Friday, July 16, 2010

DD#65: Leader/Follower

Between busy-ness and lazy-ness, I've managed to distract myself from my writing since June 20th! In fairness to me, I have been writing pretty intense, introspective emails, and sharing profound bits of wisdom via phone conversations and personal contact, so I haven't really been avoiding my "work", it's just been expressed in venues other than my blog:>)) Time passes at a different speed since I don't have a J-O-B anymore.

I continue the process of sorting and clearing, but my work is sporadic at best. I'm much more interested in being with family and friends and doing fun stuff like dancing. Like a dream-come-true, I have been inroducing dancing into my life again and I'm so happy to have it. I'm grateful that I can still feel that wonderful body rhythm and move semi-gracefully. Not the flexible youth I was in my 40's but still no slouch on the dance floor. I have danced enough to lose my initial fear and rigidity and have begun to regain my confidence about being a good follower.

In dance, partner roles are referred to as "leader" and "follower". Now, these are a couple of pretty loaded words for me. While I easily (and gratefully) accept the designation as a follower in dance, I'm not so sure I'm comfortable with it in my life. In dance, being a follower means I don't have to use my brain for any of the dance steps. I don't have to do any mental manipulations about right or left foot, any combination of steps to remember, no technicalities. I can simply relax and feel the music and the subtle (or not-so-subtle) signals from my partner. I have a natural rhythm that guides me. When I'm in my head trying to remember steps, I tend to anticipate my partner's next move, therefore shifting my role from follower to leader, which tends to create confusion or frustration for the leader.  So, I appreciate being able to enjoy my "follower" status.

Years ago, before I earned all of my wisdom from dancing to my life's music, I refused to be categorized as a leader or a follower. I didn't want to fit into any mold - I liked thinking of myself as unique. (Don't we all?) Imagine my surprise when my Hand Analysis mentor read my hand and told me that I was a leader. I immediately told her that I really doubted that. I didn't need to be in charge and boss people around. I was particularly sensitive to the idea of being a leader (aka: bossy) since I'd been so harshly accused of bossing my little brother around like a tyrant. Although it chafed me, it was an accusation I bore because as I matured, I realized it was true. I've made my amends...:>))

My mentor then launched into an explanation of what being a "leader" really meant. A leader is a person who is willing to step up and take the responsibility of the choices and decisions inherent with the role. It's a person who recognizes the natural dynamics of groups and can take charge and keep order when necessary. What it's not, is someone who needs to be in charge or boss others around. At this, I calmed and began to embrace my role as a leader. I liked the idea of having the skills and wisdom to know when it was the right time to don this mantle and move forward. But, uh oh! There was a new fear! What if I made a mistake?!? What if I made a bad choice? My little commitment phobic, people pleasing demon reared her head up and said, "Oh no you don't! Don't accept this because everyone will  hate you! Everyone will be mad at you!"

When I expressed my fears, my brilliant mentor looked at me with a grin on her face and said, "Toni, it's not all about you." What did she mean it wasn't all about me? It most certainly was! I was the one who'd be in trouble if anything bad happened. I was the one who'd get blamed. It would be my fault.

She listened to me vent for a few minutes then gently reminded me that the reason it wasn't all about me was that I'm not here alone. My leader part knows to check in with the Universe and be the simple tool - be a channel for Divine work. I kept my sense of being unique but had a new level of awareness about what that meant. I was unique - my leadership gave me the opportunity to be creative and I understood that it wasn't all about me, but about my connection to the Divine and acknowledging not only my spark of the Divine, but recognizing it in others as well. I could shine by giving others permission to shine. I was free to express everything that I learned so I could lead others to learn about themselves. Wow! Now this I can do - with love in my heart. So, I am a grateful follower and also a grateful leader. Where do you lead and where do you follow in your life's dance?

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