When my youngest son was a baby, I carried him around with me while tending to the millions of tasks that a busy working Mamma tends to.
I also carried frustration, disappointment, and pain. I was trying to figure out how to get out of an abusive marriage, and worrying about the harm divorce might do to my precious little ones.
My little boy frequently put his chubby hands on my face, gently turning turned my gaze away from whatever I was focused on... and toward his big brown eyes.
It was as if he was trying to say, "Stop looking over there. Come back to Presence. Look into the eyes of Love."
And it worked, every time. His simple gesture brought me back to the present and opened my heart to Love.
It also reminded me of the generative nature of attention: In every moment, we have a choice about where to put our attention and what kind of energy we create in ourselves, and in the world around us. We can choose to focus on the closure (what's not working or life-affirming), or we can choose to focus on the opening (what gives Life).
And that makes all the difference.
Last week, I was gifted with another opportunity to practice. I noticed that my attention was fixated on a closure: My feelings of frustration and disappointment as yet another affiliation with a consulting firm fizzled out... and the familiar story that I'm not seen, valued, or supported; that there isn't enough nourishment for me here.
It's an old pattern, my cross to bear in this lifetime.
It's compelling. And bitter, poisonous.
So my practice was this: Each time I found my attention drawn toward the poison, the closure, I gently turned my gaze toward the opening.
The opening is a much more life-affirming story that I know in my heart to be true:
This professional affiliation was meant to be a transitional relationship, not a long-term marriage. It was a gift, given at just the right time. It allowed me to follow my inner guidance, which had told me to put Sophia Leadership down for a nap, gather my energy inward, and focus on my health through two hip replacement surgeries.
Now, as my body is healing, I feel a bright, vibrant Life energy stirring in me. I'm beginning to look outward again. And Sophia Leadership is waking from her slumber.
With regard to my professional affiliation, it's clearly time to close this door and open a new one that will be a better match for what is unfolding now.
What is unfolding now is quite extraordinary. Recently, I was invited to present the Sophia Leadership model at a prestigious institution that is renowned as one of the best in the field of leadership development. A colleague had referred me to this organization, which expressed interest in bringing me on to its faculty. They wanted to hear my thoughts about women's leadership, so the presentation was included as part of a broader hiring process.
Wow! That is a big opening.
And yet, as I was preparing my presentation, I noticed that my gaze was focused on the closure. Bitterness was spreading through my system.
Then I felt a hand on my cheek. Guidance reminded me, "Stop looking over there. Come back to Presence. Look into the eyes of Love."
Ah, yes. Thank you.
As I was driving to deliver the presentation, I focused intently on the opening and held my gaze there.
I told myself: "This is an incredible honor. I get to be Sophia's messenger! I have been given the assignment to introduce Sophia to a group of people who have tremendous influence over senior leaders all over the world, leaders who need her Love. This is so much more important than whether or not I get the job."
I bowed in reverence and offered my deep gratitude for the opportunity. I laid my presentation at Sophia's feet.
I made a conscious effort to turn away from poison and open my heart to Love.
Bitterness gave way to Grace.
And that made all the difference.