Right now – take a moment and place your hand over your heart. See if you can feel the life-giving beating of your own precious heart. Ground your sense of being here. Know that you are a different person – living and leading from your heart.
For most of us, we live out of our heads. It is the preferred method for a dominant story of thinking our way through life. And there is an alternative story – loving our way through life. It is a heart- centered approach.
When one story is our default setting, the other story only gets to sneak in, or catch us off guard, every once in a while. This was certainly true for me. I was told from a young age that I was smart and could use my head to accomplish anything. My head/thinking was a helpful companion along my academic journey. It served me well in getting academic results that provided me with many wonderful opportunities. For this, I am very grateful. However, this was only the results part of my life.
Like any other human being, I also wanted to love and be loved. I wanted the relationships part of life. My experience was that my head was less of a friend and more of a foe for this desired outcome. I needed to learn how to drop into my heart, if I wanted love. And for me, it has been the spiritual journey that has tenderized my heart over time. How am I to love God, and my neighbor as myself?
My first eight-day silent retreat at the age of eighteen was a watershed moment of head and heart. To say that I had youthful zeal, is an understatement. My first meeting with my retreat director was profound, challenging and now humorous. I was full of ego and zeal. He first said that I was unusual – this so affirmed my youthful ego! Usually, he said he must encourage folks to take a closer look at how they are living. Not with me. For me, he wanted me to be less intense and more loving of myself, like how God loved me. My first conundrum was how to intensely, with all that youthful zeal, be less intense. Let that work you for a moment!
Being more loving of myself was the part that has “worked” me the rest of my life. It has now grown to include everyone and everything. What I now know, forty plus years later, is that my thinking was a helpful companion for achievement of results, and it would be my heart that needed to be dominant, if I was to experience love and compassion with all relationships, including with myself. I can always go to my head, when needed. And it is in my heart that I find the best of myself and others. How do you live and lead from your heart? Start with finding if you are there now.