Recently I had asked participants in one of my leadership groups to take a minute or so each morning while brushing their teeth to do some self soul grazing (look fully into one’s own eyes with love and compassion and see oneself). We would then talk about what came up in our next session.
At the next session, one participant shared that she was unable to do the exercise. She said it felt too vulnerable. She was scared she wouldn’t be able to emotionally handle what came up. I was moved by her honesty, and in our group discussion, she wasn’t alone in her feelings. And the people in this group of powerful organizational leaders.
So, for the following session, I asked people to try it again, however briefly, but this time visualize the eyes looking back at you are from someone you know or knew in your life who embodied unconditional love – a grandmother, aunt, best, friend, dog or cat, or just imagine your guardian spirit.
The whole point is to allow what it feels like to let the love in, fully and deeply. This isn’t about our ego telling us how great we are. This is about letting down some of the armor we may have learned to carry to protect ourselves as we navigate the outer world, and see, really see our deeper, whole, wonderous being (which is far more powerful than any of our personas). And in that moment of letting the love in, we also open the space to forgiveness, of ourselves and others. Just let the layers melt away. This is the power of leadership from the inside out.
In letting the love in, we begin to remember who we want to be and why. We may even open portals to remembering the power of our lineage, our ancestry, our humanness. Recently, I read a quote from a past entrepreneurial student that said, “Sandy asked me what I stood for. You could have heard a pin drop. No one had asked me that, nor had I thought about it in a long time. And that question began to shift everything in why and how I’m building my business.”
In these days when we see the courage and heart of so many, let us also open the door to our own inner wholeness, courage and resilience. And smile when you look into your eyes. See your inner one-year-old that tried again every time he or she fell. Let the love for that person who is you ito every cell in your being.
ps I read this page yesterday around the path of heart by Carlos Castaneda. Small steps every day to allow the unfolding and remembering.