I’m sitting across the room from him, noticing my desire to check out.
And there are lots of reasons for why check out, if I want to create them. The room, in general, feels pretty peaceful, so it’s an easy state to get into. I’m tired, I’m sleepy, I’m hungry, I’ve got a lot in front of me today, etc.
But I set those aside for the moment and practice trusting what’s showing up. I get curious.
What’s driving this up?
I get related to the being over on the other side of the room. I look in their eyes while they’re speaking to someone else, and I look past my judgments. Who is this person for the planet?
And what I notice is that it’s like looking into the eyes of Jesus. I see compassion, inspiration and possibility. I see humanity — an ability to hold space for the entire world, and to feel empathetically into the entire world.
That’s who I get to be present with when I let everything quiet down and really get clear on the person across from me.
But that’s not who’s showing up in this moment.
In this moment, I’m present to a need to be heard. Almost as though Jesus was given all of his gifts, but had forgotten who he was. As though he had been told “Hey, you’re not going to make a difference. People aren’t going to hear you. They’re not going to listen to you.”
Imagine the desperation with which the messiah may have shown up, knowing what he did, and having those false-beliefs implanted in his head.
I quiet down and give him space to keep speaking for a while longer. And when it’s my turn to speak, I look at him with all of the love I can generate, and I say to him,
“I notice you don’t listen.”
And then I pause, and I listen for what happens next.
He turns to me, and now the compassion is gone. It’s replaced with frustration, anger, defensiveness.
I just sit and keep loving this person. With a mission like this man’s, I’m not surprised that it would be obnoxious to have someone tell you that you don’t listen.
But if I don’t, who will?
I look around the rest of the room and see and feel relief.
The room is now filled with an experience of “Ahhhhhhh, finally.”
The whole room has been feeling this, but why wasn’t anyone saying it? If you were sitting across from Jesus, watching him step over his mission and get in the the way of what he was here to do, would you be willing to wait for someone else to say the bold thing?
Leadership is hard.
It’s hard for a million reasons.
We can’t see the messiah across from us because we are so caught up in our own judgments, and the judgments about having judgments that we’ve layered on top. We’re so busy telling ourselves that we shouldn’t have these feelings that we can’t simply devote the attention to the person across from us and really see who they are.
It’s hard because we don’t want to be the jerk. We don’t want to experience the energy coming back across the room at us. We don’t want to make a mess, and leave someone upset. We’re not willing to trust ourselves and our partners in that moment of intimacy to be able to get through to the other side.
It’s hard because we’re trying to avoid doing it wrong, and so it’s easier to wait for someone else to do it wrong and then point to what they should have done better.
You have a messiah sitting across from you, somewhere in your life.
And you are letting them slip by in life, forever waiting for your leadership to move things forward.