On Saturday I attended a Soul Collage workshop hosted by a dear friend of mine, Suzanne Naseby. This was only the second time I have been able to attend a Soul Collage workshop even though I love the experience. Too often I am distracted by day to day activities and do not keep events such as these a priority in my life. It’s a lesson I seem to need to learn more then once 🙂
I won’t describe the Soul Collage process (there are books, a DVD and workshops you can attend) however I wanted to use a discovery from the workshop as the starting point for what I am calling “My Leadership Challenge.”
Many years ago I participated in a Shamanic full day workshop and during the workshop the group was led on a guided meditation to see if we could make contact with our totem animal/s. I am a fairly visual person. The form of a large grey wolf came to me quickly and easily during the meditation. At the time I was secretly thrilled. To me a wolf was what I deemed to be a “cool” totem animal (my own judgements playing out there). I saw the wolf as strong, powerful, and wild. Of course I was being a little superficial (or allot!). The wolf’s power runs much deeper than their reputation.
Wolf Totem (courtesy of http://www.animaltotem.com/wolf.html)
Wolves are the epitome of stamina, known to run 35 miles a day in pursuit of prey. They are highly misunderstood animals, who have gained the reputation of being cold blooded. In reality wolves are friendly and social creatures. Aggression is something they avoid, preferring rather to growl or create a posture to show dominance.
Even though living in close knit packs provide wolves with a strong sense of family, they are still able to maintain their individuality. Wolves represent the spirit of freedom, but they realize that having individual freedom requires having responsibilities.
Because wolf is a teacher and pathfinder, he comes when we need guidance in our lives. Those who have a Wolf Totem will move on to teach others about sacredness and spirituality. Wolf can also teach how to balance the responsibility of family needs and not to lose one’s personal identity.
Wolf teaches us to develop strength and confidence in our decisions. He shows we will learn to trust our insights once we learn how to value our inner voice. This wisdom keeps us from inappropriate action. If wolf appears in your life examine where you need to develop more confidence and if you need more balance between friends, family, and yourself.
How this relates to me is that I have very real sense of fear around leadership and teaching. I have been avoiding it in most areas of my life for years. I am a master at convincing myself that it is because I am much better at ‘supporting’ other leaders achieve their dreams, then standing up myself. I am also convinced that to teach or lead, you must be an expert. I have begun to recently understand that this is just a story I have told myself and is in no way the reality of the situation.
During the Soul Collage workshop we passed around a deck of cards titled “Creature Teachers” by Scott Alexander King. We each took a single card and were asked to reflect on what they meant to you. As my turn came round I used my little mantra/pray/request I often utilise when I want to ”connect” and requested that a card come to me and communicate a clear relevant message to me for now.
I shuffled the cards and took a deep breath to ground. Shuffled some more and felt the familiar sense of “STOP!” which is what happens for me when I use divination tools such as cards. This is my indication I have the right card. I flipped the card over and there she was – the grey wolf. I smiled and raised my face to look at the group somewhat embarrassed as all eyes were on me.
I did not need the meaning of this animal read to me which was what our facilitator had offered during this exercise. I was so familiar with what the wolf represented I quickly recited the key messages to the group. I was in a way encouraged to see the wolf again although it clearly meant I was still in need of wolf energy and guidance, even after all this time. It was a reminder that I was still running.
“My leadership challenge” is to stand and face my fear around leadership and embrace the wolf teaching to see where it takes me and what journey unfolds.
To lead and/or teach (for to me they are very similar) is a gift that I feel other people have but it is clear there are lessons for me to learn here which I am ready now to explore.
I have personally committed to researching and learning more about what leadership means to me and to others. To self-educate on ways one can lead and I’ll share those findings here with you as I am aware that not only is fear common in all people, but often the fear to lead or be seen as a leader, is also something most can relate too. Leadership comes in many forms and through self-education and exploration I plan on obtaining a better understanding of the forms and my resistance around them.