As a society, we value knowledge and information, which requires us to exist more in our heads than in our bodies. This causes us to focus on external results, rather than an internal view. Thus, we can get overly involved with affirming ourselves through our accomplishments, comparisons, and the opinions of others.
Embodied Leadership invites you to reverse this perspective and operate from a place of wisdom, peace, passion and purpose. Through practice you can create balanced movement between external and internal worlds.
There are five main principles of Embodied Leadership: Presence, Passion, Purpose, Partnership and Practice. Last month, we began with the first principle, Presence and Presencing. Presencing was introduced by Otto Scharmer from MIT. It means to be present and sensing by practicing “open mind, open heart, and open will.”
This month we are reviewing “open heart” practices to arrive at our second principle, Passion. Research from scientific evidence proves the importance of this position. In fact, the Institute of HeartMath uses instruments to measure the impact of one’s energy. They find when a person’s heart is open and available, their energy extends 8 feet beyond the body. This is far more impactful than when a person is closed, judgmental, cynical or fearful.
Further support comes from the Chinese proverb that states: “Nothing in the world is accomplished without passion.”Â And quantum physics has brought awareness to the fact that thoughts and emotions are energy. Therefore, this leads us to understand that heart-centered intentions can improve our effectiveness in both work and life.
How do we do this? I take the lead from my experience as a ballroom dance instructor, one of my passions. Often called “emotion in motion,” dance is a beautiful expression of passion, especially when combined with inspiring music. Sound improves whole-body connection and stimulates our heart. Further studies show that opening the heart improves brain function and overall strength. This is clearly demonstrated in dance.
A few years ago, a couple who loved to dance became frustrated because they were no longer moving well together. After observing them in their dance, it was obvious that the man, as leader, was forcing the movements from his arms and upper body. The woman — feeling over-powered, instead of guided — felt his force and was choosing to stop and not participate. After several lessons they learned to re-engage their hearts, which improved the communication through their whole bodies. Now they connect from this centered power and delight in the joy of their dance together.
They learned the importance of engaging their passion. In our work lives, passion arises from knowing your strengths and being able to apply them into your daily life. Ask yourself how are you being called to serve your organization, your clients, your work and your community.
I experienced this when I moved to LaCrosse, WI, and found a need within the community for quality ballroom dance. I decided to take this on as a hobby business and share my passion with others. As a result, my consulting and coaching work grew. It provided connections with people and exposure that expanded my business quite quickly. Now, having moved back to the Twin Cities, I feel called to serve in other ways that expand my passions more fully.
How can one go about putting their heart energy in motion?
- Notice what touches you, what inspires you, what speaks to your heart. Listen to beautiful music to uplift your spirit and expand your body sense.
- Put your hand on your heart and breathe with it. When our heartbeat and breath are in rhythm with each other, we are most able to engage the creative mind.
- Remember your mission — why are you doing what you are doing? Ask: “What is my heart longing to do next?”
It takes active listening to attune to your heart, and for some it is easier than others. Through practice, you can use heart wisdom to put Emotion in Motion.