L3: Listen to your Intuition

Excerpt from Limitless Loving Leadership (ISBN 978-1-300-65933-4, 92 pages, $12.99)

Our souls gently whisper to us all the time. The gentle, delicate nature of those whispers can lead us to overlook or misunderstand their meaning. When we don’t pay attention, the whispers become louder before turning into screams. They travel from a spiritual, to an intellectual, to a physical level.

When we don’t pay attention to our intuition, G-d may try to get our attention in more magnificent ways that integrate all aspects of our being.

A few months ago I was getting ready for work when all of a sudden I had a vision/idea of leaders as a beekeeper. I thought a little about the analogy and then put it out of my mind, to be explored later. That night, I went to a ‘Heroines of the Bible’ class at a local Chabad center and the person we studied that night was Devorah. Her name literally means “the bee.” She and her husband made candles to share the light of G-d with other people. Then she was appointed the first female judge of the Israelites. Her leadership brought peace back to the land and instilled feminine values.

A few months later, I participated in a writing residency. One evening I went for a long walk and went just a bit further down the road than previous days. A little over a mile away from the house where I stayed, at my turnaround point in front of a church, I came across a beagle. It was skinny and collarless. When I approached him, he backed up as if scared. I turned around to walk back to the house and the beagle followed me. Eventually, he walked ahead of me. When I got back to the house, my housemate opened up the gate and the beagle ran out! He saw me and kept going, down the driveway, then down the road. The housemate said that the beagle was sitting with her for a few minutes. It’s almost as if he was leading me somewhere, or wanted to make sure I got home safely.

I decided to take a walk the next day, walking a different route than normal. I was half way across a bridge over the Tye River when I realized that I had walked into a swarm of bees. I looked up and there were at least a hundred, maybe two hundred bees swirling about. I turned around to walk back the other way because I was afraid to walk through the bees. When I turned around, the beagle was standing at the end of the bridge.

I definitely took this as a sign that I should continue to work on this blog series, then conceptualized as a book, and that it will follow Devorah’s legacy. When I have doubts about the purpose or potential impact of my writing, which I often do, I think of this profound spiritual experience and feel comforted as well as motivated.

Now that you think I’m certifiably insane, let me share something else that will blow your mind. Our gastrointestinal systems contain more neurons as our spinal cords. It is sometimes called our ‘second brain.’ Thus, our ‘gut feelings’ are biologically rooted.

When you feel something in your gut, it is likely a sign that something is very right or very wrong. Trust and seek to understand your intuition, then act accordingly. Our intuition makes accumulated wisdom accessible to us in a highly efficient way. Take advantage of this wondrous opportunity.

L3: Keep an Open Mind and a Fluid Heart

Excerpt from Limitless Loving Leadership (ISBN 978-1-300-65933-4, 92 pages, $12.99)

You never know what might happen. Five years ago, I met a guy that I considered to be an asshole. He was a dynamic speaker, a passionate advocate for many of the things I also deeply care about, and had a certain magnetism about him – but he was still an asshole in my opinion. His obnoxious vocal intonation, suffocating ego, and ability to argue without relent offended my sensibilities.  Soon after, he edited an article that I wrote. While I enjoyed working with him in this capacity, my opinion remained intact.

Four years later, I received a friend request from him on a popular social networking site. Soon after the friend request came the getting together request.  I was surprised that he even remembered my name or who I was – and now he wanted to see me? I wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea, but busy girl that I am, I blew him off. He did not pursue the meeting and we sporadically kept in touch online.

A few months later, I found myself suddenly lusting after him – mostly but not exclusively intellectually. We went out for dinner and had a great time. Was what I really experienced through him a shaking of my soul?

I am the one who was an asshole. I was only able to see this friend one-dimensionally and my misinformed opinion was mostly based upon his public persona. I passed up an opportunity to strengthen a friendship because of my own biases and shortsightedness. I regret harboring unsavory feelings toward this remarkable man and denying his initial request to spend time with me.

Unexpected opportunities, relationships, and blessings are all around us at every moment. How many have you passed by today?

Imagine yourself to be an amoeba with a selectively-permeable cell membrane. As you move along your path, changing shape in response to the flow of life, allow good people and experiences to enter your heart and soul. Be open to new ideas that may add dimension, beauty, and fortitude to what you already know and believe. Generously share your time, ideas, and resources with others and be open to them returning the favor. Let go of preconceptions about who you are and who you ought to be; let life, along with its mysteries and miracles, unfold.

When we keep an open mind and fluid heart, there is a possibility that bad stuff will find its way in there too. We don’t always have the ability to distinguish between what is and is not in our best interest when we have insufficient information or rush to conclusions. We may be too trusting and allow others to abuse the boundaries of our relationships. Be proactive in detecting, countering, minimizing, and eliminating anything that seeks to maliciously infiltrate your precious life. When your heart and mind have been usurped by savage invaders, lovingly envision a realization of your initial intentions and keep working toward that goal despite the challenges.

You can prepare to bounce back from these betrayals by developing your capacity to practice resilience on an ongoing basis. Resilience is your mental, emotional, and physical ability to experience inner peace in the midst of chaos. This skill can be strengthened through meditation and reflection, by building supportive relationships, and with repeated exposure to increasingly complex life experiences.

The delights of love, romantic or otherwise, far outweigh the potential risk of being hurt, deceived, or abused. Be vigilant and make self-protective choices that filter and repel destructive relationships and experiences. Prepare to effectively deal with painful situations, but expect wonderful things to happen as a result of being open and flexible.