Leading a conscious life translates to being a conscious leader. All of us are leaders if we choose so. It is our decision whether we lead our life as much as life lets us lead it or whether we want to be led by others and the ever changing circumstances. We can actually choose both at different times. It would be still a conscious decision that we make for one or the other.
Why would we want to make this decision?
We want to own our life! We want to be in charge of our emotions. We want to experience life and be in charge of how we experience it. We don’t want to be driven by our emotions, thoughts and reactions. Yet, we want to fully experience all of it and be conscious about how we respond. Leading a conscious life means that we fully experience life as it appears to us. We notice colors, smells, tastes, textures, joy, pain, warm, cold, beauty, nature, everything that life is offering us in each and every moment. We notice how we feel and what kind of thoughts we have. We observe how thoughts are connecting different experiences and creating stories in our minds. We notice when and how we respond to everything and everyone and how we have an impact on life whenever we do or don’t do. We are the master of our mind and therefore we notice thoughts and stories that our brilliant mind is always creating.
What if we don’t lead a conscious life? Not many of us do, and the accumulating frustration and anger can turn us all into bitter people with negative impact on friends, family and colleagues. We do succumb to the circumstances of life and start blaming others and all for it. We feel like victims and being treated unfairly by life. We start to think about why this happens to us and circle around finding a reason and the one who is guilty for all this mess. We might live in the past or planning all the time for a better future. There is a time for planning the future, nothing is bad about it, but if we spend most of our time in the future or past, we are not present for life in the here and now. I am guilty as charged as I allowed in the past my ego and mind the mastery of my life and therefore often impacting the life of others in an unintended way. I was even proud of my outstanding planning and organizational skills. In hindsight I admit that I wasn’t there for my wife, children, family, friends and colleagues, because I was living in the future, planning the next thing so that we were always prepared. It was and still is a complete illusion as life threw other challenges at me for which I wasn’t prepared. Today I can’t remember much of the good times I spent together with my family. I was with them physically, but I wasn’t really there emotionally nor in my spirit. My memory remembers the situations and has images to offer, but I can’t relate to it as I didn’t truly experience it. I didn’t give myself permission to feel the emotions present at each and every moment. As a young man I joined the armed forces in Germany for 3 years and I was stationed far away from home. In the beginning of that journey I visited home every weekend, at least to get the laundry washed and ironed by my dear mother, and sometimes to see friends. My Mom was always sad and of course emotional when her only son left on Sunday again for another week. She always had tears in her eyes and I quickly left as I didn’t want to tear up and be with my own emotions, not to mention her’s. I quickly drove away in my car and started to think about the coming days while my mother was sitting in my room at home and crying as she told me a couple of days ago. It is very regrettable and in the beginning my ego was justifying it with reasons like “important business had to be done”, “this is all for our future financial safety”, and “I do this all for the family”. However, while there is a bit of truth in it (yes, I need to bring home some bread), most of the justification is a typical defensive act by our ego.
At one point in my life, a few years ago, I noticed that this path wouldn’t lead me and my loved ones to anywhere but a place of emptiness. Lack of intimacy and deep relationships, plenty of superficiality without meaning, a life fed by fear and limitations and probably a list of regrets on my deathbed. I made a conscious decision, the one that I wish from the bottom of my heart you will make, too. I took responsibility for my life by taking back ownership of it from my ego. I accepted the past as it happened and decided to experience from then on life as it shows up.
If we accept whatever shows up for us in life as it is and then create choices from that place of acceptance, we become the master of our life and are not any longer enslaved by our mind. This is your initial step into conscious leadership and leading a life by choice. Whether you make a choice for leading a conscious life first and then step into acceptance, or you first accept what life is offering to you in this moment and then choosing conscious leadership, the sequence doesn’t matter. Both appear almost simultaneously together. Life is thrown at you from all directions and when you own your life, you are dancing with those objects, particles and barriers by surrendering to life forces. In this context surrendering doesn’t mean that you give up on life. You rather choose to not fighting it any longer, but accept what is present and leverage your newly gained flexibility. You are not like a stone being dropped dead into the stream of life. You are an unsinkable nutshell dancing, diving and recovering on its odyssey over the ocean of life.
Acceptance is a fundamental decision of giving yourself permission to feel and experience life as it presents itself to you. If we deny ourselves this experience, which is certainly tough and painful sometimes, we might turn numb, empty, shallow or restricted. Giving yourself permission to fully feel and emotionally experience life doesn’t mean to act out on it. As a conscious leader choosing a conscious life, we develop emotional intelligence (EQ). We accept and take ownership of our life, we feel and notice the internal process of our various emotions and then respond as opposed to react. That will be the topic of the next post.