Updated: Aug 17, 2021
By Sabine Grunwald
Have you ever been at a crossroad and you did not know if it would be better to go right, left, or simply stay put? In these “crossroad” moments I feel torn inside, confused, undecided and yet I feel compelled into action, while the next moment I am frozen. Nothing seems to make sense. Really big life decisions can keep us occupied for weeks, months or longer. I could make a list of the pros and cons and use all my brain power and logically analyze the crossroad situation which is a critical juncture that affects my own and other’s lives. Though somehow that seems half-hearted and my self is not really fully in it. These heartaches can be daunting. We are catapulted out from our #heart space that feels like falling into pieces. We sense that our whole self is a pitiful joke and “if this happens..…” or “if that happens……” runs the show. In these moments every cell in my body seems to be on high alert because so much is at stake.
…. and then I pause. I am mindfully resting in the present moment. Ahhhh, I recognize that I am caught up in a habitual cycle of churning thoughts to make THIS important decision in my life. Suddenly my eyes see with a freshness that is crystal clear like a lake in the mountains. I am now able to sense more deeply where the directions of the crossroad would lead me. It is like a fog has lifted that kept me in a cloud of deluded thoughts. I breathe and let go of this urge to think things through. This has been an old habit I am so used to in which my whole being is just thought – one single, big thought – while my body and heart have drifted off into lalalalalala land. I breathe deeper now. I listen to my #inbreath and #outbreath. I now rest in the silence. I am in the gap, the crack that connects me with something deeper. The source. A non-verbal knowing of “what is this crossroad” and “who I am deep down” and “who I become” is engulfing my whole being. I deeply understand without thought nor speech the deeper purpose. I own my path. Love is in every cell and pore of my body. I let arise what needs to come forth, like a spring bubbling up pure, blue water. Now I know which one is “the right” turn at the crossroad. My #mind is clear. I walk. I am in a fully embodied state in which my heart speaks the same rhythmic voice as my mind, and it seems natural that my feet move my body in “the right” direction. I feel elated. This path is my passion. There is a certainty that emanates from every step I take on the road.
My crossroad story is one example in which mindfulness and presencing helped me to see with clarity, connect and listen to my inner self, find purpose, and act wisely. I was able to be authentic facing the juncture of a crossroad . We all face crossroads.
Otto Scharmer described #presencing, a key in the Theory U model, as an authentic qualia of self, i.e., “waking up to who we really are by linking with and acting from our highest and future Self – and by using the Self as a vehicle for bringing forth new worlds” (Scharmer, 2009). This authentic presence is a heart-felt quality of being – the magic moments where boundaries fall away. Besides the heart, soma and feelings likewise contribute to an embodied sense of authenticity when we are presencing (Senge et al., 2008).
There are distinct stages according to Theory U: (0) Downloading past patterns – consciously seeing our habitual patterns, (1) Suspending – seeing with fresh eyes, (2) Redirecting – sensing, observing “what is”, (3) #Letting go – of preconceived ideas, thinking and habits, (4) Presencing – connecting to the source; asking “who is my higher Self?” and “what is my purpose?”, (5) Letting come – be open to whatever needs to arise, (6) Enacting – crystallizing vision and intention, (7) Embodying – prototyping the new by linking head, heart and body, and finally performing by operating from the whole (Scharmer, 2009).
The inner work of redirecting and seeing the whole and making present requires suspending (silence), similar to #meditation #practice that cultivates to quiet the mind (Senge et al., 2008). Meditation practices bring a certain kind of open, moment-to-moment, #nonjudgemental #awareness of what you are attending to (e.g., breath) which increases the awareness whatever we focus on (Kabat-Zinn, 1994).
Kabat-Zinn, J. 1994. Wherever you go there you are – Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York, NY: Hyperion Books.
Scharmer, C.O. 2009. Theory U – Leading from the future as it emerges. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publ.
Senge, P.M., Scharmer, C.O., Jaworski, J., and Flowers, B.S. 2008. Presence: Human purpose and the field of the future. New York, NY: Crown Business Publ.
More on presencing
Presencing Institute: https://www.presencing.com/
Otto Scharmer: http://www.ottoscharmer.com/