You, The Stream, and Love

The stream does not desire tragedy to be a part of its story, but embracing complexity, the stream accepts this as unavoidable. As a participant in the stream’s story, I take accountability to wade in a manner contributing to the joyful telling of the story. −The Stream as Dangerous, Love Chapter, page 220

Embracing complexity: We are not independent of the whole, separate from the larger story. Independent control is an illusion.

Authentic encouragement: “All things work together for good …” is a hard one to embrace if still a prisoner of divisional thinking. Fulfilling participation in the larger story requires one to be presently consistent in holding the reality of what is collectively good: success and failure, rising and falling, clarity and cloudiness, good and bad. Without the ability to embrace complexity, which includes your uniqueness in the story, you cannot be in the flow of the stream.

Freedom in A New Confidence: You enter a new confidence the moment you commit to holding the tension of contradiction in living−of wading the stream. As I process this very writing, I hold the tension of whether flow is found in each experience of the unfolding or if each experience places one in flow. Maybe it is both.

Experience−The freedom of a captured heart: An inability to confidently walk in the reality of life’s contradictions is to hold on to opinions and the need to be right−a false faith in divisional thinking. At the core of life in A New Confidence is Love. Only in love is one’s heart captured, and thus freed.

Your love as a leader builds my confidence for the flow. Please … courageously love and lead us in its freedom, and encourage us as we learn to hold ourselves confidently in the complex balance.

You, The Stream, and Presence

The stream was formed for a specific purpose within a larger story. The stream is confidently content in this purpose and flows through its course respectively. Its voice amplifies the joy of living purposefully and as a visitor it implores me to listen. In listening, in being in its presence, my heart is captured. -The Stream as Restoring, Presence Chapter, page 160

We give from our best self only when fully present. In full presence we listen fully.

I believe that there are two necessary paths enabling us to move toward wisdom: a radical journey inward and a radical journey outward.”Richard Rohr, Simplicity

Our outward hearing is strengthened by the internal ear; the ability to listen in the flow of individual, unique story. In the flow, aware and listening, my heart is captured and encouraged by the broad spectrum of life. In true presence, I am no longer surprised by the movement of providence; but I am continually amazed.

The structural principle of authenticity: Whatever you desire to do for others, you must be able to do for yourself. This principle is not about perfection. It is about childlike charity in the present. We have become too rigid in accepting and receiving in ourselves. As children, we were open to parental charity−a charity that was obligation for the adult and a bright expectation on the part of the child.

There comes a time to be free again in the larger story; to receive in order to give, and to have your heart captured by what is carefully heard in the flow.

You, The Stream, and A New Confidence

Confidence of experience allows me to wade the stream when clear. Respect, and just plain common sense, keeps me out of it when the bottom disappears. Love of the stream sustains me while I wait for it to clear. -The Stream as Treacherous, A New Confidence Chapter, page 83

Acknowledge the difference between tenacity and offensive stubbornness. The offense is against your purpose. Even though you may feel justified in an obstinate posture, this is usually driven from the negative. This strikes heavy of the old confidence.

The new confidence moves you from the positive, from your strength of purpose; and the strike−now a blow for impact−is lovingly guided by Desire & Intent. And yes, sometimes desire and intent become cloudy in the flow of life.

Stepping out of the stream when the bottom cannot be seen is not about fear; fear may be present and is connected to respect for our protection. However, the level of respect to which I refer is more about how we adore the stream and attend to our own, unique experience with the stream.

Clear or cloudy, the stream requests our presence; whether wading or waiting streamside. The stream encourages our attendance−the way we care for our self and the manner in which we apply our individual self.

The stream is patient−continuing purposefully in flow−as you move from the need to control in the old confidence to the conscious freedom of the new confidence.

An Empowering Environment – Paul’s Story

“Building Today, Accessible Tomorrow.”

My friendship with Paul has been enlightening for my work with leaders in corporate environments. While Paul works on physical environments, he teaches me about empowerment in the emotional and spiritual realm of our spaces. Freedom is essential!

For Paul, honesty and trust must always be present for the most positive environment. This is the flow of Paul’s voice. A handshake is his name in cement.

Respecting her brave fight, I will call Paul’s client Karen. She is battling the disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Paul is not merely a construction expert, he partners in the care of the client. During Karen’s Smart Design project, he would take along material samples so she could actually feel the differences while he explained the details. This allowed Karen a level of engagement, expectation, and inclusion.

Paul told me that providing functional space for an individual like Karen is as empowering for him as it is for the client. These experiences are fulfilling his own purpose as the physical spaces he designs give freedom to the individuals who occupy them.

A few years ago, as Paul and I were looking forward in this value of fulfillment, he said, “My story is being written as I focus on the right pieces and build the dream.” And oh, in his intelligent, witty manner he added, “Knowing that I occasionally have to pull down my pants and slide on the ice.”

Paul Walton is a natural teacher because of the love he has for his clients. He applies his creative abilities and focuses passion in serving through his simple representation of Smart Design.

Paul and Moose

Liberation (Delight in Your Presence)

To be special in this world,
to be uniquely who you are,
is rhythmic freedom and flow.

In the safety of friendship,
in the simplest form of love,
I like all of you I know.

In your presence I delight,
an engaging sequence of creation.
With distinctiveness in full right,
we share authentic liberation.

−J. Brunson

Leadership Poem 4 – From Judie’s Story and the privilege of my own relational experience

Active Love

Maxine is a wonderful spirit. She has a very rare and unique personality profile combining a driving love for human connection with incredible ability to process complex detail. Maxine left me a voice message saying she had a story to tell me about practicing in one of the strategies we scripted into her development story. I love a good story, so I was very pleased when she followed up the voice message with an email.

Many times, practicing a new strategy is a risk. To take no risk is to have no control in the situation. Control is not the objective however. To need control is the old confidence. For Maxine, it is about living with expectation – A New Confidence found in connection.

Maxine wrote to me about a particular meeting where the goal was to gain approval on a project development document she had created. While her document contained the supporting points, she settled on one clear message point prior to the gathering. This gave her the courage to clearly address the points as they aligned with the one clear message and respected the interests and needs of her audience (a walk among the flowers versus a roll in the weeds).

It takes courage to be a guide – to go where others fear to go. The respect given through Maxine’s preparation was generously returned in the participant interactions. Participants were asking her questions directly. They believed she could provide clear, useful answers.

Maxine’s actions shifted participant perception of her from just a speaker about the initiative to a leader in the initiative.

Maxine’s provision for flow quickened the engagement for which she hoped. Purpose was felt full-force when a major player asked to work with her on further refinement.

Realize that it is not how you feel that determines how you act; rather it is how you act that determines how you feel. -William James (1842-1919)

Maxine told me how she felt calm and confident after this expert practice and demonstration of leadership. In conscious presence, Maxine is building connection as she loudly lives her brand of love.

Your Reach (A New Security)

The challenges in our economy, along with the natural evolution of the 21st Century, are both threatening and exciting. In my work I know many individuals whose livelihood is unsure and many for whom the hammer has fallen. The leaders with whom I normally work have been hard at his/her respective careers for many years. The fact that these good people have been at their craft so long intensifies individual fear.

Let’s consider Michael. He has been at his work for more than twenty years. Michael is a good man, he loves what he does, he is good at what he does, and those he leads, influences, and serves love him. His organization, like so many others, is in turmoil as it struggles to simultaneously survive and reinvent itself. Even with a solid track record, Michael feels no sense of security as he watches the shoe drop for one after another who is just like him.

Consequently, Michael is turning his attention toward potential opportunity outside the walls of his current organization. This is yet another source of consternation as he finds himself struggling with letting go. While he must let go of the false security of his current organization – regardless if he remains or goes – he does not have to let go of his experience.

Like many others, Michael initially saw another opportunity – forced or voluntary – as starting over. This is absolutely not the case. No one, for any reason, can take away his experience in the work or the experiences that are in his heart. The experience and experiences have worked together with his spirit to make him who he is today.

Michael is now ready to fully live his purpose. All that has occurred to this point has been preparation. Even with all the responsibilities of a husband and father, Michael is now free to extend his reach as intended. Loyalty, security, and trust have all spilled over into his network. It is there where he will find the next opportunity; and the ones that follow.

This is A New Security. This is where Michael – and the rest of us – will extend the power of our reach in making the world a better place for all.

I am privileged to know Michael.