“Discover that the most powerful way to help those you love is to lead by example; and realize you’re leading by example all of the time.” … Joe Caruso
I don’t think that there is a parent alive who hasn’t watched and smiled as their children mimicked some cute little mannerism. How often have we laughed as we saw our funny facial expressions mirrored back to us by our infants and how often have we been equally appalled as our judgments and use of colourful language escaped with equal ease from between our toddler’s lips? It is in those instances that we realise, perhaps for the first time, that we are Role Models and that the thoughts, beliefs and ideas that hold sway within us are present – not only for our children – but for all of the world to see.
As adults we somehow come to believe that we can hide our true thoughts from the sight of other people – and some people are indeed very good at that action – hence the term “Poker Face”. However, I have found, that in general people pretty much wear their lives on their faces, and what isn’t living right out there for all to see falls out of their mouths on a far more regular and unconscious level than they would be comfortable knowing.
If you listen to people – truly listen – they will always tell you what they are really thinking – most of us have simply fallen out of the habit of consciously hearing that way. Everyone is capable of discerning where another is coming from, what they believe and what they value, not just by the words that they use, but by how they share their unconscious desire to be themselves with the others that surround them. I think that the drive to be who-we-really-are is an overwhelming urge that we learn to repress and hide.
This leads me back to children; who have those wonderful (and sometimes frustrating) “mirror” qualities. Bright sparks, souls, “conscious beings”, they arrive here on this planet excited about embarking on a new adventure and ready to get out there and share themselves. It is one of the unfortunate facts of life here on Earth that society – in the form of well-meaning parents, authority figures and media – quickly teach these pure souls that the bright light of Truth is NOT welcome here. In this world, they learn, that unless they follow socially acceptable ways of expression they run the risk of not being accepted (at best) to outright rejection, torture or death (at worst). How unfortunate that in general, adults don’t seem to be able to learn from their children. How sad that the example that so many of them teach is how to repress a soul and how to force their beautiful square pegs to fit into society’s round holes.
I like to watch people. I think that’s because I have a driving need to understand. I want to understand what motivates people to act in the ways that they do, to say the things that they say and I want to understand what their presence in my life – no matter how peripherally – is teaching me about ME. You see I believe, very much, that we are mirrors for each other: that in some way we reflect back to each other the things that lie hidden deep inside ourselves. As with our mirror-like children, sometimes the things that we see are the wonderful and endearing parts of ourselves and sometimes the people around us reflect back parts of ourselves that make us uncomfortable, remind us of past unhappiness or spark our memories of outrage and helplessness. And so, I watch the people who come and go in my life, the ones who stay for an extended period and the ones who don’t and I do my best to look into those mirrors and see ME looking back.
So, if indeed we are “leading by example all of the time” , then it behooves me to not only look outward but also to look inward so that I might learn about my own AND others interior landscapes. Others examples teach me – where my triggers lie, my wounds hide and where the sometimes seemingly innumerable lessons-to-learn have taken up residence. I like to think that the more things that I see and the more learning that I do – the more areas of myself I am able to heal so that the goal: of ultimately coming back into a state of “new child” balance and awareness of Who-I-Truly-Am, is accomplished, step by step.
I think that it’s working! I am definitely still a work in progress – hey aren’t we all – but I see light at the end of the tunnel now. I no longer feel like I am drowning in a world of alien thoughts and ways of being that make no sense to me. I no longer feel threatened on every front by the needs & desires that other people have to force their way of being outward onto me. I am learning to trust what I “know” deep down inside of myself and to let that knowing, not only surface – like bubbles in a champagne bottle – but to let that internal compass guide me to take the right action for me.
Right action, inner knowings and reacquired trust in “Soul-Me” allows me to wander into more effective means of communication than my previously wounded self could handle and it opens me up to listening – truly listening – to what people are telling me. These days I find that hearing others goes hand in hand with watching them and both of these lead me naturally into understanding who people are. Ah-h-h the understanding that I have been seeking is arriving. And with every ‘ah-ha’ moment that comes along, with every internal healing that occurs I come closer to being Me. Whilst I never stop looking at the human mirrors around me and listening to others unspoken words, nowadays I see that I am also a mirror, that my calmer state and less war-torn internal landscape is allowing me to lead by example. And finally, I think, the example a good one.
This week why not have a little look at what YOUR examples are teaching those around you. It’s pretty easy for parents to get an immediate read on some of their previous examples – all any of us have to do is look at our kids. For those of you without children have a look at your friends and co-workers. If you can’t figure out what your example is teaching then try out the mirror approach – what is THEIR example teaching you about YOU? “The most powerful way to help those you love” (and all of those around you) “is to lead” (and to learn) “by example”. Remember that the world is filled with examples – it is up to us to follow and to reflect the ones that resonate the most strongly with the Truth of ourselves.
Godspeed and Joyful Journeying Everyone!