Around the year 2007, I was in the French Pyrenees mountains with a team of guides, mentors, consultants, and leaders. We were there preparing a group of global business leaders from one of the big international corporations to go out on an overnight solo in nature on something called a sacred passage or a vision quest.
When I arrived at our hotel, I only had a short amount of time to unpack and get ready for our first gathering that evening. I was thrilled about being a part of this leadership journey program, and my mind was going a thousand miles a minute with the anticipation of what the next few days would entail. I squared off the unpacking, and off I went.
And true to the program promise, the participants had life-altering experiences as they faced themselves and nature for 24 hours, alone, high up on a mountaintop with no other humans in sight. Some reported experiencing boredom, others overwhelm and anxiety, even pure fear. Still, others tapped into feelings of joy, while some dropped into a peaceful place within themselves that was somewhat foreign to them. And then some experienced all of that and more. Many remarked after coming down from the mountain that the experience reminded them of when they were little kids, curious, playful, and willing to explore the unknown. It brought them back home to themselves in ways that surprised them, which they welcomed. It woke them up to the realization that in the busy-ness of doing life, they had forgotten to BE life. They realized they didn’t know how to be present.
And to my big surprise, the same lesson was given to me but in a very different way, and I didn’t have to go out on the mountaintop to get trapped in my habitual fear pattern of impatience — the fear of not having enough time to complete something. Remember when I first arrived and unpacked in a hurry so I wouldn’t be late for our first group event? It turned out that I had been on such autopilot that I put my flight tickets in what I thought was “a safe place.” It was so secure that when I was packing to leave, I couldn’t for the life of me find them! I finally had to buy new tickets to get myself back home to the US.
What happened there? I had been in a doing-mode and disconnected from my being-mode. I had not been present, not to myself nor to what I was doing. Thankfully there was no real damage except to my pride and bank account. But that shows that the effect of the lack of presence can be both time-consuming, inconvenient, and pricey.
Was I in my TRUE Power during this incident? No, I was not. TRUE Power requires you to be awake, to be aware, and to be fully present to the moment. It requires you to power up your presence. Be power. Be TRUE Power!
Photo by Ameer Basheer on Unsplash
Written for and first published in my monthly column BE Power — TRUE Power in the Luminous Wisdom: SOPHIA magazine by Sibella Publications on October 1, 2019.
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