The Shift Network Blog

Finding the Courage to Lead with Your Heart
Terry Patten
By Terry Patten
Speaker, Teacher, Author of Integral Life Practice

During these winter months, I find I’ve been navigating a deep "inward arc”...

It’s been a journey of increasing intimacy with my soul — a process of ever-deepening trust of life, of myself and of emergence.  

Amidst that, two words stand out for me now:

Courage and Generosity

The more I deepen, awaken, open and relax, the more these virtues of the heart stand out. Our culture is now focused in the hara (the vital center) and the head, and so we tend to be focused on the virtues associated with those centers — clarity, vision, intention and power.

But the heart is the very core of the being. And the most fundamental law of life is the law of sacrifice, which our heart intelligence naturally understands.

When we give unselfishly, we defy the narrow tit-for-tat, "what's in it for me" logic of the karmic marketplace. And if we give just for the sake of giving (rather than giving in order to get something tangible or intangible), we open a channel for paradoxical and mysterious grace.

Courage means taking a risk — a risk of losing our time, energy, money, influence, reputation or advantage. And courage takes that risk to serve a higher value — in service of something greater than our self-interest.

courage to lead from the heartGenerosity gives away some of our advantages to others, not in order to get something in return, but out of sincere care for them, for the sake of goodness itself and out of a sense of our connectedness.

In contemporary society, we tend to focus first on a different range of virtues, not so much these particular key heart-virtues.

Even conscious people and practitioners, including many spiritual teachers, are much stronger in head-centered virtues. They may be clear, insightful, brilliant or full of vision.

Some are especially strong in virtues associated with the hara, the vital center. They may be powerful, committed, fully present and full of intention.

All of these are real and important virtues…

… but as the light fades in during these short days (in the Northern Hemisphere, at least), what stands forth to notice is how badly "love's in need of love today."

Our world, our communities and our families are most needing our care and loving attention. This is heart leadership.

We are needing to see others show up with genuine courage. We are so grateful when we encounter authentic, disarming generosity.

When the law of sacrifice is fulfilled, there's a counter-force to the discouraging, seemingly-inevitable entropy of the machine of selfish commerce.

So I am spending time this winter season tuning in to the deep logic of that sacrificial principle, as a student of it.

And I invite you to tune in for yourself, and share what YOU find.

May we all become stronger in our hearts, more able to bring courage and generosity to those around us.

 

PS - If you want to discover how you can open more fully to grace, beauty and power through your heart intelligence, I invite you to download my complimentary one-hour recording, The Heart of Your Heart.