So, many of you have noticed that I have this whole “Coach for your Heart” thing going on.
Here’s the hard part: It requires that I be an example of a heart centered, faith driven, attentive and kind person in my words and behaviors. All the time.
I mean, if you’re bringing a message, you better walk the walk. And, lately, I’ve been a little inconsistent.
Case in point: When people are disrespectful or angry at me, I get upset. And it’s a really visceral response, too. I will either respond back to their anger with my own-which is absolutely the worst when you’re trying to pawn yourself off as an expert from all things from the head, heart and soul-or I stop myself, I don’t get upset in the moment, but I become resentful and hold that feeling with me.
I know this is generally thought of as normal. But I have to be better. And I expect that those of you who read this space or listen to me on the radio be better, too. If we are to reach past the disagreements that divide us, if we are to really begin to understand one another and find the common ground that unite us, giving us back our sense of togetherness and community-particularly in the coming year-we must fashion a new response in the moment. It starts with me, but I need you all to come along.
As many of you may know, I’m a big fan of Father Greg Boyle. He is the Director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles and the author of “Tattoos on the Heart,” one of the best books on the human condition that I’ve ever read.
Recently, Father Boyle started a talk by quoting Reverend Desmond Tutu who said “we grow in kindness when our kindness is tested,” tested by the folks that, according to Greg Boyle,“…are refusing and rejecting us and our overtures. Those are our teachers.”
We know how easy it is to be kind to those that are accepting of our offerings. It’s easy to be responsive to those who seem clearly in need and appreciative of our help.
But when you open the door for somebody and they quickly turn and say, “Just leave me alone,” how fast does your feeling of kindness turn to anger?
When you get a friend a present for their birthday, somebody you’ve known and loved for years and years, and as they take off the wrapping they say, “Oh, well, that’s nice, but what I really didn’t want this,” how quickly does your friendship become stained with resentment?
And when you find out a friend that you love voted for the party opposite of yours, how fast do you want to create distance between the two of you?
In the last thirty days, I have been guilty of doing all three. I have gotten angry when somebody wasn’t as grateful as I thought they should be, I became impatient when I felt somebody was dismissing of my effort, and I disappeared when I discovered that two people I really cared about voted for the candidate opposite of mine.
All these contexts pose opportunities to learn. They offered me the chance to expand my expression of love and keep my light focused on their spirit. Instead, I let my sarcasm, my upset and my anger take over. Not my finest moments in the holiday season, to be sure.
Again, according to Greg Boyle, “we grow in kindness when our kindness in tested. And it’s not the gentle who teach us.”
He’s right. Our teachers are the people that push our buttons with both feet. It is these folks that we need to look at with love. We have to ratchet up our compassion right there, in the moment, and look past their anger with fellowship and understanding.
We have to revere these teachers, the ones that press us to the limit of our compassion and test our emotional elasticity. We must look at these people with the same gentleness and accepting grace as we see those who are grateful and kind and loving because, underneath it all, the angry, the bitter and the resentful need our patience and understanding, now more than ever.
“Darkness does not put out darkness. Only light can do that.” This famous quote by Martin Luther King is the foundation for the New Year that has to guide us. This is our call to compassion.
This year, It is up to us to see the opportunities in a resentful exchange and strengthen our hearts, and theirs, with a response of peace.
They will be our best teachers. And, if we offer them only love, we will have learned our best lessons.
By entrusting us with your feelings, we help you take steps that you see necessary to begin and put forth the energy to make the needed change.
Now notice something: Trust in a coach, mentor, or guide helps you see what's in front of you. We see a Coach for Your Heart a little like an emotional Sherpa, somebody that helps you climb your mountain by pointing out where to best step along the path.
Offices in San Diego and Denver, but will travel to meet onsite anywhere in the United States and the World.