a difficult talk with his parents and shared my feelings of anger and hurt.
Although consciously I know that being a vessel for truth, living my life as an adventure and like every moment matters, engaging fully with those around me and taking risks lead to a fulfilled, nourished life, I constantly need to remind my pre-conscious and subconscious minds that doing the things that scare me lead to the most growth and fulfillment. Expressing my feelings and my deeper yearnings helps me engage more fully with life and the people around me. I am working on catching my urges to talk with people, to write, to do something new, to sing, and everything in between. What I felt this weekend I want to feel every day. I was more vulnerable than I have been historically and I felt more hurt and fear, but I also felt heaps of joy, love, acceptance, affirmation and connection, more than if I had been disengaged and numb.
I live my life as if every moment matters.
I am a powerful woman with thorns and valleys who branches out and expands with inspiring variety and who creates space for the flow of life.