Shadow Strengths – Chapter Two (Desire & Intent)

In our country’s history we once said, “The United States are … .” We now say, “The United States is … .” Somewhere along the line of history it all became one. The desire of a people intersected with the intent for liberty and created a singular union. This union is not without its tension. And that’s okay.

Desire & Intent is a singular gift hidden in our shadow.

We, in our western society, for some reason see tension as bad. Indeed there is a level of stress that, over time, causes all sorts of ills−or at least takes blame for these ills. And there is a degree of tension that is the energy of human equilibrium.

The gift of tension is created by the powerful union of the desire that drives us and the intent that draws us. The union of desire and intent−becoming Desire & Intent−brings a key strength out of the separateness-created shadow: Creative Tension.

I will allow my own Desire & Intent to be the illustration. Where I am given the gift of connection with you, this is my story of purpose: My Desire & Intent is that you lovingly lead others to their own authentic confidence as you embrace the power of who you are and act on this Trueness!

The rhythm of this story is the pulse of purpose for me. In order to honor the flow, I have come to see and embrace the universal strength of creative tension in the shadow of my desire and intent. As I learned, internal desire and external intent seem to stay separated in our culture; maybe even in opposition as they seem like contradictions. However, they become one as they intersect in a spoken, conscious presence.

My own Desire & Intent speaks to my purpose (why I do what I do). And in the collision of the desire that you embrace your authenticity and the intent that you lead others to do the same, I am thrown into the creative tension of how I do what I do. All I do−coach, write, facilitate−flows through the creatively tense portal of my belief that I can encourage your confident Trueness. This is the energy of my balance. This is my Trueness acted upon.

Acting on your own Trueness, from the partnership of desire and intent, strengthens you to confidently explore what is in the shadow. The shadow strength of creative tension is leveraged in the balance of internal and external when you hold together your desire that drives you from the inside and your intent that draws you out.

The tension delivered to you by the collision of desire and intent is creative because it forces you to hold together what you see as reality and possibility; and in the holding you are opened to the how you do what you do.

“Our intention is not to conquer the shadow, but to draw it out into the light of our awareness and compassion.” −Richard Rohr

BCL Blog 4

Shadow Strengths – Chapter One (Impact)

In my last assignment before leaving Chicago, I had on my team a brilliant, vibrant young woman. At the time, Pam was 30, married, had a young son, worked fulltime, and was studying for a degree in her evenings. I admired her very much.

Occasionally, like any normal human, Pam would get in a bit of a funk. One particularly funky day she came into my office to talk about the future. It was soon clear it was not the future that had her feeling insecure; it was the comparison she was making between her ostensible progress by 30 with a female executive of the same age.

It is impossible to experience your own Trueness when entangled by unequal comparative perception.

Out of touch with our own Trueness we darken our shadow. Yes, when we think about the shadow we automatically think about the dark part of ourselves. Such thinking can lead us to avoid the shadow at all costs. This is dangerous.

It is important that we cease all attempts to hide from our shadow. For in that seeming darkness are treasures to abundantly fund our Trueness.

Jimmy is a dear friend building yet another adventure at 68. In preparation for a meeting we were to have about this direction of his work, he sent me the transcript of the TEDx talk he had just delivered.

I have known Jimmy for 12 years and ‘succinct’ is not a word I would use to describe him in his work. “Precise” yes, but not succinct. However, in the transcript of his talk, he was incredibly succinct and focused with a brief and compelling story.

For Jimmy the shadow is darkened by the overuse of his skill of preciseness. The TEDx talk clearly revealed the treasure of a key strength he needs at this time in his journey. “Structure” is his Strength that was hidden in the shadow.

Jimmy must hold his strength of structure in his light as he moves forward. Those impacted by his work need the application of his structure strength−delivering for Jimmy the ultimate preciseness so deeply encoded in his core.

“People are as frightened of their capacity for nobility as of their darkest sides.” −Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow

As Pam stood against the temptation to compare herself to another, she was better able to own her own shadow; and there courageously face and embrace her own treasures. Hidden with such treasure so often is a key strength that needs your light.

I encourage you to hold together your light and shadow. Hold them long enough to see the natural and beautiful contrast that is within. And as you do, we will better experience the balanced you−Your Impact!

BCL Blog 4


Transforming Trueness – Love (and in the Full Process We Become True)


And in the telling itself, a living performance,
into and through our own soul
we are transformed …
we become who we are.
−verse 7 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

Each transition serves a larger transformation.

We are being transformed into who we really are.

And yes, who you really are is … Trueness.

This post closes my typical series of 7. I have hopefully safely navigated through the flow of chapters in Wading the Stream of Awareness.

I have been presenting the power of experience in the unfolding of one’s Trueness. So as I write this last piece, I first take you back through the flow of the previous 6 chapters; so you may see a full process toward Trueness.

The impact needed today comes through you as you learn to be then do. There is an order and a balance. As a leader, if you feel the tension of such order and balance, then you are standing in the right place.

Desire & Intent
Desire & Intent is a unique moment of opportunity to root a bit deeper into the soil of Trueness. The tension of transition indeed feels like suffering. It is not some thing being made different, it is You.

A New Confidence
A New Confidence is indeed an evolution. Confidence becomes new when your true self moves more clearly into your consciousness and takes precedence over the unconscious false self. Safe in Trueness, you are completely open to the connections.

In the connections, voice clears. You need the vibrations of these connections. If you walk with others and allow them to walk with you, then you come to know the art of holding in the deepest of reality.

It is in a deepening commitment to presence that you extend your reach in this world and deepen your impact. In presence you are emboldened to stretch beyond self-imposed limitations and see the transformative energy in congruent action.

To steadily walk in the art of holding you must allow yourself to be held by your own Trueness. We are released into the unfolding story by your wonderful ability to be with us long enough to understand and then release us into the larger story.

And now …

In the work you do as a leader there is simply no priority higher than that of Love. In Trueness you are free to love us in the balance of your strengths applied.

Trust me, we want to know the story of the real you. And we are thrilled in the blending of our stories.

BCL Blog 4

Step into the Middle with Focus

Susan is all about supporting others when and where they need it. She holds a vision of true balance for others; a harmony of focus between the internal and the external.

From her commitment to true balance, Susan is intently focused on encouraging personal engagement:

I take interest in the work of others to encourage the interest that gives energy for the work and supports the confidence of the individual in the work.

Susan shows us what it looks like to step into the middle with focus. Her process is about deep, clear listening−required for a safe wade to the middle of the leadership stream. Susan is determined and focused by nature; her strengths of Active Clarity, Confidence, and Collaboration drive her forward with a silent, creative tension.

She has advanced into the middle of 21st Century impact with conscious focus−a confident, clear grasp on who she is and what is most important to her. Purpose drives how she supports; and in her brand of support she has become a purposeful teacher.

In the process of the support of others, Susan is learning to listen internally to hear better externally. She has consequently become more conscious of her own process of support. It is this process that has emerged and defined Susan’s very impact. This unique impact has long been present, she is now simply conscious of both presence and process.

Like Susan, do not make assumptions about the unknown. Instead, seek out information important to collective, focused direction.

Step into the Middle of Desire & Intent

The river … From source to sea it is one flow; nowhere does it pile up. … From source to sea, it is one unbroken song of flow−ever changing yet always one. … If only our lives could achieve, or indeed allow, such grace and elegance. −John O’Donohue, Beauty

Think of your leadership Desire & Intent as a flow−a nourishing river for you and others. As a leader you have the flow you need. It is the rhythmic power of 3 that is your answer to the desire and intent question.

Compelled from the foundation of desire, pulled into action by intent, you find yourself in the middle with the accountability of your impact.

If we could but find a rhythm of being which could balance a contemplative grace, a poetry of motion and an accompanying stillness and silence, our pilgrimage through this world would flow in beauty through the most ragged and forsaken heartlands of confusion and dishevelment. −John O’Donohue

Those who follow your loving lead depend on the frequency that is intrinsically felt in the rhythm of your Desire & Intent.

As a leader, it is in this river of practice where you catch all the rich content that is so masterfully blended in the creative tension of the middle; a unique union of your desire and intent … a song of flow.

Encouragement for Your Voice (You; Intended from the Beginning)

The voice to which I so often refer is discernible in what we say, but rarely audible.

Contemplate the silence of your Voice:
1) Be still in the flow.
2) Listen for the call.
3) Feel what you hear.

As of late, I have been learning to open and feel what I hear in the flow. Each experience is processed in my body. This is a new level of conscious awareness for me. Learning to practice this physicality in balance with emotional, mental, and spiritual realms is, I’m learning, very important to being with any experience.

I recently observed this balance when being with my mom for three days as she acclimated to a care and rehab facility. In the movement of these experiences−the paradoxical flow−I am moving closer to who I really am. This has been a lifelong process; and life ain’t over yet!

The you intended from the beginning is real and present in, and around, you … now. I completely understand it may not feel like that at the moment. I only ask that you stand in the middle, reach out, and feel the essence of you−meant purposefully from the source.

See companion post, Our Experience Together

Encouragement for A New Confidence (Life in a Perpetual Dialogue)

A New Confidence is not just about your confidence. It is also about leading others to their own authentic confidence; and dialogue is a wonderful space for this loving act to unfold.

Story is a narrative dialogue−flowing one to another.

True dialogue is continual in its course when we are:
1) Respective
2) Responsive
3) Receptive.

We are respective when equal in conversation. We are responsive as we trust the flow (everything belongs). We are receptive, and consequently delivered, to a new level not achieved alone.

We expect answers, but we often avoid questions:

Multipliers don’t just give answers. They provide just enough information to provoke thinking and to help people discover and see the opportunity for themselves. They begin a process of discovery. −Liz Wiseman, Multipliers

As with my mountain stream, the flow begins somewhere; at the highest level. This perpetuity is only because of the first drips in the high rocks−it begins in your stand in the middle, where you find equality and return it to others.

See companion post, Living From the Middle