What wisdom is hidden in your own voice?

labyrinth starts hereWhen you stand at the very centre of the Carol Shield’s labyrinth, as I did yesterday evening, and speak out to the edges, you will hear your own voice echoed ever so slightly back to you. You have to listen very carefully to hear it and you have to be standing in exactly the right spot or the echo evades you.

In labyrinthian journeys, the centre is known as the place where you open yourself to receiving from Spirit, after walking in and releasing what was previously getting in the way.

Which begs the question… what am I meant to receive from the echo of my own voice? What wisdom is already hidden in me that I might not yet be aware of?

Yesterday in church the pastor spoke about giftedness – how we need only be faithful with our gifts in order for them to multiply. At the centre of the labyrinth, I thought about that in relation to my voice. It’s a gift that already exists, coming out of a wisdom that God has already planted within me, and I don’t need to keep looking elsewhere for my source of inspiration.

Faithfulness to our gifts means that we must exercise them, train them, and grow them. Practice and study are both very important, but what’s also important is a deep level of trust in the gift itself.

In our eagerness to perfect the gift, and our insecurity about using it before it is sufficiently polished, we forget about the ancient wisdom already there. We forget that the unpolished gift already has beauty.

When I was a child, I had a growing realization that I had a unique ability to see things – to really see them in a deeper way than most people did. When I would try to explain things that I’d seen to other people, I knew by their lack of understanding that they’d never witnessed them in the same way that I did.

These were fairly ordinary things, but for me they had an aura of magic. For example, I was always captivated by the image of deer leaping over fences. That sight would freeze me in my tracks and I was stand in awe at the magic I had just witnessed. When I would try to explain how that sight impacted me, people would usually look at me with a puzzled look and I knew that they’d only ever seen deer leaping over fences as ordinary and not transcendent.

I stopped talking about things that seemed mystical to me. It made me feel too much like an oddball. Now, years later, I recognize that ability to see things as a part of the ancient wisdom buried in me. I am a meaning-maker, a storycatcher, a seer… perhaps even a mystic. I see metaphor and meaning in things that pass many people by. I receive messages from deer or trees or sunsets and I walk away changed. It’s still not always easy to talk about (as I mentioned in my last post), but I am growing in my ability to trust it.

In The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, Richard Rohr talks about the three ways to see a sunset…

One man saw the immense physical beauty and enjoyed the event in itself. This man was the “sensate” type who, like 80 percent of the world, deals with what he can see, feel, touch, move, and fix. This was enough reality for him, for he had little interest in larger ideas, intuitions, or the grand scheme of things. He saw with his first eye, which was good.

A second man saw the sunset. He enjoyed all the beauty that the first man did. Like all lovers of coherent thought, technology, and science, he also enjoyed his power to make sense of the universe and explain what he discovered. He thought about the cyclical rotations of planets and stars. Through imagination, intuition, and reason, he saw with his second eye, which was even better.

The third man saw the sunset, knowing and enjoying all that the first and the second men did. But in his ability to progress from seeing to explaining to “tasting,” he also remained in awe before an underlying mystery, coherence, and spaciousness that connected him with everything else. He used his third eye, which is the full goal of all seeing and all knowing. This was the best.

The third man, who sees with his third eye, is a mystic. As soon as I read Rohr’s description of what it means to be a mystic, I knew that this had something to do with the way that I’d always seen the world. The seeds of mysticism were already there when I stood in awe of deer leaping over fences.

I have read a thousand books, taken a thousand classes, and yet none of them can teach me to access the ancient wisdom – the wisdom of the seer – that is already within me. None of them can point to the gift that is meant for me to share. For that I must quiet all of the external voices, remove myself from the noise of my life and walk a labyrinth or wander the woods. That is when my own voice is echoed back at me and I know that I already have what I need.

What is the ancient wisdom buried in you? It may be body wisdom, heart wisdom, or head wisdom. It may be the ability to see justice, create order, experience beauty, shape stories, make people laugh, or offer compassion. What did you already know as a child, but might have been afraid to speak of or do or be because it made you seem like an oddball? What do you now need to do to create space for that wisdom to emerge?

To start with, find a quiet place where your wisdom can echo back to you through the silence. Walk away from the noise of other people’s voices and expectations and stand in silence with your God. In that quiet place, let your gift emerge from its hiding place, let it fill your heart with knowing, and give yourself permission to trust it. Then, by all means, practice, train, and polish it, but don’t forget to use it in the meantime. It already has value.

The gift is yours – be faithful in using it and it will multiply.

Coming out Spiritual

honest life

I am spiritual. That’s no surprise to you if you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time.

But it might be a surprise to you that I haven’t always been comfortable being “out” about my spirituality.

For starters, I was raised in a fairly conservative evangelical Mennonite family where faith was fairly black and white and you didn’t walk labyrinths, make prayer flags, take Buddhist meditation classes, pray to the Divine Feminine, embrace other faith perspectives, or talk about the way God speaks through a deer or a tree.

When I started exploring those things, I was afraid of rejection, and so I kept most of my exploration secret. There was a little too much fear of going to hell if you “worshipped false gods” in those circles, and that fear lingered deep in my own psyche long after I thought I’d dealt with it. I still don’t talk about it very much in some circles, and to be honest, I’m still excavating some of my rejection and fear stories around that. (I still consider myself a Christ-follower, by the way, but my understanding of what that means has shifted dramatically.)

For another thing, I spent a lot of years in the corporate world where any talk of spirituality was strictly taboo. Though I sometimes thought that my staff or the management teams I was on might be better off if we brought mindfulness and more spiritual openness into what we did, I wasn’t confident enough in my own exploration yet to introduce it. Again, it was mostly fear of rejection that kept me silent.

When I quit my job and started my own business, I started out as a split personality, still trying to keep my spirituality mostly in the closet. I had two websites – one was the polished, corporate-looking one I showed potential clients and students in my university classes, and the other was the blog where I explored the things that mattered most to me, including spirituality. Every time someone from the corporate/university world found the blog, I cringed a little, worried that they would no longer take me seriously as a consultant or teacher. There is, after all, an assumption in our culture that being spiritual means that you’re less intellectual and probably a little weaker than others.

About a year and a half ago, I started to realize that maintaining these two public faces was creating angst for me and making me feel disingenuous. After a couple of failed consulting gigs, I realized that I really didn’t want to work with clients who wouldn’t be comfortable with my spirituality. After trying to be something in the classroom I really wasn’t, I realized that my best teaching happened when I was authentically me.

And so I came out. I combined my blog with my website, integrated my spirituality into my consulting/facilitation/teaching work, and got used to stepping into a classroom where students and administration might think me a little “flakey or too woo-woo”.

I can’t tell you that it magically brought me all of the “right” kinds of clients (it’s still a gradual process), but I can tell you that things started to shift. In the very first class I taught after deciding to be more open and sharing my blog with students, I had four students approach me individually, interested in coming to me for coaching because they were looking for something deeper than they could receive in a classroom. And I started to get invitations to do amazing work that fits me perfectly, like the week long artists’ retreat I facilitated last week in Saskatchewan.

Yes, my work has shifted, and I’m sure a few corporate clients have been turned away by language that feels uncomfortable for them, but that’s okay.

More and more, my work is a true expression of who I am, not just the skills I can offer. More and more, I am bringing the full basket of my gifts and wisdom into what I offer.

And the right people are showing up. Almost all of my coaching clients, for example, share stories of how they too are trying to live more authentically and more boldly in a world that expects them to be more “corporate, straight, conventional, unemotional, etc.” They show up with their own fear of rejection stories and I can truly say “I see you.” And in the last six months, I’ve had the opportunity to host half a dozen retreat/workshops that are all about connecting on a deeper, more spiritual way. Again, I am more prepared to host them because I have been on my own journey to this deeper, more authentic place.

Another interesting thing has happened. Some of the people whose rejection I feared are coming forward and saying “Your work resonates with me. I’m curious about labyrinths/mandalas/etc. Can you tell me more?” My own “coming out” is encouraging others to be more honest about their own questions and exploration.

What about you? Do you sometimes feel like a fraud because you’re hiding the titles of the books you read from your colleagues at work? Do you take meditation classes in secret because you don’t want your family to know? Do you furtively read blog posts that make your heart sing, but you’re quite sure nobody in your world would understand? Do you feel like one of my clients, who said she is “kind of a weirdo, but in a good way”? Have you despaired of finding a circle of people like you who have questions that most people think are too “out there”?

You will need to find your own path through this, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are more of us spiritual seekers out here in this big world than you might imagine. Trust me – when I started being more open about my quest, I started connecting with a lot of amazing people who, like me, want to dive into meaningful conversations that go far beyond small talk, straight to the heart.

Here are a few thoughts on how you can begin to move into a more integrated, authentic life:

  • Start small. Find at least one person who feels like a safe space to talk about your quest. This might be someone you already know and trust, someone at a yoga class, or a coach like me. Before you start the conversation, though, be sure that the person you’re talking to can respond in a non-judgemental way. If you face judgement in your very first conversation, your authentic you will run further into hiding.
  • Find a place where you can be true to yourself. This might be your journal, a secret place in the woods, your favourite coffee shop or bookstore, or your art studio. In that space, commit to being totally honest with yourself about who you are and what you seek in the world. Read the books you want to read, write the truth that longs to be said, and dare to stand in awe of an eagle that seems to have a message just for you.
  • Find a practice that connects you with your spiritual Self. There are many options – yoga, dance, meditation, walking, running, painting, mandala-making, etc. Do something that brings you peace and leaves you feeling connected to that authentic part of you that’s been buried under other people’s expectations.
  • Practice truthfulness one tiny step at a time. If you are feeling inauthentic at work, find a least one co-worker whom you trust who won’t laugh at you when you admit to going on a meditation retreat. If that feels safe, take another step. You may be surprised to find other secret questers longing for the same conversation.
  • Consider your priorities. If your steps to being more authentic at work feel unsafe or leave you feeling judged, consider how important it is to stay there. Is it time to walk away? Are you living a lie if you stay there?
  • Recognize that some people will never “get it” and that’s okay. Some people might suggest that you should walk away from anyone who rejects your version of a spiritual quest, but life is far more complex than that. If a family member, for example, doesn’t understand it, then find other topics to talk about in their presence. You don’t need to lie to them, but you also don’t need to reveal your deepest heart to everyone in your life.
  • Find community where you feel safe. With the internet making long distance relationships more and more accessible, it has become easier and easier to find circles where you can talk about your questions and spiritual quest. I wouldn’t say that virtual circles replace in-person relationships, but it’s at least a place to start. For example, many of the people who sign up for Lead with Your Wild Heart say that one of the best things about the program is the fact that they no longer feel alone in their quest for authenticity.
  • Read a book or two that helps you understand your own quest. A few recommendations: Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life, The Seeker’s Guide: Making your Life a Spiritual Adventure, and What We Talk About When We Talk About God.

In all that you do, remember this – this journey is a long one. You don’t get to authentic overnight. It took me many years to realize some of the places I was living a divided life, and I know that there are still more realizations to come.

Take the journey one step at a time, and find companions along the way.

Out of exile

I make mandalas, write in my journal, paint, do a bit of yoga, and sometimes meditate. All of these things ground and centre me, but my primary spiritual practice is walking in the woods.

path in the woodsI feel closer to God when I’m in the woods than anywhere else I can think of. Yes, God shows up anywhere (and one of my most meaningful God-experiences was during a three week hospital confinement when I lost my son Matthew), but I have the easiest time quieting my mind and opening my heart when I surround myself with the stillness and beauty that the woods offer me. Add to that the body engagement of walking, and I feel like I’m Eve in the Garden of Eden, walking with God at my side.

For three weeks now, I feel like I’ve been banished from the Garden. This broken foot means that I can’t walk and I can’t even drive myself to a place where I can sit at the edge of the woods.

It’s been agonizing. I know it sounds like an over-dramatization, and I know that there are people in the world with much bigger problems than mine, but it’s been really, really hard. Harder than I would have imagined. I am just not good at sitting still.

It’s been especially hard because all of this long hard winter, while I watched my Mom die and my husband come near to death with a heart attack, I kept telling myself “at least it will be Spring soon and I will be able to find some healing in the woods. I will sit on my familiar stone bench and pour out my grief to the birch trees. I will stand on the riverbank and the Dancing Goddess Tree will offer her strength. I will follow the deer into the woods and they will whisper ‘everything is going to be alright’.”

When I first heard the doctor say “broken”, my thought was “does God hate me? WHY?! Why does another shitty thing have to happen just when I felt like I was on the road to healing?”

And then for the next three weeks, I wallowed in the misery of my exile. I tried to turn to my other spiritual practices – I made one pathetic mandala, I wrote a page or two in my journal, and I got halfway through a collage – but nothing worked. Everything just served to make me feel more restless than before. God felt a million miles away, and my wild heart felt frantic, like a caged animal.

On Thursday, the doctor finally said I was free of crutches and could walk reasonable distances on my boot. On Sunday I practically begged my husband, “please drive me to the gate at Henteleff Park, drop me off, and I’ll text you when I’m ready to come home.”

The park gate felt like the door to my cage. Not too many steps down the path and I felt like I had finally come back home. Out of Exile. Back to the Garden of Eden. Back to a place where God walked with me.

stone bench 2I limped as far as my favourite stone bench in the middle of the birch trees, and I laid down on my back, staring up at the fluttering leaves. The breeze on my face was God’s kiss. The birds sang God’s love song. “Welcome back to the Garden,” they sang. I started to cry.

I don’t know if there is a “why” for the breaking of the foot. I don’t really believe that “everything happens for a reason and that the universe conspired to break my foot to teach me an important lesson.” I can’t get my head around that kind of fatalism. I do, however, believe that we are meant to work our way through difficult times and then find meaning in the darkness that helps us better understand and appreciate the light. For me, at that moment, lying on my back on a stone bench, feeling like a refugee who’d returned home after a time in exile, I found some profound meaning that was much bigger than a three week period of restlessness.

More than simply a moment in the woods, it suddenly became for me a metaphor for my life. Since that three week period in the hospital more than a dozen years ago, when God showed up in a series of strange and mystical encounters (and during which time I eventually lost my son Matthew), I have been working my way back from exile. In the hospital, after a night of wrestling with God, I woke up to how far away from my authentic Self – my wild heart – I’d become. Like the last three weeks of my life when I couldn’t walk in the woods, I’d been living like a caged tiger, exiled from my home in the wilderness.

There was a void in my life, and I knew it, but instead of trying to break free of the cage by seeking out spiritual practices  and meaningful work, I was attempting to fill it with money, a prestigious career, material possessions, food, etc. In the hospital, when all of those things were suddenly unavailable to me, I finally recognized the futility of my search. I suddenly knew that to fill the void, I would need to find the path back to my own wild heart, back to Spirit, and back to a more authentic life. Right then and there, in the hospital waiting for my son to make his appearance, I started that journey and have been on the path (with a few detours now and then) ever since.

A few years ago, when I was beginning to understand the meaning of all that, I read the following quote from Peter Block and knew instantly that he was talking about me.

“Leadership is about rearranging the chairs, getting the questions right, putting citizens in front of each other and then knowing what’s worth focusing on. The leadership I’m longing for is the leadership that says my number one job is to bring people together out of exile, out of isolation, and into connection.” – Peter Block

My experience in the hospital and in the years following, in which I gradually returned from exile by quitting my government job, traveling the world working for the cause of justice in non-profit work, and then quitting that job to teach, write, and host conversations, have been preparing me for the work of bringing people together “out of exile, out of isolation, and into connection.”

Coming out of exile means a returning to that which is authentic in all of us. It’s about living wholeheartedly, in tune with each other and the earth. It’s about being in community and extending love and compassion to each other and to ourselves. It requires of us that we turn away from the destructive, disconnected, disenfranchised lives of independence, competition, and over-consumption. It’s a return to simplicity, a return to our hearts, a return to our bodies, a return to each other, and a return to the wild.

This is the work I do now, and this is what I invite you to in my coaching, writing, teaching, and workshops – a return from exile. I know what it’s like to feel trapped and separated from the one thing that will make you feel whole. I know what it’s like to long for a more authentic way of living. I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve gone so far from home you can never return.

I also know what it’s like to return to the wild and finally feel alive again.

If you’re ready to come back from exile, let me help you. After a busy few months, I am finally accepting new coaching clients. Perhaps you’ll be one of them? Contact me and we can start with an exploratory conversation.

And if you want to be in that circle of chairs that Peter Block talks about, learning more about the kind of leadership that brings people out of exile, join me and my colleagues at a one-day Art of Hosting workshop.

p.s. For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on a memoir about how my time with Matthew changed my life. In recent months, I’ve been stuck, knowing that something was missing. Laying on the bench in the park on Sunday, I think I finally found the thread that will tie the book together.

On leaning in and leaning out and walking out and walking on

M & SI’m a statistic. I’m one of the women Sheryl Sandburg and others talk about who don’t, in their opinion, help the cause of feminism. I made it all the way to the glass ceiling, peered through the cracks, decided I didn’t like what I saw, and walked out. I’m a “walk out who walked on.”

There’s a pretty good chance I would have made it through that glass ceiling if I’d “leaned in” long enough. I had all of the credentials and was an ambitious up-and-comer at the time. I took the fast track through the ranks of the public service, had the title “director” added to my name, got the office right next to the corner office, and was making more money than I’d ever dreamed I could.

On top of the career, I had a good feminist husband who carried his share of the household and parenting responsibilities, a couple of beautiful daughters, a house in the suburbs, a minivan, a trailer at the lake, and a boat. You could say I had it all – the feminist’s dream.

And now? I still have the husband and daughters (with an extra one since those days), but I no longer have the trailer at the lake, the boat, the comfortable paycheck or the title of “director” attached to my name. Instead, I have a tiny office in my basement without a window and a fledgling career as a teacher, coach, facilitator and writer.

Some might call me a failed feminist. I let go of the dream that my foremothers fought for. I quit the corporate climb on the wrong side of the glass ceiling. Instead I now spend a good portion of my days creating mandalas with Sharpie markers, hosting story circles, and inviting retreat participants to stitch together quilt squares – not exactly the things a traditional feminist would take pride in.

Why did I walk away from the corporate career and the frequent flyer points in favour of Sharpie markers, quilt squares, and women’s retreats?

There are a few reasons.

  1. At the height of my career, I had a stillborn son whose presence in my life reminded me that my priorities are not wealth, work, or prestige but rather family, community, and space for spirituality.
  2. I wanted to find happiness. I knew that the corner office wasn’t my path to happiness.
  3. I became convinced that it’s time for feminism to grow into something new, and I was pretty sure that I could serve a greater role in helping to birth the new wave of feminism from outside a corporate structure.

It’s that last point that I want to talk about in this article. Instead of a “failed feminist”, I like to think of myself as an “emergent feminist”.

It’s time, I believe, for women to change the world.  That won’t happen simply by getting into CEO positions and taking more seats at the boardroom tables. Women will change the world only if we CHANGE LEADERSHIP.

When I was in formal leadership, on my way to the top, I thrived because I learned to think like a man. I listened to the voices of mentors who told me that “feelings have nothing to do with leadership and you should leave them out of the boardroom”, I shut down my intuition in favour of logic, I left my spirituality and much of my creativity at home, I was careful not to be too wild or passionate, and I even started to believe what I was told once that “relationships get in the way of good programming.”

By the time I broke away from formal leadership to start my own business, ten years after being named a director, I was almost completely burnt out from living in a way that was not authentic to me. I returned to the things that made me feel alive – spiritual practices, art-making, wandering in the woods, and relationships – and when I did I realized that THESE THINGS were exactly what had been missing in my leadership practice. More importantly, they weren’t just absent from my own journey, they were missing from leadership in general.

Instead of leaving them at home, I should have clung to them and brought them into my work. Instead of shutting down my feelings and encouraging my staff to do the same, I should have invited them to bring their vulnerability into conversation circles. Instead of creating strategic plans that rarely evoke any imagination, I should have drawn mandalas that wake up the right brain and invite it to the table. Instead of sitting around energy-killing boardroom tables, I should have held staff retreats in the middle of the woods.

For far too long, we’ve accepted a masculine-dominated leadership paradigm in our government offices, our businesses and even our non-profits that is no longer serving us. As Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze say in Walk Out Walk On, we’ve been relying on the leader-as-hero model, when what we really need now is the leader-as-host. In the words of Tina Turner, “we don’t need another hero”. We need people who can lead from a place in the circle, people who can help heal the brokenness in the world, people who help us feel connected again, and people who can remind us of the importance of our relationship with the earth.

“Leadership is about rearranging the chairs, getting the questions right, putting citizens in front of each other and then knowing what’s worth focusing on. The leadership I’m longing for is the leadership that says my number one job is to bring people together, out of exile, out of isolation, and into connection.” – Peter Block

All around us, we see signs of how disconnected we have become – over-consumption of our resources, terrorist attacks, climate change, extreme poverty, etc. These are the stories of a disconnected human race and this disconnection has been fueled by competitive, hierarchical, power-driven leadership that has been allowed to run un-checked.

If the new wave of feminism has a role to play in the world it is not about pushing harder for the corner office, but about bringing us back to a place of connection. Instead of fighting for the top jobs, the power and the prestige, we should be urging our leaders to bring us out of exile and back to community, back to spirituality, back to earth stewardship, and back to ourselves.

Instead of simply fighting to gain entry into the halls of power, we should be working to change the furniture in those halls. It’s time to move the chairs into a circle and open the windows to the world. It’s time to air out the corner office and replace it with conversation spaces. It’s time to replace competitiveness with collaboration, and hierarchy with community.

This is why I decided to walk out and walk on… my role in the world is no longer to fight for power, it’s to help us figure out how to balance power with love. Instead of standing in front of people, I’m sitting beside them and creating space for conversations. Instead of thinking like a man, I’m inviting men to think more like women.

I don’t want the corner office, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to see a woman there. I will always fight for her right to be there, and when she gets there, I’ll be standing beside her, helping her to take down the walls of her corner office and invite people in. I will urge her to see the world through balanced eyes, honouring both the feminine and the masculine in the world, and creating space for us all to have meaningful conversations that lead the world into the transformation it needs.

I’m now leading from a place in the circle so that I can help other women (and men) learn to do the same. When we’ve gathered into that circle, we can all lean in and listen to each other.

If you’re looking for a new way of defining leadership, join me on a free call on Re-imagining Leadership for our Time on May 1 at 2 pm. Central.

The promise I made to myself

18 - ring

Three and a half years ago, I brought myself a promise ring.

I was visiting Banff at the time, after a business-related road trip through Western Canada. Visiting Banff always brings up mixed emotions for me. I love the beauty of the place, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, but it holds a sad story from my past. I lived there the summer I turned 19, and it wasn’t a particularly happy summer. I was in that “trying to decide whether to stay safe in life or to take more chances and risk getting hurt” phase of early adulthood. Sadly, I let the things that happened to me that summer convince me that safe was a better option. I gave up the plans I’d had to change schools and move to another province and I went back home to nurse my wounds and play it safe.

One of the places that always brings up deep longing for me is the Banff Centre. When I lived there, my roommates and I sometimes went to watch visiting performers, and each time I went, I’d think “oh, if only I were talented enough to spend time at a place like this!”

When I visited three and a half years ago, I drove past the Centre and started to cry. I cried for the young woman I was more than twenty years earlier who believed she wasn’t talented or worthy. I cried for the hurts that young woman had already suffered and had yet to suffer. I cried for the long journey I’ve had since then, learning to trust both my worthiness and my longings, and learning to be both resilient and courageous through the hard times.

When I drove back into town after visiting the Centre and the resort where I spent the summer cleaning other people’s mess out of hotel rooms, I wandered through the downtown and dropped in at a jewellery store. In a flash of inspiration, I bought myself a promise ring with a blue chalcedony stone.  (I later learned that the chalcedony speaks of spirit and trust and is known as the Speaker’s Stone, the stone of one who must measure his words. It encourages reflection and meditation, its gentle radiance preparing us for action but helping to hold back words we might regret. The great Roman orator, Cicero, is said to have worn one around his neck.)

Later that day, I sat in a cafe with my journal and wrote the following promise to myself:

I promise:
– I will take more chances.
– I will believe that I am an artist.
– I will trust my ability.
– I will look for opportunities to paint and make art as often as I can.
– I will sign up for another class or workshop that stretches me.
– I will honour the muse.

I couldn’t go back and make those promises for my 19 year old self, but it wasn’t too late to make them for my 40+ self.

Last week, in the last lesson for Lead with Your Wild Heart, I invited participants to make a commitment to themselves and to honour it with some kind of gift, like a ring. That tweaked my memory and I went back to find the original post I wrote about the promise ring I’d bought for myself. I started crying all over again – not because I was sad anymore for my 19 year old self, but because I am delighted for my 46 year old self that I can honestly say that I have kept my promise to myself.

I have done just what I said I’d do. I took more chances (quit my job and started a business), started making more art and taking art classes, I’ve been honouring the muse, and trusting my own ability.

Nothing to date has felt so much like an honouring of that promise as the creation of Lead with Your Wild Heart. Nothing has felt so much like it is emerging out of my most authentic, most beautiful, most Spirit-guided self.

I’ve just opened registration for the second offering of Lead with Your Wild Heart, and I can say that I am thrilled beyond expectation with how beautifully it has turned out. This has been an exercise in trusting my own wild heart, and I know that it will serve as a gift to all those who take it into their own wild hearts.

And now… can I tell you a little secret? I’m dreaming of taking some version of Lead with Your Wild Heart to the Banff Centre for Leadership Development. I don’t know yet how to make that happen, but I’m sharing the dream in hopes that will help me get closer to it.

I’m trusting my wild heart and seeing where it leads.

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