Keep Your Cardinal Rule

Esteem for self
knows no gradation
of a high or low.

Such measure distorts movement,
a flow intended
a security promised.

Self and esteem
are meant to pair,
for the movement designed
is one of flow.

And in this flow
you are one,
one with who you are
and the security of Trueness.

Secure with you, your flow free,
like a mountain stream, presence singing.

And now you know
and now I see
how to flow
complete and free.

Holding it all in order to see
honoring your flow, gratefully.

−J. Brunson

Poem Grounded from Skillfully Generous – Presence

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Shadow Strengths – Chapter Five (Presence)

Bringing forth your own unique Voice into each interaction is difficult, if not impossible, if you are not committed to Presence.

The strength in the shadow is Listening.

There is no more present activity than truly listening−either to another person or in simple observation of what is before you in the moment.

In her book, Improv Wisdom, Patricia Ryan Madson presents several tips for sharing control. These tips are helpful and easy to practice. But being a typical western society control freak, I’ve found one in particular very difficult.

To me, Madson’s tips are really about being present; especially the one where I’m having the most difficulty. This one tip says I must adjust to the way it is versus how I would like it to be. Please understand, this tip is not saying you shouldn’t have a vision, or a dream.  It is asking us to focus on what is before us in the moment and not become distracted by the flow that has already passed, or that may or may not come.

The shadow strength of listening is about paying attention; a freedom to be in the moment with what is.

On a recent trip I had way too many hours alone in a rental car. During this driving time I thought about this tip. I began to notice how much my thinking gets in the way of practicing with this tip. For example, I would pass a lovely house and immediately begin to put myself in residence and process what I would change. Why? Why does my mind find it necessary to do that? What benefit is there in such an automatic response? I will tell you what benefit there is for me: None!

The more present option is to notice the house, take in what I see, hold it for what it is in the temporary view I’m allowed, and then let it go into the flow. This is why I write so much about Hold & Release, not to teach you as much as encourage myself.

This tip of adjusting to where I am is about standing firm against the two emotions that can so easily throw me into the darkest part of shadow: past regret and future fear. Giving in to either of these two emotions will defeat me in moving on, leaving me too frustrated or afraid to take the next step.

So how do you pull the strength of listening out of the shadow and put it into beneficial, present leverage for self and others? I wish I had the answer. But this I can tell you, the answer begins in determining what keeps you from adjusting to what is, in paying attention to what distracts you from the moment.

My guess is that you’ll find something similar to my own discovery. If we go too quickly to how we would like it to be, skipping over presence, we will create limiting conditions when, if at all, we do come back and try to stand in the moment.

Presence is an output of paying attention.

BCL Blog 4

Transforming Trueness – Presence (We become committed to here)

Surprising it may seem
and so surprising it is;
but deceitful it cannot be.
−verse 5 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

My richest blessings are consistently held and carried by those who lovingly give of their presence.

My dear friend Dan walks with me and allows me to walk with him. Together we practice in the art of holding what is said and heard; sometimes for many weeks and months.

I began writing this piece on the morning that found us driving to the airport in the middle of the night to ensure Dan boarded the first flight ahead of a snowstorm bearing down on his home in Chicagoland. Dan had generously set aside time for his friend. We talked about plans, dreams, and desires for hours. We talked about our respective transitions and mutual transformation. We asked each other questions animating each to unreservedly attend to the answers.

“These passages into uncertainty or chaos give us unequaled opportunities to find our courage and strength. The world of duality disguises these events, making us feel that disaster is upon us, but these lessons are also blessings that insist that we stretch beyond our self-imposed limitations.”
−Jamie Sams, Dancing the Dream (HarperOne, 1999)

If there is one thing for certain Dan wants for me, it’s for me to stretch beyond my self-imposed limitations. We recognized the transformative energy in the thread of deeply congruent actions. So we set aside special time to talk about right action.

As I spoke of some sort of block in my current transition, Dan asked, “In any block, what breaks you loose? My answer: When I see opportunity.

What a surprise, my own answer. Yes, surprising it seemed. So surprising it was. But in no way was this deceitful. Such deceit is impossible as this answer so clearly represents essential energy in my Trueness. I will push right through a barrier when I see the opportunity on the other side. What conscious freedom!

Moving forward, when feeling the cold, uncaring hand of a self-imposed limitation, I will employ whatever method necessary to see around the block and scout the terrain (inner and outer) for opportunity.

Opportunity seen−felt and discovered−excites me into action!

I live a privileged life. It is Grace. My privilege is fully composed in the weave of relationships that have made this life and work I know. In such companionable weave I am emboldened with the courage, and subsequent strength, to see into opportunity, catch the quarry of potential, hold it into right action, and then release all into the flow.

Thank you Dan for your presence and the encouragement of my own. In this camaraderie I can continue to deepen a commitment to presence, and therefore extend reach and deepen impact.

BCL Blog 4

Our Inner Territory – The Art of Presence

DSCN1052We live a short drive from Mt. Mitchell, NC. So on a recent Saturday we decided to visit this magnificent place. As you approach the summit, the first stop is at an elevation of 6,578 ft. I parked our vehicle, and my first thought was to step out with camera and capture the high beauty before us.

As you might imagine, we were visually, and joyfully, stunned. But upon stepping out I was instantly frozen by the astounding silence. There was not a peep, cheep, or chirp. No cars rolling by, no motorcycles, bicycles, no one talking; not a sound. I stopped breathing momentarily to fully experience a volume of silence I had not known in years.

One incomparable method for understanding the art of presence is to experience the presence of art.

It is such an experience that another feels when the beautiful scene of our own inner territory is suddenly expressed−usually at a moment when who we really are is precisely what that individual most needs. In the beauty of trust you simply show up.

“Showing up is the key principle when we offer service to others. So often it is our presence alone, rather than some special ability, that makes the difference.” −Patricia Ryan Madson, Improv Wisdom

Sadly we are too often physically there but not present. In such a situation, there is no art.

Letting go into trust, a silence of service allows the other person the simple, powerful presence of art−the art of who you are in the stunning inner territory.

The art of your presence is just that; Your Presence.

See companion truth – Our Outer Accountability – Living Presence

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Listen Deeply – Presence

For years, one simple mantra has continually encouraged me to pay attention in ever more caring and accomplished ways:

There is no more present activity than truly listening to another human being.

To be present is largely about paying attention. And to pay attention is to be present without any need to judge, label, categorize, or otherwise “place” what is experienced.

In the streaming interview with the expertly skilled Jim Gudas, I was surprised by the providential ending. At the beginning Jim had introduced me as Leadership Coach, Author, and Speaker in a very flattering tone. At some point (not known to me at the time as the end) I found myself drawn back to his introductory words. I expressed how much I appreciated his words; “But let me explain to the listening audience.”

I am able to speak to audiences because of what writing gives me. I write from what I learn in coaching: and I learn from each and every client and session. So while some may be impressed by the intro, please don’t be. I do one thing and I do it well … I Listen. That’s it. It’s that simple.

Learning to truly listen to another makes you better able to hear your own voice. Learning to truly listen to self allows you to become a more generous listener with others.

Listening, in ever more intent ways, is at the core of my call. And my calling in this world is to love and encourage−and hence my gift in the world.

Listen deeply to your call!

A Flow to Simplicity through Purpose

Purpose is animated into flow only in the energy of presence.

Allow me to offer a caution: Purpose is not the result of a smartly crafted strategy; a set of brilliant hows and actions. All strategy is ultimately empty without the clarity of purpose. Subsequent strategy finds buoyancy in the flow because of individual resilient purpose.

Faith, as I am learning, is less about what I desire to be at some future point and much more about who I am now−and in the wonderful flow. If I am too busy looking elsewhere I will most certainly miss what is right before me.

In the light of present faith I had a startling realization. The desire I was claiming had been craftily mitered and matted in a future frame always hanging on a wall in a place yet my own. This is not real desire but ugly judgment in a friendly mask turning my own face from the power of purposeful presence.

While the story of living purposefully is ever-unfolding−and yes, contains complexity−it is a story with you since the beginning.

Purpose is not a product. Purpose is a gift.

And from this individualized, loving gift you find your call for giving in this world.

Each act of giving is then a simple act of purpose in the present, leaving us further enriched by your faithful presence.