Fierce love

We get angry at times. Okay, for me, that would be an understatement. Trigger me on some things that are happening in this world and I seethe. Righteous anger. Confused anger. The anger of feeling powerless. Mostly, I become confused about the pain in my heart.

Thing is, pain happens to all hearts. It's natural. But we aren't powerless. Not at all. Hearts break. But hearts can break open. Wide open to love. It's beautiful.

Here is part of a poem by May Sarton (1912-1995):

"Return to the most human,
nothing less will nourish the torn spirit,
the bewildered heart,
the angry mind:
and from the ultimate duress,
pierced with the breath of anguish,
speak for love."

Later she shifts the words. She ends her last line, "...act for love." Can I channel the energy of my anger into fierce and transformative love? Shall we train for this choice? 

photo credit: simson petrol | unsplash

photo credit: simson petrol | unsplash


When we measure success by what we don't really need, we will not ever feel successful. Basecamp's Jason Fried does "enough" instead. No long hours at work, big goals. A focus on six-week projects, enough to get anything substantial done. No big roadmap. "Goals and metrics are made up targets," he says in an interview with Shane Parrish. "If you don’t hit them, you’re bound to be disappointed. And then when you hit a goal, the excitement only lasts for a day, and then you move on to setting another one. It just results in a perpetual state of stress. How about not setting goals at all and just trying to do the best you can?”

The tiny heart of a hummingbird can reach up to 1,260 beats per minute. Just to keep its heart going, the hummingbird requires an enormous amount of calories. Its metabolism cannot keep up. The creature is in a near continuous state of starvation, on the brink of exhaustion, and never far removed from death. I was once at a retreat center in the New Mexico mountains. Its porch featured a feeding station for the area's hummingbirds. Well-intended. But the food consisted of concentrated sugar water, easy and addictive calories. The birds seemed perpetually frenzied, stressed, aggressive. They had no use for sugar water, yet craved it. Never enough.

The heart of a human being averages 60 to 100 heart beats per minute. We have the ability to slow it down (Especially during New Mexico retreats.). There is nothing more precious than knowing the truth of the beating heart, its dreams, its wisdom, its self-regulating powers. But one day, our heart will stop beating. We do not know when the last beat will occur. Death is certain. Was life enough or not enough?

Here is the thing: Collectively, we experience an exhaustion that is not so different from the starving hummingbird's. We are overwhelmed by our daily effort to measure and keep up. We feel a step behind the second we check our smartphones in the mornings. You feel the fear of missing out (FOMA) the minute you scan the papers or chat with friends. New gadgets, shoes, the hippest foods and destinations, the best parties. Starved, we keep on hunting for more and better, forgetting that our hearts beat to their own rhythms. Until hearts stop. 

credit: muhammadtaha-ibrahim | unsplash

credit: muhammadtaha-ibrahim | unsplash

Obscured in its clarity by our brain's default mode (which wants us to believe that we are still fighting for survival in some forlorn wilderness), our mind has us in a constant state of worry about deficiency. We live in fear of lack. From a toy gone missing when we were children to losing money in the stock exchange. From a school grade that is not an A to the terror of public speaking, we are afraid. It's never enough. Things can run out. Someone may steal. To compensate, we hoard and crave. We think that bigger profit, geekier apps, new love partners, new cars and re-envisioned futures will make us happy. They don't. Toto, we are not in the jungle anymore. We cannot ever get enough of that what we do not really need.

When we measure success by things we do not really need, we will not ever feel successful. The Basecamp approach is a rebel response. Sane. An invitation then: How about measuring success by curiosity, intentionality, a small committed step taken into the unknown, knowing you may fail, and knowing it was a creation for good? By evaluating and learning from that step, celebrating it (yes, laughter too!), and beginning again? How about measuring success by an inner sense of contentment? Alive, aware, enough. Connected.

The word 'enough' literally means "attained together," sufficient for the purpose. You can sense a containment andcontentment in this word. A wholeness. "Perhaps the most important sentence I've ever written is that one word 'Enough'," writes Palmer Parker, who has written ten books and hundreds of essays, "that word can safeguard the soul." To say 'enough,' is not risky. We won't starve. When we say enough, we can, in fact, be reckless with the heart. We'll have enough heartbeats, no regrets. That's abundance, perhaps.

Thank you as always for reading. Not subscribed? Just click the button below. And if you are a big Yes to exploring the abundance of enough - with relief and wildly beating heart - contact me for a deeper conversation. Thank you, Sophia.


The weight of the world can crush us.

The weight of companies, us, you, me. Suffering. All that is wrong. Yet what is this weight but a laser pointing at our humanity? Author Michael Neill says, "When we stop seeing life as the thing that gets in the way of what we are up to and we start seeing it as the raw material of our creation, then it doesn't matter what happens next." Through this statement filters an unbearable lightness of being. Because what happens next can be terrible. But what if it is true? We can't undo life as it unfolds. We got to deal with it as is. Can we build on what is true and tender in us? What if we meet our humanity at level? Fearless love AND a fierce desire for transformation. That makes for powerful action. No weight. Just material. Lightness sparkles. The late Stephen Leacock defined humor as a sense within us that invites a kindly contemplation of the incongruities of life, paired to the expression of that sense through art. Life as art. This edgy paradox. No need to yield to the harsh weight of fixing all that is wrong. We have the response-ability in the moment to build on what is going right. Raw material. We'll continue to mess up. We'll love. Light filters in. This too.

credit 青 晨 |unsplash

credit 青 晨 |unsplash

Yes for wild-heart leadership.

Lately, I have been bouncing into a great masterclass. It's that class on saying Yes to life. Wholeheartedly. My wild-heart rebel spirit demands it. All our hearts want it. And, of course, as we listen and practice, inner resistors show up.

Yes. Wholeheartedly. Not the small Yes tinged with resentment or discontent. Not the cowardly Yes, where we show up, but we really don't want to show up. Nor the lying Yes where we try to be happy for another's good fortune but experience envy, even if oh-so subtly. When, even as we smile, we may be thinking, Mmm, I would love to have that as well! Why not me? Our company? Or whatever we think that gets in the way.

Do these small Yeses sound familiar? Resentment and discontent don't feel very good, right? Believe me, I know. Any small Yes depletes us and everyone around us of our energy. It separates us from life.

So the masterclass includes how to say No firmly, and feel totally okay with it. No to invitations or requests from others, sure. That may even be the easier part. But especiallyespecially and way more challenging, No to inner voices and habits. The essence that our wild-hearted rebel leader is teaching me is knowing that I am enough, good enough. A big Yes to wholehearted well-being. Just as I am. Just as we are. Colorful like confetti.

credit: pablo heimplatz | unsplash

credit: pablo heimplatz | unsplash

Resentment is an interesting word, though. It derives from Latin and literally means "feel again." Feel again. Resentment doesn't just happen. It begins with a feeling. And here is the thing: The feeling is only a moment's short-lived reaction to a neutral event. But we interpret it as soon as it occurs. It happens lightning fast. Someone asks. Someone says. And our minds instantly connect a few dots based on habits, past experiences, unquestioned beliefs. Bang! We miss the truth. Instead, we feed the feeling with a story full of justification and defense. With story, the feeling can begin a slow, insidious ferment. Story around what we think should be "rightfully ours," story about victimhood, story about being better or worse than someone else, you name it. Stories, always, that limit us and stop love. Like heart burn, the feeling comes back up again. Again. We compare how we feel inside with how others appear outside. We have no idea what is going on inside others. And yet, we feed and feel those stories.

The main person any resentment ever hurts is ourselves. We risk ending up in a chronic state of discontent. Contentment is another interesting word. When you trace it back to its earliest Latin roots, it means, "contained" as in "held together, enclosed." You see this sense of wholeness in the word? Contentment is sufficient to itself. You can sense how someone who is "contained" is "satisfied": A contented person feels whole with what she already has. But this container is not limiting. It's expansive, fluid, because it holds enough, always enough.

Letting go of resentment is a healing process. It is a choice to step back. An invitation to recognize and understand our habitual stories, and more importantly, what can lead us away from story into new ways of being for optimal well-being. Take a deep breath. Pause. What just happened? Ah, just a story. We can let it go.

Contentment is an even more powerful choice. It follows letting-go, naturally but with some deliberate intent from us. It is a beautiful way of being we can cultivate. Enough, I can say. Worthy, I can say. I have enough. I am enough. I am worthy. I do not need to lie myself into a Yes in order to feel my enough-ness, worthiness. I have nothing to prove. Because we are allenough. We will always love and be loved. Drops in the ocean composed of the ocean. I can trust my wholehearted Yes. I can feel joy for others. For life! Wow, this is life, the raw material of what I choose to make of it! Awesome.

Because. We all are already and always enough. We all are. Ah...and now we have choices when we are with others, when we are alone. Now this feels right and good.

So we can in fact say no to our inner storied voices. Even if this feels weird. Even if it provokes guilt. The discomfort of guilt when we stop believing story is far easier to let go of than the more complicated feeling that is resentment or discontent. Saying no to story allows us to be more present. And get this: Most of us are so distracted, multi-tasking every moment of the day. Presence is a rare gift.

When an acquaintance or friend comes into sudden success or praise, we can share in their happiness. It is not complicated. No story. I can be genuinely joyed in another's good fortune and ease. I can share my joy and silently wish them ever more ease. It just makes sense. It makes us feel good. It generates energy. Well-being. The freedom to love and care for ourselves and others. That is huge. That is real leadership.

Okay, one more word. Pātra is the Sanskrit word for the begging bowl that Buddhist monks carry. Its significance is “just enough."Just enough. A synonym for plenty.

Contentment is a state of grace, nothing I can force or pretend. It's vulnerable. But so what, if it creates well-being full as oceans? A bowl overflowing. Contentment invites poise, respect, and love. It is deliciously abundant. More than enough! It energizes. It is both the vessel and the fuel behind our innate capability to be present, to be with wild heart.

Thank you as always for reading. Not subscribed? Just click the button below. And if you are a big Yes to accelerating your own Masterclass - with a lot of joy, radically wild heart - contact me for a deeper conversation. Thank you, Sophia.


Maverick March: Are you in?

Here is for a challenge I've taken on with some friends. We call it Maverick March. Want to join us?

Because: We get in a funk, bored by our routine, cozy in our circle of comfort. We get way too brainy about our business. For me, for a bit, I lost touch with wild heart and inner rebelliousness, singing blood, life directly touching, touched. It isn't a great place to come from.

Another because: We become overly preoccupied by our brand - this compulsion to distinguish ourselves from others in the playing field - but brands, ah, they bite back. They are like labels, limiting us.

During the mid-1800s, Texas politician and cattle rancher Sam Maverick refused to brand his cattle. He said it was cruel to animals; others said it was a ruse for him to claim unbranded cattle in the area. So what might happen, if for one month we venture out without a brand? What if we drop our rules, break constraints, rebel against routine? Who knows what opens up - surprising joy, wild creativity, dancing blood?

credit: axel antas-bergkvist | unsplash

credit: axel antas-bergkvist | unsplash

Drop us a line if you are in. One small thing, regularly, for one month, that points in the direction of freedom. It's up to us!