Leading with an Open Heart

“From the very beginning to the very end, pointing to our own hearts to discover what is true isn’t just a matter of honesty but also of compassion and respect for what we see.” Pema Chodron

I'm finding it hard to keep an open heart these days. On so many important issues, people seem more polarized than I could ever have imagined. The chasm appears to be growing ever wider and deeper. The world feels scarier and even more unpredictable than ever. “Conventional wisdom” is no longer a trustworthy indicator of how events will play out.

It’s tempting to shut down, to listen only to news that confirms my beliefs, or to just talk with people who have comfortingly similar views. Conversely, there’s the inclination to lash out with the rightfulness of my own views, challenge others’ perspectives unreasonably and fail to listen to their point of view.

But that’s not the person I want to be.

Nor is it particular effective.

Instead, I’m trying to view these turbulent times as an enhanced opportunity to stay grounded in my values and longstanding practices.  However imperfectly, during times of adversity, I’ve done my best to:

  • Stay open rather than shut down
  • Reach out to others rather than just look out for myself
  • Be proactive and possibility-seeking

Most important, it’s meant acknowledging a reality that may not be consistent with my preferences. That’s the only way to continue making a positive difference, even when current reality seems highly disturbing.  Only then will I feel like I am leading with an open heart.

What are your approaches to leading with an open heart?