Spiritual leadership

I am struggling to write this article. Tomorrow morning I am flying to visit my brother and his family. My sister-in-law is in need of a miracle as she faces another of the cancer challenges which have come her way over the last 4 – 5 years.

I am going to give them all a hug – because it feels the only thing I can do – and remind my brother and my niece and nephews that they have a big sister and aunt in New Zealand. And anything else I might have going on for me seems … well, trivial!

That said, I have been considering the notion of spiritual leadership. And it all ends up feeling way too big.

More recently I was offered the contemplation that spiritual leadership requires and involves three key behaviours – resilience, empathy and grace. These I can relate to.

Initially I turned to the dictionary for an understanding of the concepts.

“Resilient” adj. – able to recover form and position elastically, able to withstand shock, suffering, disappointment etc.

“Empathy” noun – the power of entering into another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his/her experiences; the power of entering into the feeling or spirit of something and so appreciating it fully (e.g. a work of art)

“Grace” noun – easy elegance in form or manner, any unassumingly attractive or pleasing personal quality; favour; kindness; pardon

From a personal perspective it would seem that spiritual leadership is as simple as living a mindful and full life, learning to weather the vagaries of living and staying as well and as connected as one can.

Simple I say, but as a group of women talking with me recently said, “we could never have imagined at 21 how our lives would unfold!” I had to agree and our laughter was tinged with a mix of many emotions.

As I travel to deliver my hugs to a family who are looking forward to getting them I shall reflect further on the simplicity of spiritual leadership.

As it is my own life that I seek to lead spiritually, for now I plan to continue my wellness plan which seems to contain the elements of resilience, empathy and grace. Namely:

h meditating regularly when it goes well and when I struggle for alignment

h exercising my body reluctantly and with relish

h listening up to people when they want to talk with me

h practising gratitude and compassion, mostly about the fullness of my life and celebrating what you have heard me call the ‘Yum/Yuck’ of life.

So it is my spirit that draws me to family tomorrow, it will be spirit that sustains me and spirit that I will offer in my time with them.

And now a plug for my new work as a programme coordinator for the YWCA’s Future Leaders programme.

Serendipity or divine intervention, has lead me to a role where I get to live ‘spiritual leadership’. Resilience, empathy, grace and much humour are required and present as I meet with and work with girls 14 – 19 years old and the wonderful women who currently are their mentors. See the link below for more information.

Future Leaders
The Future Leaders Programme provides mentoring, practical support and skills development to young women who show leadership potential. To join this inspiring programme as a Mentor see www.akywca.org.nz.

Or better still give me a call at work on 09 375 9248. I am very happy to talk with individual women and groups of women about being a mentor.