Swagger & Staying in the Moment

Swagger. I just love that word! Words really are whatever we want them to be or mean. I’ve seen folks use “swagger” as maybe not always a good thing. I think it’s awesome.

I was walking around the Missouri State Capitol Building (the Mo Cap) this week. Spent two days there. Going back old school, a little like in my contract lobbying days. Yet different. Viewing it with different eyes.

As I walked around the building, I noticed how people walked. I noticed the swagger. We all have our own way of walking. And we spend a *lot* of time walking the halls there. Looking at our phones, twitching for our phone, waiting for the bells to go off, for something to happen, for somewhere else to run off to. Yet, we are in the moment, observing all around us.

I think in many ways, a good lobbyist stays in the moment. That moment where all the possibilities are and where anything can happen next. Anything. The best lobbyists aren’t worried about what’s going to happen next. They may think forward in strategy, but their mind is always on where they are and what they are doing.

Reminds me of a Yoda quote from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It was one of Yoga’s lessons where he said to Luke that his mind was never on where he was or what he was doing, and that was Luke’s challenge in life. Yoda was training Luke to stay in the present moment where all things are possible.

I talked in my last blog post, Unconditional Love in Lobbying, about the Mo Cap being like a living organism. I think that lobbyists, or the really good ones, feel their way through the moments. Lots of intuition in that building, going with your gut, your knowing.

This idea of the present moment is true in so many things in our lives. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in or what you do in your personal life. The moment holds such power. That is where your intuition, your knowing and your power lies. That is the lesson that Yoda shared with Luke.

What is the swagger? It is the confidence. It is the presence. It is being completely and fully in ones own power. Standing in your own power. Walking in your own power.

Body language can tell us so much. Notice how others walk or stand around you. Notice their posture. Then bring your attention to your own. Are you standing straight? Are your shoulders slouched? Are you hunching over like a turtle, trying to crawl into your shell?

Our body can tell us so much about how we are feeling. Are we worrying about what others think of us? Are we scurrying around in fear? Or are we, to borrow a quote from another favorite old movie of mine, Stripes, “walking tall and standing proud,” comfortable in our own skin? Standing in our own power?

If you find yourself trying to crawl back into your shell, talk to your body. Thank your body for its message, and then change your posture. Even changing how we physically sit, stand or walk can change the way we feel about ourselves.

It is honoring the body’s message to us, thanking the body for its message and recognizing the thoughts or emotions that the body just told us about. Then transforming those thoughts through work with our body. That’s something we can do wherever we are, whatever we are doing, in each moment.

Sure, there’s more that we can do. We can work with those thoughts, and that’s what much of life coaching is about. But just noticing our physical body, being present with ourselves and then through that, recognizing our thoughts, can make such a difference. From that place, then we can make a change, we can make a shift.

It’s the first step to embracing our swagger.

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Unconditional Love in Lobbying

On the top of the Pyramid on the Sun at Teotihuacan, Dec. 31, 2014
On the top of the Pyramid on the Sun at Teotihuacan, Dec. 31, 2014

And…it has begun. The roll call for the first bell of the state legislative session has been completed. Five months of wild and wooliness. People always wonder how I do this. How can you be a lobbyist?

Lobbyists communicate, and communication is important. As in any industry, it’s about how you approach it and how you do your job. How you live your life. How you treat others, and how you treat yourself. So for me, though I don’t shout my spiritual path from the rooftops when I’m in the Capitol Building, I bring it with me, and I respect everyone and their path.

It is just simply…me. I don’t need words or statements to others to be who I am. I am me.

I think this path really helps with that. If you follow a path of unconditional love, you can’t get caught up in the dramas of the building, the fights, the arguments. Why? Because it just doesn’t matter! Everyone is doing the best they can in their own dreams, their dream of the world as don Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements. Technically I’m not a lobbyist anymore, as I can’t ask folks for a “yes” or a “no,” but the idea is still the same.

The Four Agreements
The Four Agreements

You can really love the people in this work even if you’re not really into the game of it all. Going for true win-wins. I always loved the win-wins, but I used to also love the game. The thrill of the chase. The rush. The bell rings and off you go, chasing down this thing or that. Not so much anymore. I just watch it, almost feeling as if I could be sitting above the Capitol Building, watching all the pieces and people running about, to and fro.

Detachment. It’s not to minimize the work there, or the passion of people for their beliefs of course, I honor their dreams just as I do mine. I also believe that being detached makes me a better lobbyist. I can see it all better, calmly, without reacting. I make better decisions that way.

Long ago I learned to detach from these efforts, and sometimes I work with people that I don’t personally agree with, and that’s o.k. I respect their position and their reasons for it. I learn when to share and when not to share about myself, and through it I maintain who I am regardless. I also never work on something that I can’t believe in at least on some level.

Through it, I have made the most amazing connections with people over the years. I even have had amazing spiritual conversations with legislators and lobbyists because I find common ground, and I don’t throw words to describe or label my spiritual beliefs in their face, nor do I react to theirs. They are just symbols, labels. What would be the point? It’s all about the love, right? I respect their path, and I respect mine. I respect myself.

So many in the world, in business and in the legislative world too, can take things personally, thus the “wild and woolly” thing. When you combine it with a practiced will, it can be even more wild and woolly. Some people have a strong will, but they don’t know it. That includes many in the legislative field, at least I think so. A little “woo woo,” but magical folks of course know about their will and how to use it – they are practiced with it. They also know the whys and why nots, or at least you hope that we understand the why nots as well.

Here is a great example of taking the legislative process personally, and what can result…

I knew a lobbyist who was also a magical practitioner, which really just ties in with using your focused Intent or Will and leveraging its power and your ability. Business folks call it the “vision thing,” and this is like the vision thing on steroids. Like with anything, there’s a balance. Two years or so ago, this person I knew tipped that balance, as they set out to do this big work to make the legislature pass the bill they wanted. As an aside, the mere idea of “making” the legislature do something you want to do is humorous in and of itself, and I know any lobbyists reading this will get that.

But this person told me all about it and what they were going to do. They explained about the injustice, as they saw it, and how they were going to call for justice, and they were going to get this bill passed. Anger combined with determination. It was palpable. It was personal for them.

They were attached to and caught up in their own dream. And it backfired.

I listened, and then I offered up my recommendation that they may want to have a cool down period and revisit that decision, which in the end they substantially did, though not completely. It is a great example of taking something personally and attempting to put your will before the will of others – to try to override their dream with your own. In the end, they almost lost their entire effort and almost had the opposite happen of what they wanted. It was very touch and go for quite a while after that.

Be impeccable with your word. - don MIguel Ruiz
Be impeccable with your word. – don Miguel Ruiz

I think that goes back to the idea of be careful how you use your words and what you send out into the world. Be impeccable with your words, one of The Four Agreements. I would add – be impeccable with your thoughts. Or remember the saying that it will all come back and bite you in in the you-know-what.

Also the idea of boundaries comes into play. What are healthy boundaries? I like to think of this simple illustration – where my dance space begins, yours ends, and vice versa. Respecting others’ decisions and respecting our own. Using our will on ourselves and our life, but not projecting our will onto someone else or subjugating the will of others. Disagree with respect, honorable disagreement.

Yeah, people get really emotional and worked up on this stuff!

This morning I talked with a lobbyist about my spiritual retreat last week to Teotihuacan with the Ruiz family. (If you want to see more on my experience there, you can watch my video HERE.) Even though this lobbyist would be considered as likely coming from a different point of view on things of that nature, I had told them I was going. They are one of those people who lives it to give it. I jokingly said that it was quite a shock to come back from sitting on a pyramid feeling the love and then to walking back into this, lol.

But the funny thing was that, as we talked about strategy and how this session was going to play out and just the idea that it has begun, this person was using the same words I was using…words like “it doesn’t matter.” We talked about how people get locked into their positions and caught up in it and can get angry and worked up.

This was all in general of course, not about anyone or anything, but just looking at essentially the domestication of the state legislative process and almost how it is this live organism – it has its own dream. And how people get caught up in it and are domesticated by that dream. We are working on an issue together that has a lot of different sides and positions surrounding it, and we agreed that we were going to stay focused on the big picture, stepping away from the language minutiae and microscope as needed to go back to “what is the purpose?” in all of this.

That’s how we roll. Hard to explain in words, but it was good, and it was fascinating. How do you roll? What is your purpose? Does it really matter? Who cares? What is your will – your true will and purpose? What is your ego saying? What does the real “you” say? Are you listening?

O.k., so back to listening to the introductory speeches… “Wisdom does not begin or end in this House…We should do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do…What better time to think of your last day than on this first day.” This was a quote by the new Speaker of the House, which I heard just as I finished typing this. Pretty cool. You can find those gems, if you listen.

me today - extra
Selfie of me loving the surprise morning snow today!

What do you want to be on your last day? Will you meet it with love? Will you meet it with respect? Any day could be that last day. The last day of your life. How do you choose to meet your death? Are you listening? Which voice are you listening to?