One of the many gifts of my travel and work is getting to witness the creative human spirit in a multitude of expressions. I’m now in Europe for 3 ½ weeks, teaching in the Netherlands and Poland. We just completed the Transformational Presence Leadership in Action course (TPLA) in Poland. There were 21 of us altogether from six countries: Poland, India, Australia, Netherlands, the U.S., and Canada. Now I’m back in the Netherlands to lead Transformational Presence for Leaders and Coaches (TPLC) – 20 of us from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Finland, the U.S., and Canada. Some of the participants have been with us in courses before; others are joining us for the first time.
As I get to know these incredible people, I am deeply touched by their radiant hearts and their enormous commitment to bringing their gifts to the world. Many of them come because they are feeling called to take big steps forward – to make significant shifts within themselves and the world around them – to follow their hearts into more expanded levels of service and making a difference.
For each of them, there is a pull inside that won’t let go, and they can’t ignore it any longer. Some of them speak with a sense of urgency, while others seem rooted in a deep place of peace and commitment. A few of them seem to be acting from both.
Last week, I wrote about the deep inner resistance that can keep us from taking the next big steps that we know are right for us. Many of our participants acknowledge that deep inner resistance within themselves. Yet they are stepping up and stepping out anyway. They know deep inside that the time is now. As scary as it may be, they are going for it. They are following the callings of their hearts.
Being with these inspiring people takes me back to John O’Donohue’s poem, “For a New Beginning.” It’s the last four lines of the poem that always grab me. Yet the words leading up to those last four lines beautifully express the gradual unfolding within us that ultimately leads to our own stepping up and stepping out.
For a New Beginning
by John O’Donohue
(from To Bless the Space Between Us)
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening:
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For the soul senses the world that awaits you.
The heart may wait patiently for a while for us to get ready to take our next big step. Yet there can be a limit to its patience! The heart has it’s own sense of urgency. When it senses that we are holding back, yet the moment has come for action, it can catapult us forward. There have been times in my own experience when it felt as if I no longer had any say in the matter. My heart had unexpectedly sparked a powerful momentum, and there was no turning back.
Ironically, those have also been the times when I have experienced ease in risk, to use O’Donohue’s words. In fact, I’m in one of those times right now. Things are moving fast, and I’m being swept up and carried. I’m finding home in a new rhythm. I only have a vague sense of what is waiting for me, yet I can’t not go find out what that is. The call is too compelling to ignore. There is no turning back. And deep inside, it actually feels OK.
So how about you? What’s the calling in your heart? What is asking you to step up and step out?
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