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

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Transforming Trueness – Focus (We walk in the Art of Holding)

For your Trueness
holds your soul well
while you free voice
in the story you must tell.
−verse 6 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

Oddly enough, I began composing this piece on trueness and focus at a moment when I was questioning my focus in this work I do. From the standpoint of Trueness, I had stumbled in my walk with the art of holding. It Happens.

The stagger in my step came as I found myself looking at a barrier instead of around it. Instead of seeing opportunity beyond, I gave attention to the barrier itself−consequently attaching me to an outcome that is not my desire, my intent, and certainly not in the middle where the two meet and lead me to hold a steady, flowing presence.

Years ago we lived in the deep south in a house that backed to a bird sanctuary. The region in which we lived was on the migration path of the ruby-throated hummingbird. This beautiful little creature was among the many we enjoyed watching right in that backyard. It was fun watching the hummingbirds play and compete for the ports on the feeders loaded with sweet water.

As they drank continuously−storing up energy for the long journey to Mexico−they would get a bit rambunctious with each other. One day while watching them I noticed one bird hovering near the ground and tipping down to look at something in the grass. A tiny head struggled to peer upward and acknowledge the airborne comrade.

It seems in the intoxicating, exuberant play there had been a collision. I opened the sliding glass door, stepped onto the grass, located the little bugger, and placed him in the palm of my hand. I carried him inside and, as it was very early, I stirred my wife from her sleep so we could attend to our little friend.

By the time I had retrieved the bird from the grass, he was pretty out of it. As I carefully held his limp body in an open palm, and as Becky searched for a straw to offer him some drops of energy, he began to buzz in short bursts. Within a few hums he was carefully in flight edging along the glass door and then through the opening to freedom I had left.

Maybe what I’m being asked to learn is, that to more steadily walk in the art of holding, I must allow myself to be held by my own Trueness.

So what exactly is this art of holding? In our own Trueness it is indeed the way we are held; gently, without judgment, and with an openness freeing us into a flowing presence.

Now here’s the best part of my encounter with the little bird. For the remainder of that season, and all of the next, whenever I would walk into the yard while the hummers were playfully feeding, they would all scatter−except for that one little friend. He would land on the limb above my head and sit with me until I returned indoors.

The art of holding is a way with freedom−being with something or someone long enough to understand while releasing promptly into the full and present flow of the larger story.

BCL Blog 4

Transforming Trueness – Impact (Transitions Shape Us)

Transition, one then another
dispensed on a soul
is to an individual
proof simply one is living.

−verse 1 of Transforming Trueness (Repose)

The Impact needed in this world must come from those who have learned to be then do. In any situation, ask yourself what you most desire. The substance of the matter−the truth you need−is right there with you. The substance is in who you are much more than in what you think you might need to do.

Impact−Trueness practiced−is less in the doing and more in the being.

Concerning the root cause of any sense of lack, worry, or inadequacy, David Whyte says in his book, The Three Marriages; “The root is our desire to have any other reality than the one we are confronted with in the moment.” This is misplaced desire: A freedom with its base somewhere in the future. And if based only in a future−where seeing is focused−then your unique freedom is unattainable in the present.

Yes, both be and do are important and there is an order and a balance. If you as a leader feel the tension of this order and balance, then you are standing in the right place. Your most powerful stand as a leader is not some future vision (although a necessary tool). Your stand is in reality−the present.

In so many situations the pressure we feel is the shaping touch of a providential hand. Change, one then another, assures that we, as individuals, have ample opportunities for alteration−momentary modifications in doing that serve a transforming being.

In my writing some may say I’m too spiritual. Spiritual? I would not disagree. Too much? You decide for yourself. For I do not write these things to make you spiritual. I write these things so you may live in reality (in your present−in your Trueness).

From my personal journal:
I am grateful in the pool of each conscious moment. I am free to ‘be’ now and to not have to wait on some future state or status: Aren’t we all? And … that is my purpose: To open minds and hearts to what already is; to open an individual to who they already are−a present enfoldment that is all poised for unfoldment.

For the attentive (contemplative) leader, Impact is the living measure; confirmation of one’s willing participation in the unfolding−the flow.

Each transition is providential opportunity to say Yes.

And so it is that we are shaped by transition−one then another. Yes, we are being transformed into our very Trueness … if we but say, “Yes.”

BCL Blog 4

Desire & Intent – The Singularity of Trueness

Driven.
Drawn.
Delivered.

Driven down into desire,
at first lightless, intimidating,
distorted self is confronted by true self.

How did I get here?
Who is this?

Drawn out toward intent,
holding fast, releasing slow,
trueness advances through the contradiction.

I see substantiality.
I feel authenticity.

Delivered into the present,
in and through a presence,
joy amazing from depth suppressed.

I know purpose.
I sense impact.

Driven.
Drawn.
Delivered.

Clearly, solidly, finally;
It’s me.

−J. Brunson

Our Inner Territory – The Flow of Voice

It was our lunch break and I noticed Christie sitting alone in the company’s cafeteria. I had been engaged to provide a Desire & Intent workshop for this professional women’s group at their location in Texas. My temptation to walk over and ask permission to join Christie is only natural to me; but a voice suggested I not do so. Only as we resumed for the afternoon portion did I discover why.

Christie’s voice has always been present in the inner territory of who she is.

Christie was clear that her subsequent realizations were to the credit of her alone time at lunch and Elizabeth’s generous listening.

Elizabeth works with a special leader and respectively illustrated her own special spirit as she paired with Christie in our workshop exercises. I sat down with them to see how they were doing on the particular assignment. As part of expressing the freedom she was feeling, Christie told Elizabeth and me of her husband’s death just over two years ago; leaving her with their two young children.

Christie was becoming powerfully conscious of her own creative tension−her impact in this world as she holds the energy formed by the collision of her desire and her intent.

Now, after expressing out loud her own Desire & Intent and receiving the loving assistance from Elizabeth, I completely trust Christie’s voice to do its inner work and provide freedom through her impact in the world.

See companion truth – Our Outer Accountability – Living Voice

Our Inner Territory – Standing with A New Confidence

“Perhaps our development of a sustained ability for mental and emotional worry was the very apple into which we gladly bit, defending ourselves consciously against creation while at the same time expelling ourselves from the garden where we felt unconsciously at home.”
David Whyte, The Three Marriages

It had been just over a year since John and I had worked together in a coaching relationship. We had stayed in touch as I had always included him when emailing articles of interest to my leaders. John had been promoted as we wrapped up our first coaching engagement. Less than a year into this new role he was promoted once again. That is when he reached out to me to reengage for some transition coaching.

As we agreed on the customized method of our new work together, John told me about his plan for me to assist he and his leadership team with divisional strategy−leveraging my work with story. As I learned more about John’s objectives for this strategy work, I saw powerful validation for me, for John, and for our work together. You see, John is the person who said to me in our very first coaching session, “I contemplate the fictitious nature of our work world.”

I soon learned that John was a leader who truly loved his work, and in his work, loved.

In our second transition session, John set his 9 month objectives for his new role. As I sorted his objectives/actions under his points of Desire & Intent, it was clear John had come home−playing right into the best of who he is at the core.

John’s leadership journey has brought him to this place he now stands. He is consistently becoming more consciously at home with who he is and what it is he gladly has to give as a leader.

See companion truth – Our Outer Accountability – Living A New Confidence

Our Inner Territory – The Freedom of Desire & Intent

In our world of work it can become far too easy to walk into our space of supposed expertise, close a metaphorical door, do our own thing, and never be truly observed in this work by our own self or any other outside entity. While we are very often tempted to claim this cloistered behavior as a preference, deep inside we know we are conspiring against something “true” desiring to be sharply present.

Throughout my career, amid diverse opportunities, I have witnessed (and experienced) the fear associated with sudden freedom; a moment of realization beamed on the true self. The fear can emanate in a question as to whether the other, who has shown me my self, can be trusted or not, and fear also arises from a question as to whether this exposed self can be trusted−even though it is supposedly Me!

Brian is the coaching client who confessed, as I was trying to coral him into getting our first session on the calendar, that he might need some prodding to keep personal development at the top of his to-do list. In our fourth session Brian was finding himself vulnerable and exposed as the new level of awareness opened abruptly into his unique Desire & Intent.

It as at that point that he chuckled, and then apologized for same. It seems he had texted his wife (who knows my work), “Jeff Brunson is hurting my head.” The chuckle had come at her response, “He is just showing you, You!”

Desire & Intent, in its singular sense, is the Impact of your presence−providential permission to be with both self and the other.

It is at this Impact point where we find our originally intended courage to be Free.

See companion truth – Our Outer Accountability – Living Desire & Intent