I had the pleasure of enjoying last Sunday lunch with a group of friends at the Urban Villa Boutique hotel. Nestled in the hills just above Marbella, this little gem stands majestically on the hillside, offering panoramic sea and mountain views, and the perfect retreat for a relaxing afternoon with friends.
The owner, Linda, welcomed us into her family lounge style restaurant, where drinks awaited on cosy sofas beside the log fire, and live music accompanied our prelude to a specially prepared vegan style Spanish Sunday lunch, and a conversation that has planted some new seeds...
As wine flowed among friends we shared recent and colourful stories of world travels and business ventures. A friend had just returned from a volunteer expedition in Africa, and brought with her sobering tales of the worlds we are so sheltered from, sparking thoughts about what world is the real world, and what are we really living for? Another friend shared ideas for her ladies empowerment circle, and sparked thoughts about what support Women multicultural Marbella really need and want?
New entrepreneurial projects designed to make a positive difference to people infused the discussion, with momentary inclusion of Trump's latest antics, brought in for questionable amusement and momentary horror, and we found ourselves considering affairs of the world, where we are going, what comes after Trump, and, in a world that we understand so little about, what vision we might create if we had the power to make a positive difference at a global scale.
We all had our opinions about what could and might and should happen, at times generating quite heated debates. By the time desert was served; a stunning buttery apply tart that might be quite possibly the best in Marbella, what arose seemed to me to be a far more important and specific question to consider: what political environment do we want to live in?
This question presented the first dilemma: how can we make a choice on political leadership when we believe the facts presented are not true and that promises made are little more than campaigns for winning votes. In reality, all we know is what we know today, and what we know today is based on what we have learnt from the past and on what we are experiencing now.
It was mutually agreed that most of us need far more education on what actually happens at the political level. So then how do we educate ourselves, when the newspapers are filled with sales promoting drama.
I think when the world stage is putting on a great show (and by great I am talking about the scale of the drama, not necessarily the quality of the performance), with an agenda we cannot know, it may be wiser to turn away from the performance playing out, and think about the show we want see playing out. I believe that we often get so lost in the dramas of our own lives, and those of the political stages, that we lose sight of this more important consideration: what we really want for our world, and indeed, individually and collectively.
My mind drifted momentarily into the sea and mountain vistas and I wondered if I were to hold the pen that wrote the story line and choose the characters for a play on the world's stage, what would the story-line be, who would the characters be, what personalities would they have, what values would they uphold, and what vision would they truly be working with all the passions in their heart to create?
I have the foundation for my play; it is based on a script that plays out positive values that serve the greater good and support my personal happiness. I am learning that my personal happiness grows in response to how I choose to think and perceive my current reality, and the choices I make in relation to my heart-centered values, with the feelings I gain from those I feel supported by, the moments of appreciation and gratitude I make time to include, the friends I share my time with, and the individuals who trust me to help them heal and grow. But when I consider the greater good; what the world needs as a vision to support harmony for all, I loose myself in a state of wonderment about what that vision may look like, what values uphold it, what practices bring it to life, and how we recruit those whose agenda it seems is only power and control at the cost of innocent lives, mass violence and suffering. When reality gives me a weighted jolt I am reminded that we cannot change people and I alone cannot change the world and make it better with a single vision. So then what can I do to contribute to the script of a world that supports the greater good.
I believe if we take care of the needs of those around us this has ripple effects that touch the lives of others and so in own small ways, with our random acts of kindness, positive words, care, support, love, encouragement, acceptance, gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness, laughter, interest, beauty and presence, we can make ripples that have positive effects, radiating from our individual hearts and minds.
We may not be able to initiate change from above, in our current positions, but we can initiate change from within, and we can make ripples that promote happiness and love and peace and freedom. We write the scripts of our lives in every moment, while dramas play out on the world stage. We can choose to watch the big dramas playing out and distract us from our core power, or we can accept what we cannot change, accept our world is full of violence, corruption and suffering, and put our focus on the choices we can make, the power we do have to create change from within. I believe when we recognise our power to accomplish our inner peace, happiness, freedom, and love, then we will be the people who have the power to develop this more in our communities, and it will be real and true. I do not believe the new scripts we need to form the stories on our world stages can come from anyone who has not done the inner work, and such a person needs voters who have done the inner work. I think if we are going to make the world better, we all need to become the leaders in our lives and the writers of our scripts, and take ownership of our stories. Perhaps when the people are ready, this leader will appear, but such a leader cannot help those who do not want to do the inner work that is the key to making the level of difference that this world needs. The power is on our hearts and minds and the choices we make about how we own and use our power.
I am eager to continue the depth of discussion that evolved on Sunday, and so I have decided to launch a philosophy club. This is an invitation only club. As subscribers to my newsletter, you are invited and you can request to invite your friends.The philosophy clubs meets monthly with adults and teenagers welcome.
The next meeting will take place on Friday March 31st
Details are on my website: http://www.antoniabehan.com/philosophy-club.html
If You Are Going to Lead, Then Lead.
Leadership is about becoming the writer of the story of your life. I believe that to be a true leader requires:
Vision: It is your vision, something you believe, see or feel called to do. It is where you see a need that you can serve, or hope that you can give. No one can give you this vision, other than to inspire you to give birth to your own. Leadership asks you to turn from the status quo and seek new vistas, hopes, dreams and possibilities. Leadership requires you to be a visionary.
Faith: A true leader has faith in their vision; they may not see what will be, how it will be attained, the actions ahead, or how the chapters will be filled. They just know it can be realized and that it matters. They know this because they believe in what they see or sense, and they trust in their own dedication, commitment, and ability to try. A true leader knows that true faith is simply the bold choice to choose to believe in yourself and your vision, over fear, no matter what.
Love: A true leader knows that real success will only be achieved when their journey is fuelled by love, because love gives a true leader the light they require to build success and attract others into their vision.
Truth: A leader must be authentic. People sense a lack in authenticity, they feel the words unspoken and they see the actions above the facade on show. A true leader must honour their values and truth in actions, if their leadership is to succeed.
Courage: There will be challenges. There will be dark nights and days of glory when you are called to demonstrate your leadership skills. There will expectations placed on you, demands made of you, responsibilities chosen by you, and there will be fears that hound you; some real, others ghosts in your mind. Courage, the ability to believe in yourself, silence the ghosts, and to trust life will be your ally.
Connection: A true leader understands that true success is bringing about transformations that benefit the whole and so care for the whole and the ability to communicate with clarity, care and compassion is key to cultivating powerful connections.
I know that to truly lead, I must write the story of my life and be accountable for it. I must manage my mind, conquer my demons with all the power of my love, and project faith, courage and positivity onto the script of my mind and onto others. I must stay true to my truth and be fierce in breaking through clouds of doubt to let the light shone through. I must choose my vision, choose faith, choose love, choose my truth and choose courage, and keep choosing these qualities every day of my life. True leadership is an art, and requires practice and dedication every single day.
Always believe in your vision, faith is the light that brings your dreams to life.