Are You Really a Compassionate Leader?

There’s a great deal of focus in my life on personal and professional growth right now. It consumes me – in the most positive way – and I find it absolutely great, fun and so very inspirational. Anyway, I was talking with a friend today about my thoughts on the importance of a leader being compassionate – personally and professionally.

I firmly believe that no successful leader or individual can lack compassion as to me that equals being unaware of your true essence as a being. A compassionate individual sees things in people – they see their strengths and weaknesses as well as their passions and fears. They see what makes others special and they work to draw that out. A great leader recognize that compassion begins from within. And that it is only when you can forgive and love yourself, as you can give that forgiveness and love to others.

Fall, to rise again

However it seems that it is not until one individual, at one point or another in his/hers life, truly has fallen down that (s)he fully develop – and practise – compassion as it should be practised. This might not be so strange though considering that it usually is in the process of getting up from such “fall down” that you discover who you really are, what you truly care about and how you want to live the rest of your life. You learn so much more on the way up than you possibly can do at the top.

“Maybe it is true that it’s only when you have nothing, that you can learn what is truly meaningful to you!” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

A great compassionate leader has done this journey, personally – spiritually – and professionally. And it’s through that journey – those challenges – that they have come to recognize that each and every one of us have something special within us. Such aware leader, or individual, also knows that it’s only through developing a meaningful relationship with another person that you can draw the gift of genuine compassion out in the open.

“Compassion is a verb.” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

It’s not enough to just feel it though. Compassion is worthless unless you in fact do something with it! And this is why humility is the precursor to compassion. Humility is what opens you up in a way that enables compassion to “flow in” and become real.

A compassionate relationship

In a compassionate relationship you pull another person in by genuinely listening and asking questions. There’s a valuable lesson for you to learn from every individual and situation you encounter. As a compassionate leader you constantly need to ask yourself,
– Do I make people feel better about themselves?
– Do I make them feel like they are capable of achieving more than they ever thought they could do?
– Am I courageous enough to enpower others or does my fear cause me to micro-manage/want to control instead?
– What can I learn from this individual and this situation?

“Great leaders dare to be vulnerable” – Ulrika @GustoLifeGroup

That’s what compassion is all about – letting go of fear, daring to be vulnerable and be encouraging, caring, sharing, listening and loving towards others! And it’s amazing, it can be as easy as just listening or saying a kind word to a loved one, a stranger or a fellow employee.

True compassion

In his book An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, Dalai Lama writes that true compassion “has the intensity and spontaneity of a loving mother caring for her suffering baby. Throughout the day, such a mother’s concern for her child affects all her thoughts and actions. This is the attitude we are working to cultivate with each and every being. When we experience this, we have generated great compassion.” Simple. And beautiful!

“A man is walking along a beach and comes across a boy picking something up off the sand and gently throwing it into the ocean. Curious, the man asked, ‘What are you doing?’

‘I am throwing starfish into the ocean,’ the boy answered. ‘The sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them in, they will die.’

The man said, ‘Well, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t possibly make a difference.’

The little boy bent down and he picked up another starfish and threw it into the surf. He smiled at the man and said, ‘But I made a difference to that one.’ ” – The Star Thrower

Trusting what is – Patience

One of the  greatest thing I’ve had to work with, for myself, has been patience. I have always been a very impatient person – even when it did not serve me well.

Courageous individuals – leaders – trust. They trust that everything’s exactly as it is supposed to be – they let go. They do not try to control things, events or people. Nor do they force their own ways – swim upstream. They go with the flow – with trust – and find pleasure in it. Trust lies at the core of all our relationships – without, theres is no foundation for growth.

“It’s fine to want things to happen in a proper and timely way. But what if you need to hang in there for several months in your current job before you can move on to a better one.  Now what?

Patience means handling delay, difficulty, or discomfort without getting aggravated. Circumstances are what they are, but patience protects you from their impact like a shock absorber. In contrast, impatience interprets circumstances as you being hindered or mistreated, so you feel frustrated, let down, or annoyed. imagesO6B4MEWVThen insistence comes in: “This must change!” But by definition you can’t fulfill that commandment (otherwise, there’d be nothing to get impatient about). Impatience combines all three ingredients of toxic stress: unpleasant experiences, pressure or urgency, and lack of control.

Impatience with others contains implicit criticism and irritation – and people want to get away from both of these. Just recall how you feel when someone is impatient with you. Or consider how others react when you are impatient with them. Impatience is dissatisfaction; it is resistance to the way it is. Patience senses a fundamental alrightness, the doorway to contentment. Impatience is angry; patience is peaceful. Impatience narrows down onto what’s “wrong,” while patience keeps you wide open to the big picture.

Impatience can’t stand unpleasant feelings; patience helps you tolerate physical and emotional discomfort. Impatience wants rewards now; patience helps you tolerate delayed gratification, which fosters increased success and sense of worth. Patience may seem like a superficial virtue, but actually it embodies a deep insight into the nature of things: they’re intertwining, messy, imperfectible, and usually not about you. Patience also contains a wonderful teaching about desire: wish for something, sure, but be at peace when you can’t have it. Patience knows you can’t make the river flow any faster.

“When you are tempted to lose patience with someone, remember how patient God is with you – all the time.”

Friday’s Wisdom: True Leadership

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Tuesday’s Wisdom: It’s Not About You

Leadership is not about You. Your special talents and gifts are not about You. Your Life is not about You nor is it for You. Your life and your purpose is to be serving other beings – sharing of all your talents – for a greater good. It’s all about service.

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“10 Biblical Rules For A Happy Marriage”…or just “common sense when You truly love and care for your spouse and not just your Ego”.

I am amazingly blessed! Yes, I am and I’m not covering it up or being modest about it. On the contrary, I rejoice in God’s Gift to me and in the fact that I am one of those incredibly (few) tumblr_m72dg6dnE41qg89yfo1_500blessed women who are married to a man who’s not only capable of but also willing to be a Man without interference by his Ego. I am talking about a man who’s such Soulful Spiritual Being that he – for most parts (he IS human after all…although sometimes I wonder…) – puts aside all things Egotistical for the Greater Good of Our Relationship, and for Me. Together we are on a Spiritual Journey, always learning and always growing – individually and together.

A fantastic loving and trustful relationship isn’t something that just happen though – it takes passion, compassion, a desire to (re)learn, genuine love and respect for one another, the ability to forgive and forget and probably most of all, honest and respectful COMMUNICATION.

1. Never bring up mistakes of the past. Stop criticizing others or it will come back on you. If you forgive others, you will be forgiven. – Luke 6:37

2. Neglect the whole world rather than each other. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process? – Mark 8:36

a08e6fb903730a630fc009511935c5973. Never go to sleep with an argument unsettled. And don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. – Ephesians 4:26

4. At least once a day, try to say something complimentary to your spouse. Gentle words bring life and health; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. – Proverbs 15:4

5. Never meet without an affectionate welcome. Kiss me again and  again, your love is sweeter than wine. – Song of Solomon 1:2

6. “For richer or poorer” – rejoice in every moment that God has given you together. A bowl of soup with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate. – Proverbs 15:17

7. If you have a choice between making yourself or your mate look good, choose your mate. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. – Proverbs 3:27

8. If they’re breathing, your mate will eventually offend you. Learn to forgive. I am warning you, if another believer sins, rebuke him; then if he repents, forgive him. Even if he wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, forgive him. – Luke 17:3,4

9. Don’t use faith, the Bible, or God as a hammer. God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it. – John 3:17

10. Let love be your guidepost. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Freedom from the Ego

finding-happiness-2480Some nights ago while doing a spiritual clearing and cleaning I stumbled upon some lessons with Craig Hamilton from a couple of years ago. shifting through the material I realized what treasure lies within his teachings as the guidance he shares so well is truly inspiringly . As a matter of fact, I find Craig Hamilton’s spiritual teachings to probably be some of the most “straight to the point”-spiritual teachings I know of, yet they are full of clarity. I want to share this article with you as I find it so well spoken about the Ego and how we by simple awareness can let our Ego be a part of our spiritual transformation instead of letting it pull us away – even temporarily – from our spiritual path. Read and reflect.

Many of us today are engaging in a tremendous amount of spiritual work on ourselves. We’re meditating, praying, attending workshops, seminars, and retreats. And yet the vast majority of us are making the same mistake. We tend to put far too much significance on the need to work out our personal psychological issues as part of our spiritual path. It’s important to recognize that this isn’t our fault. This tendency grew out of our psychotherapeutic culture which basically told us that we were all messed up by our childhood and that we have “inner wounds” that need to be healed in order to become happy and fulfilled as adults. And, as the great enlightenment teachings have been imported to the West, this psychotherapeutic worldview has gradually become superimposed onto the spiritual path.

The way this plays out practically is as follows: let’s say that I take up a spiritual practice in earnest, and I notice in the course of that practice that I’m deeply defended against life and intimacy. I won’t let other people see me. I always wear a social mask which actually hides a lot of insecurity. Well, upon discovering this, as a psychologically informed modern, my tendency is going to be to withdraw inward, to go back to my past, to start plumbing the depths of my psyche to try to find and uproot the personal causes of this fear and insecurity, and this tendency to hide myself from life.

But in an authentic spiritual context, we would point out that this “personal problem” you’ve discovered is in fact simply one of the basic, ordinarymanifestations of ego. And, rather than sending you on an endless and pointless archaeological dig into your psyche, we’d simply encourage you to face directly into the Truth of what you were seeing, to see the psychological tendency clearly, and the motivations that are driving it in the present. Most importantly, we’d encourage you to make direct effort in the opposite direction of your habitual response. So, in this example, when you see yourself preparing to put on a good face, we would encourage you to instead take the frightening leap to be transparent and vulnerable.

Upon reading this, many psychologically informed experts will protest, asserting that, if it were that easy to change, everyone would have already changed and there would be no need for . . . well, no need for psychotherapy . . . And this is a perfectly reasonable response from someone who has had no experience engaging in the kind of spiritual practice I’m describing. But what happens when we let go of this compulsion to work out our problems, and instead begin to directly engage in a path of active transformation like the one I encourage, is that we suddenly find that we have access to a part of our self that is already free from our ego’s limitations and issues. It’s a part of our self that was never wounded or traumatized, that doesn’t need to be healed, that is already whole and complete, and has access to boundless energy, creativity, and positivity, and is completely ready to participate in life fully,boldly, passionately, holding nothing back. And, in this, we feel instantly connected to the heart of the spiritual thrust behind the Kosmos.

Miraculously, what we find in doing this work is that when people awaken to and begin to act from this deeper, truer part of the self, then all of the psychological issues, blocks, wounds, complexes, and neuroses that would have taken years to work through suddenly seem to dissolve. Now, the truth is that they haven’t dissolved. They can still be reactivated if we step back into the perspective of the ego. But in light of this newfound, higher potential, and the profound sense of purpose and meaning that comes with it, we discover a powerful reason to no longer fall prey to our “issues.” Simply put, they are no longer interesting to us, and in that, they lose their power over our psyche. And that seems to make all the difference in the world. In this, we begin to discover the real meaning of freedom from the ego. And we learn that this freedom is not something we have to wait for. It can happen now if we’re willing to give our heart and soul to it.” – Craig Hamilton (Integral Enlightment)

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Life: Path to happiness

Many people, including myself from time to time, feel that as global citizens we are over-stimulated on so many levels. This over-stimulation has led us to a point where it at times seems that we have lost the ability to pursue one thing at the time, out of fear that we’ll somehow miss out on all the others. It also has led us to lose our connection with our inner voice. Sometimes to such a degree that we forget to saviour the blessings God has provided us with.

The silence of ones inner voice – or purpose, if you’d prefer – is without doubt one of the main reason that the people I’ve been working with have experienced some or many parts of their life as a struggle. A tough, many times seemingly never-ending, struggle for “something else” or “everything”, be it greater “success”, that promotion, a job,  another job, the perfect partner, more money, a house, a bigger house, a more expensive car or even two, preferably more material things or anything else that in one way or another provides a (false) sense of being “good enough” or “successful” – more admiration, or even better, envy from others. More, more and more stimulation or anything that can satisfy ones Ego in its search for validation, short-term gratification and external recognition. Mostly at any price.

Yet there’s still a feeling of not being good enough – a sense of emptiness – and/or a void within. A void that not even the deepest precious love from our nearest and dearest can fill. A void that seem be always present – hence the feeling of never-ending struggle. Lack of happiness. And as a “problem-solver”, instead of looking at their selves some individuals instead express themselves as victims. OthersimagesC even put blame on their loved one(s) for “not providing” that which they feels their loved one(s) in fact should be providing – the picture-perfect relationship and/or family – without acknowledging that it takes two to tango or simply understanding that two half individuals can not and should not become one whole. For some people this widely spread denial of ones own responsibility for ones own life, choices and happiness have caused them to stir up emotions, relationships and even families because they were “unhappy” and someone (else) should’ve fixed it. As humans we want and need to feel authentic, to contribute, to experience and to give more love, wanting to ‘do what I came here to do’ and yet instead of doing and becoming this with our loved one(s) close to us – embarking on the journey together – we go separate ways. And continue to look for that “perfect partner” and/or “new family” whom will “make” us happy…and the next one…

What we need to do is to stop moving forward like a run-away train and start looking inside of ourselves to ask ourselves some important questions. It is only by doing so we can take our first steps along the path of our true destiny and purpose – towards total happiness. One needs to connect with one’s heart and to honor one’s soul’s deepest yearnings and not just follow the “regular”, “normal” and socially accepted path and, by that, simply take what you get. And then you make your choices and take proper action – based on honest (to yourself), compassionate, loving and wise grounds.  It’s all worth it, which is something that many people whom already are happily engaged on their own fulfilling path – contributing to the lives of others, waking up each day happy to be alive and bursting with a sense of purpose and deep personal satisfaction – will vouch for. I’ve been blessed to follow many of my clients on their journeys, sometimes even from their momenmeditatingts of shifting gear into a new exiting path. It is truly a wonderful experience and blessing – every single time – when an individual come to discover that all his/hers answers are found within. Answers that simply might have been long-buried under feelings of self-doubt, confusion, over-thinking, other people’s expectations or perhaps even all the above.

So, how do you reach this inner knowledge? How to you truly get to know yourself and that which will bring you true happiness? This is where meditation steps in. For you, as for many others, meditation can be the key to discovering what you are “all about”.  your greater Purpose. Meditation, with a consistent repetition, is a wonderful “tool” of learning that surely can take you from where you are today to significant spiritual, emotional and intuitive growth. Meditation not only allows us to connect with our divine consciousness – and thereby gain access to wisdom that resides beyond the reach of our everyday consciousness – but it also provides for invaluable insights about oneself and the nature of ones own purpose.

By practising meditation – and prayer, if one wants to separate them (I read somewhere that what separates themImage1 is that “in prayer You are asking God the questions and in meditation He is providing you with the answers”) – we somehow can familiarise ourselves with our true nature and gain a deeper awareness of ourselves. Finding ourselves means learning to observe ourselves, our lives and the evidence they present to us about who, or what, we are. It does require though that we are transparent to ourselves, in other words that we are being honest, non-judgemental and loving towards ourselves regardless of what we “find”. And eventually, as you begin to master your spiritual growth and go along through this journey I am confident you’ll eventually find that you begin to practise the same approach to other people.

Meditation really is a path to greater self-awareness. And it’s simple. Listening is the key – and trusting, knowing and allowing are the doors it opens. Remember, it’s never ever too late to begin again and you’re never too old to start living your life on your own terms. We are all God’s children, just beginning to take our first tentative steps. And if you’ve been struggling be thankful that this struggle has led you to meditation because meditation will lead you to happiness.