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Day 411: Connection and Leadership

Today I decided to apply the words ‘interaction’ and ‘connection’ – and these are words that I am not naturally inclined to live. What comes easy to me are words like structure, discipline and focus – words that I have mostly applied in work settings – and they are pretty far away from the soft expressions of interaction and connection – even though structure, discipline and focus can also enhance and deepen interaction and connection.

When I experimented with the word connection – I could see that it is an active movement within me to decide to relate and engage with whatever is here in my reality. Thus – it is not necessarily about connecting with human beings even though that is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of living connection. No – connection is more of a spiritual stance – a way of being. Let me give an example.

I was out in the greenhouse replanting my tomato plants. They outgrew their seedling pots and needed bigger containers to allow their roots to spread. I brought up the word ‘connection’ within me and looked at how I could apply it. And then I saw that I could engage with the tomatoes – feel them – sense them – and nourish them with the gentleness of my touch as I slowly removed the old pot and inserted the plants into their new home. And even though I was doing the same thing – replanting the tomatoes – I experienced it completely different – and remaining in that ‘connection’ also required an effort. It had to push myself to be aware, to stay connected, present, close to the plants – and unless I pushed myself – it was easy for me to lose my touch and become led astray inside my mind – by placing attention on meaningless thoughts – preoccupation to not remain centered here.

Since I started experimenting with living this word I have noticed within me a greater urge to share myself with others – it is as if I am opening up within me this relationship of giving and receiving that exists everywhere. I have realized that we all have something to give – we all have a point where we are meant to stand and share ourselves. And it is not a static point – it is a flexible and ongoing movement that depends on our context and on everyone else. When we are strong in a part of our lives – then it is our point to step in as leaders and share our insights and solutions and help finding and creating the way forward. We all have that drive make the entire group functional – to enhance the weakest among us to equalize – and to create a solid, equally empowered group, that can take on the challenges far more effectively than a single person.

This reminds me of documentary I recently saw about a horse whisperer. She explained that she had once asked a horse who was the leader in its pack. And for those that are not familiar with horses – among horse owners it is common knowledge that each pack has a hierarchy. However, the horse whisperer did not get the answer she suspected. The horse explained that the pack has no leader. Each pack member is part of a dynamic and flexible system where each member of the pack is assigned leader depending on the type of challenge that the pack is faced with. For example – the pack will have one individual that steps in when the pack is threatened by predators, perhaps, because that particular horse is the fastest, and strongest. And it will have one horse that steps in when the pack needs to find pasture, perhaps because that horse has the best sense of smell. And the competition between the horses that can be seen are only to establish which horse is suited for what positions in the pack.

And I found this perspective extremely interesting – a dynamic and flexible system of leadership – where basically – each situation is handled by the perfect leader. And it makes so much sense – why do we humans believe that is possible for one human to be a leader in every field? For example a president? He or she can hardly master each of the many, many fields and subjects that a modern society comprises. And still – that is how we do it. Another problematic aspect when it comes to humans and leadership is that we put a value on leadership – and think that the leader is more than his pack – a special individual. While in-fact – the leader is very much a product and a part of the pack – and indeed completely helpless without it. Thus – the leader serves the pack equally as the pack serves the leader. The problem with us humans is that we become addicted to the sense of power that being a leader gives us – and we miss the very point as to what it means to be a leader – namely – to share our strengths with the group and the empower the weakest to stand equal with the rest.

Staying connected to and in tune with others, and to the world, have opened up this point within me of understanding purpose, position and placement in the world more clearly – and what it means to give and receive – and what parts of myself that it is important that I share with the world. For example – with my tomato plants – I must stand as the custodian and caretaker – because they cannot do that for themselves – they are dependent upon me. And similar with the animals I have in my life – I have to be their support when it comes to food and housing. And then in my line of work – where I stand as the person that gives advice to people in pressured and difficult situations – I must be the clarity, the support, the stability and direction that these people for a moment need someone to take on. Thus – my position is a leader – my responsibility to give and to share shifts, changes, and alters depending on my environment – depending on what I and others are going through – it is not something static that can be forever locked in its current position – connection is fresh goods – it cannot become a memory because then it is not real.

I will continue exploring these words and see where they take me.


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