Ah Leadership! So much FUSS about it nowadays! Lets clear up some misconceptions.
Leadership comes out of Transformation, not Information. Rather than the product of workshops and courses, it is an effect of Courage and Self-Awareness
The Greatest Leader is the Greatest Servant. (credit goes to Jesus for that one)
Leadership is Power, natural and easy, and not Force (which is painful). Forced leadership is the blind leading the blind.
To want to be a leader often comes out of an insecurity of wanting to prove oneself as better than the other, and to relieve inner feelings of powerlessness through increased perceptions of control. This is not true leadership – it’s insecurity in disguise!
Note: to see it and despise it is to resist it and persist it. In fact, what you dislike in another person is something you actually dislike in yourself, reflected onto the other. The same in this case – judgement of another’s insecurity is judgement of your own. Kindness and Acceptance, being OK with it, now there’s a path to happiness. And, incidentally, to Leadership.
Leadership is a function of being able to do, out in the world, the things that fulfil you. Walking through the fires of fear that block this is a continual process, rather than an end-state. If you’ve walked through fires that others are now in, you may be able to offer guidance. To point a finger or offer kind words.
The true leader knows that it’s not about them at all. At its core, leadership is an impersonal process of becoming and inspiration. How can one play a part in another’s becoming? If one points towards the light, saying ‘this is my joy and perhaps it is yours‘, it is the flower that turns and unfolds of its own.
I have for the past few months been plagued by insecurity about my future. Frozen to the spot, unable to dredge myself out and towards the future I most desire. But, I’ve found that this fear that’s bubbled up in this unique time in my life (entering the workforce) is directly related to a number of physical and energetic problems I’ve always had.
Running in parallel are two or three other stories.
The first is an interest in the Chinese qigong philosophy of the Three Dan Tiens. This simply referrs to the three main energy centres of the human body.
The first is in the belly, an inch below the navel. This is the lower Dan Tien, or Hara (a word appropriated from the Japanese).
The second is the heart centre, just above the sternum along the nipple line. This is the middle Dan Tien
The third and final lies behind the forehead – the upper Dan Tien
In meditation to date, I had always focused on the upper out of a greed for having an ‘awakened third eye’. Incidentally, meditations on the area have been quite illuminating and I am constantly having otherworldly experiences – seeing shapes that aren’t physically there, seeing my own ‘chakras’ spinning, seeing others’ vibes, etc – because of it.
The point is, my hara has always been terribly weak and neglected.
A second story is my lifetime of strangely terrible posture. I found that I had always had unnatural overcurvature in my lower back. I’d have troubls standing for long periods, and often had lower back problems. Cha-ching for the physio! Hell, I’d even have the strange constant compulsion to pee. All these centred around the lower Dan Tien.
The ancients called the lower energy centre the Ocean of Energy – the source of all life. The centre of your being. It is focused on and strengthened heavily in martial arts – hell, the west has even absorbed it subconsciously by awarding boxing champions huge belts with blazing golden medallions placed directly over this centre, representing the fighter with the most power. And, with a terrible lower back posture of my own, a weak hara, my pelvis was tilted forward and all the energy was pouring our just like a cup.
There are hints of a third story floating about in the ethers here, partly to do with seeing the patterns and connections here, and partly to do with the practise of a particular type of Qi Gong that heavily strengthens the Dan Tiens. But those haven’t quite crystallised into alluring stories, and so I leave you with this:
There’s a great wisdom in these old Chinese (and Ayurvedic) philosophies that are directly applicable to our daily lives and health. The translation’s often more than tedious, but when deciphered and our own Western dogmas unlearned, there’s world of wonder to be had. I’ll play with strengthening this lower guy and see what happens.
Here’s an interesting related site, in case you’re interested:
This thing travel means many different things to many different people. To some it may mean luxury, to others it may be family, and to yet others it is exploring the wilderness of the world, living and breathing danger and excitement. To me it has been all of these things at different times, and some of my most cherished memories are made up of my days in strange lands.
For it is indeed a wide, wide world. I am fortunate to have been through more countries than I have years upon this planet. It may have been genetic, having been born to parents who had a travel bug so strong that they left home as teenagers to start a new life, and have been travelling the world ever since.
I have come to see the world very differently over these years of exploration. In travelling the world without, you come inevitably travel the world within – and it is one that is often far more enlivening, terrifying and mysterious than the one we can see around us.
The first gem in the wilderness that I can offer is about the Earth and its umbilical cord. In the weeks of driving through the hauntingly beautiful Baltic states – Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – I most loved stopping in the forests and walking through the wilderness of tall rustic pines and vibrant green moss. I am a mountain child at heart and loved the forests that were so raw and pure, and came to be more connected to myself than I had living in the city. I saw in moments of clarity that just as a child is connected to its mother by an umbilical cord, so too are we connected to the Earth through the umbilical cord of air. The life-giving chemicals we are fed through this all-pervading gas held me in a gentle caress, pouring into my lungs the fresh and vibrant green forest air that was so removed to the tired air of the cities. When quiet enough in my heart and mind, I felt the life of the Earth fill my soul through her omnipresent atmo-bilical cord.
In a similar vein, I was touched by a magical experience I had in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy. Travelling with a friend to an area known as ‘the end of the world’, we came upon a piece of land that had been torn from its surroundings and had risen up like a jagged hand reaching for heaven. After hours of climbing, we found ourselves atop a pinnacle of earth that had an aura of peace so deep that was almost oppressive. Silence. Absolute soul-penetrating quietude. Not even he rustling of the wind, insects or the call of birds. In this place of such intense calm, we could do nothing but sit. How long we sat for, I cannot say. It may have been 10 minutes, it hay have been an hour. We sat and we just were. The chatter in our heads dropped to zero and every smallest thing was perfect to us in this state of bliss. Even today, thinking of this moment brings me immense calm.
The second gem of the wilderness is the breadth of worlds and ways of being that are available at all times and places – with the right key. I travelled to Peru in late 2012 and lived in small villages and with Amazonian shamans for three weeks. The jungle introduced me to an assortment of its inhabitants; monster cockroaches, ferocious mosquito clouds, beautiful emerald snakes, lurking crocodiles, ravaging piranhas and quietly deadly spiders. Most profound of all of these, however, was the Grandmother. This is what the local shamans called Ayahuasca – a medicinal vine that grows throughout the Amazon jungles of South America. I undertook a ceremony in which this vine, along with some other plants, was brewed and drunk. As the Shamans guided the ceremony with their ancient songs and my body started to shudder, my mind opened up to a world of timelessness where beings of vibrating rainbow-geometry and fractal consciousness lived. The plant guided me to things that would most benefit me, while helping me release long-haunting pains. This spurred an interest in meditation and the subconscious, through which I have found unimaginably vast reserves of happiness and peace that, with proper nurturing, have become accessible to me at every moment of my life. I believe that there are worlds of beauty within each of us, accessible through such keys as gratitude and acceptance of what is. Thank you Ayahuasca, you were a great teacher and a key to the love within.
The third and final gem that I would like to share was is the power of new frontiers and fresh starts. While travelling alone through central China, I came to a startling realisation. It was that I had unwittingly grown into my own in a way I had never fully been. Without the strings of friends, family, culture or language to tie me to my old persona, I had accidentally fostered a sense of self that was purely me and far more expressive, unhindered by old habits and fears. I was connecting to the people around me with a heart that was open and far less hindered by my childhood and adolescent fears. Although I had been confronted by social anxieties at home, here in China I was relishing a fearless and openhearted connection with others. Those days taught just me how beautiful it was to open my heart to strangers and love them like I love myself.
These are three gems that travel through the world has given me. The first is an intense appreciation of nature. The second is an appreciation of the peace within myself. The third and last is the power of fresh starts and an appreciation of others. As difficult, expensive and scary as it sounds, I suggest you travel. We are surrounded by an exciting world, offering us untold beauty if only we will stop to see it.
We are bright candles, are we not, shining our light upon the world as we travel through it. But just as we shine upon others, so too do they shine upon us. We mix our light with all those around us, creating harmonies and discords with people and places.
It is possible to make a rainbow with our surroundings no matter where in the world we are. However it may take seeing all the colours of the world, to know that where we are is always, inevitably perfect. Harmonies reside in all things, from the dusty Egyptian sands to the Amazon’s dark running waters.
Seeing the harmonies in all things is fuelled when our mind’s eyes are pried open by foreign winds at foreign shores filling our fiery souls with a hitherto unknown fixation and lustre.
The fire in our bellies are born anew, inspired by the spirit of travel.
When old ways are shed and new hues shine through to the few that always knew exactly who we were always going to be. Now in the light of our fuller selves we see the other as ‘me’.
As the heavy packs and awkward naps that fill our time through space,
bend our spines and twist our necks just a little out of place,
Forget lab-made materials like graphene — natural, old-fashioned hemp may be the ticket to our energy future. Researchers have demonstrated that you can make very efficient carbon electrodes simply by heating hemp bast fibers in a two-stage process. The resulting substance holds as much energy as graphene, but is much cheaper to make. You’re just using biological leftovers, after all. It’s much more tolerant of temperature extremes, too, and can survive anything from freezing conditions to a scorching 200F. And before you ask — this is hemp, not pot, so you’re not going to get a contact high just by using a battery.
It’s easy to see the potential impact. Graphene is already being tested for both regular batteries and supercapacitors, which charge up almost instantly and don’t degrade; it’s feasible that future electric cars and mobile devices could have affordable, hemp-based energy packs that top up within seconds.
The technology might also be useful as a graphene substitute in other areas, such as solar cells and touchscreens. It’s not just a proof of concept, either — a small Canadian firm is working on scaling hemp electrode production, and US production is increasingly realistic as legal hemp production expands. If all goes well, you may eventually carry a phone powered by the same plant used to make your handbag.