The moment I speak of is this moment of choice – to choose to act rather than re-act, to dare to be spontaneous, to create, to change. This moment, that has never happened before and will never come again …
Many people live their lives by taking the patterns of the past and laying them down in front of them, living on a caterpillar-track of repetition, trapped in their preconceptions of themselves, others and their world. This becomes ‘comfortable’, ‘secure’, while their real selves cry in anguish, stifled and unheard.
Some call this moment the moment of ‘being’ – the space in which we can bring ourselves into the equation in all our uniqueness and truly ACT (with Awareness, Connection and Transformation, of course) – being ourselves instead of functioning as an automaton.
For this, we have to choose, or prioritise, the desire to ‘be’ rather than to ‘do’. This can be difficult after several decades of ‘doing’ conditioning; of being trained to put the task above the person; of allowing my self definition and esteem to be defined by what I do (from school exams, to that task list you have, to your annual review …). What would be different if we put how we are and what we are becoming above all this doing?
Of course, the two are not separate, especially in the leadership sphere. As you know, your being is a key determinant of your ability to ‘do’ leadership and enable others to do. Some organisations are beginning to recognise this by having the extent to which leaders live certain values, as assessed by their colleagues, as a key measure for their annual appraisals and bonuses.
To lead positively and effectively, you need to be able to stay with the moment, connected with your people within it, as it unfolds in all its unique complexity, rather than react through fear of loss of control and impose the pattern of a past event – which may or may not be relevant.
Essentially, it all comes down to choice – “What do I choose for myself today?”, “Who do I choose to be, how do I choose to relate to the world around me and what do I choose to do?”. And this all comes down to my sense of ‘purpose’ …
From the ancient Vedas to Eckhart Tolle we have known this. As Rumi says:
“Those of you who are scattered, Simplify your worrying lives.
There is one truth: Water the fruit trees, and don’t water the thorns.
Be generous to what nurtures the Spirit and God’s luminous Reason-Light.
Don’t honour what causes dysentery and knotted-up tumours.”*
Where are you now? Look around. Allow yourself to take a low breath, without tension. Feel the sensation of your feet on the floor.
What do you choose?
*(trns. Coleman Barks and John Moyne, “This Longing”, page 71)