Take up space … please

We cannot change the way the world is, but by opening to the world as it is we may discover that gentleness, decency and bravery are available, not only to us, but to all human beings**.

(**I would say “to all beings.” We are interdependent and interwoven…we cannot leave wild nature out of the equation anymore.)

Chogyam Trungpa, Buddhist teacher

I’m slowly reading – or maybe experiencing is a better word –  Margaret J. Wheatley’s book Who Do We Choose To Be?  It’s one of those books that offers unglazed reality so wisely, with such compassion, that I cannot rush through, nor can I stop. I keep going back to read bits over and let them sink deeper into my body.

The words are jiggling loose unconscious assumptions – holding up uncomfortable truth with such clarity I find myself drawing closer, rather than turning away.

Her subtitle really gets to the heart of what she explores in this work, “Facing Reality. Claiming Leadership. Restoring Sanity.”

The world has been feeling like a pretty intense and insane place lately.

That’s why I’m asking … encouraging … imploring you, body-wise, highly sensitive, multipotentialed folks to take up space.

Let me explain…

The more intense the world feels, the more likely we are to retreat – anemone-like – into ourselves. Staying present feels hard. Taking up more space than usual – harder. It seems to be the opposite of what feels safe and looks sensible.

Yet, our ability to sense underlying emotions, to observe and absorb information others are not seeing, to deeply process and integrate all that input and see long-range possible outcomes not obvious to 80% of the world — that’s the role we play for our species. That’s what we’re wired to do.

So especially now, when western cultures are locked into extremes of behavior and beliefs, retreating into lizard-brained survival mode, now is when our trait is deeply needed. When our leadership is deeply needed.

Taking up space becomes both revolutionary and evolutionary. Literally evolutionary, in the biologic sense.

Janine Benyus said, “Life creates circumstances conducive to life.” Ecosystems – and human communities are absolutely ecosystems – respond to threats to life by evolving new resiliency strategies…by foregrounding the members who enhance life-affirming acts. When we take up space, we’re creating circumstances conducive to life.

We love, we empathize, we feel what’s happening to our communities in our marrow. AND…we are uniquely qualified to midwife small, local changes that will make a difference.

We do it every day when we use the gift of our differentness in our practices, easing people who are suffering.

So much is possible if we consciously and wisely choose how best to step forward as leaders for this time.

Margaret J. Wheatley

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