Leading from the head

Most of us are raised in societies that value the head over the heart, and so we place our head above our heart systematically when responding to our desires and needs. Our body vehemently disagrees and once in a while it steps in and gets in the way. It is usually a loud scream: STOP! Yet again we may listen and respond from the neck up, leaving our body with little or no say in the matter.

I long tried to understand how I got hit by a car; what had I done or not done that my body felt the urge to scream; and why was I feeling so grateful after this accident? My head was telling me that I was so lucky to be alive. It was going on telling myself how this had nothing to do with me; I was a pedestrian crossing where I was expected to, but the driver did not see me. Simple: he was at fault.

My heart, however, was whispering something else. I had become invisible. Even worse, I contributed to my own disappearance.

I understood how my head had kept me going, albeit feeling “stuck” in life, devising ways to cope, going around obstacles, creating circumstances preventing me from getting what I truly wanted, simply to fit in, shying away from rocking the boat, putting the needs of others first, finding excuses in my circumstances for fear of having to face my own inability to claim my success, confront others, and become visible again. I had organized to get in my own way, to dim my own light for the sake of others or simply for fear.

I realized that it takes real leadership – personal leadership – to find out. It takes leadership to want to investigate, to put yourself first, and to listen to that little voice, preferably before it becomes a scream from the heart.

When we start listening with our heart before our head, everything changes. Our brain has certainly kept us alive and ensured our survival on the planet, but it is our heart that will show us the way to well-being and thriving.

The driver had not seen me… I had become invisible. Leading from the heart rather than the head, with less thinking and more feeling, I came to a very different conclusion as to what had to be done.

As Marianne Williamson once wrote: “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Getting in the way of our own success

When we find ourselves blocked, unable to reach our goals, facing constant obstacles, we feel “stuck” and usually blame life or others. We essentially focus on circumstances outside of ourselves to explain our own failures, our obstacles, our negative outlook and despair. Do you know that often we are the ones getting in our own way of success?

Amazingly enough, we can get in our way without even noticing, let alone understanding why we are doing it.

I experienced a difficult year in 2016, and seemingly chose to end it in hospital. I was hit by a car on New Year’s Eve as I was crossing the street at a pedestrian crossing on my way to celebrating New Year. I now realize how difficult it is to notice what is happening to us when we get caught up in the whirlwind of our lives, losing sight of the direction things are taking without our own awareness.

Of course I heard ”bad luck,” “crazy driver,” “poor woman” as I was lying with broken bones, an unrecognizable face, waiting in emergency at the hospital for an operating room to free up for immediate surgery. Morphine kept it all in semi-consciousness, but I could already sense a blessing in disguise. I couldn’t shake a feeling of gratefulness, and not only because I was still alive.

When our lives are filled with challenges, constant personal growth and we “barrel” down… we may need to be reminded of the need to be gentle with ourselves, to slow down, and stop dimming our light to cope with darkness. I know the time had come for me to take care of myself, the needs of my body, and honour myself. Keeping my energy to myself, rather than shading light onto others, was going to create the space for a more positive, loving, and accepting view of my life to eventually replenish.

Unable to use my right arm, I could no longer write; I could no longer work. I stayed home for months forced to do nothing but think and dream, and live a very limited life. What a blessing! I learned to receive rather than do. I allowed others to help and got to appreciate the joy of friends allowed to make a significant difference into my life. How many times had I stopped others from helping me in the past? How often had I allowed myself to receive freely from life?

I was given the opportunity to stay away from my usual circumstances, from my work environment – which I so often considered to be the very reason I was “stuck”- to actually take a look inside myself. It is truly amazing how often we get in the way of our own success, and there are many reasons why we organize for our own failures. We may indeed approach our own goals in a way that keeps creating the same unsuccessful results.

Should you feel that you have been standing in your own way, as I have, you may want to take a piece of paper and investigate how you have done so and why. Let us compare notes in my next blog.