On Being wHOLe

Wholeness: We welcome life’s opportunities and challenges as essential to the leadership journey.  With grace, we cultivate healthy, loving, and real relationships, with ourselves, one another, and the world. 

Jane Fonda on Wholeness

Jane Fonda on Wholeness

Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  All the cultivating of healthy, loving, and real relationships and such.  We read this definition for our value of wholeness before every one of our Heart of Leadership meetings.  I can’t tell you how much I love reading our values.

The truth is that a commitment to wholeness is not for the faint of heart.  It’s so much easier not be welcoming of those challenges and do more hiding parts of ourselves or numbing out instead.  Working too much, eating when we’re not hungry, drinking so we don’t have to feel, gossiping, watching endless reality TV, perfectionating, obsessing about our bodies, judging others, being apathetic and controlling are all ways that we avoid our wholeness.

Our culture is full of the habits that deprive us from our wholeness.  We are so uncomfortable with being uncomfortable.  But, it is only in the ability to be with our discomfort that we can be whole (=at peace) because all of who we are has been given the okay.  No part of us is unworthy or unlovable.  In fact, when we can accept our greatest challenges, they often become the fuel for our fire.

I loved this Huffington Post article on accepting pain and struggle as part of our path to success.  I ran across it this week (no accident).  In the article, author Mark Manson writes that it’s great to have lofty dreams for our lives.  However, “What’s more interesting to me is what pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up.”

Today, I know that starting a non-profit – especially one committed to live what we teach – is not always easy.

I acknowledge that I sometimes don’t know what I am doing.  At times, I can only see my shortcomings and doubt my ability to really see a thriving organization through.  Other days, I feel like it’s all in alignment and have unwavering faith that this vision is coming to pass no matter what.  Our team has everything we need to make a big difference.

Wholeness is understanding that both the opportunity and challenge make up the leadership journey.  BOTH are what will make HOL and all of us who collaborate in our community better people at the end of the day.  If we’re afraid of our challenges, we’ll never make any sort of difference.  In fact, challenges provide the contrast for light to shine through.

When we can choose love in the face of opportunity and challenge, we know we’re in good shape.  And in good shape, we are.

This week has not been all roses.  Under the pressure, we become more of who we are, and I only see our light shining brighter.  It is one thing to say that you stand for something and a completely sacred experience to be a part of a community who lives it.

To wholeness, and all of the mess, beauty, and wonder it brings…


The Guest House

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice. meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes. because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

— Jelaluddin Rumi,     translation by Coleman Barks

1 Comment

  1. Laura Outlaw on November 20, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Beautifully written, Stephanie. I am going to print this and put it on my fridge. What a wonderful reminder to simply be. A refreshing perspective. I too have a habit of labeling my emotions as “good” or “bad” or more precisely, “should” and “should not.” This living whole, as you say, how freeing and challenging! I love your perspective and welcome the opportunity to put this line of thinking into action. Thank you. Sending love.

Leave a Comment