Leadership Skills I Learned From A Flowering Plant!
Leadership Skill #2- I learned is that once we let that old negative part of us die, we feel refreshed and renewed. And thus we turn into a beautiful human being with a greater purpose
What, you say? What is this woman talking about! How can we learn leadership skills from a plant! Bear with me as I explain.
The violet plant on the right is gorgeous, right? Stunningly beautiful.
Well, it came from the plant on the left. At the bottom of the first picture is the mother of the picture on the right and you can see that the mother is dying. In her heyday, she too was gorgeous but in her dying, something miraculous happened. She gave “birth” to a new baby that you can see at the top of the same image. I was floored! And then just 3 months later, the “baby” is glorious as you can see in the right hand image.
Nature is incredible. The mother made sure she produced a baby before she died.
Here is how these plants relate to leadership.
One Sunday morning, around 2002, our meditation group held its usual group meditation. A new practitioner around the age of 22 arrived to join us. We will call him Richard. After group meditation we welcomed him officially and got to know each other. When it was time to leave, I noticed that it was pouring with rain outside; therefore, I asked Richard if he had a car or if he needed a ride home.
Richard said he did not have a car and would be grateful for a ride. As we were driving, I asked him for his address and he told me he lived just further up the road. No exact address was given. Not wanting to pry, I simply allowed him to guide me.
We were driving along the perimeter of one of the largest inner city parks. When we arrived at a certain spot along that perimeter, he invited me to slow down and let him out. He could see my confusion because all I could see was parkland.
Richard proceeded to tell me that he was homeless and that his ‘home’ was actually behind a big rock in the park. Of course, the mother in me is going “yikes”. My heart fell as I let him out to go out in the pouring rain to his ‘home’. As he was leaving I offered him an apple that was sitting in the car but he graciously declined my offer.
Driving to my own gorgeous home with 4 walls, waterproof roof and beautiful gardens, I cried. I cried for Richard and I cried for all homeless people. I wondered what “Love in Action” action I could take to help him while reminding myself that Richard, like all of us, has pride. If he would not accept an apple from me, surely to God he would not accept other help.
Richard came to group meditation every Sunday and must have gained a lot from our silent loving support because one day he said he was moving and had applied to nursing school. “Wow, I thought. That’s amazing.” He had gone from homeless and penniless to nursing school is a very short period of time.
Last I heard Richard had completed nursing school and had obtained an excellent job in his field.
Now, back to the flowering plants!
What I learned about leadership is that sometimes we do not have to say anything during the challenging times that others are facing. Sometimes it just takes kindness, understanding and meditating together to shower light on to a situation.
Of course, when we meditate we naturally exude the light we harvested from the meditation and Richard would have been a beneficiary of that light. Our meditation group treated Richard as an equal, not as a homeless person which in itself was a huge support for him.
One of the turning points came when Richard wanted to share with me the reasons why he was “on the street”, reasons such as not having enough money. I thought there were other reasons. You see, Richard’s spiritual practise is quite strong.
He understood the 5 Precepts: Do not kill, lie, steal, reframe from sexual misconduct and refrain from intoxicants. I could see that he was bringing the wisdom of those 5 Precepts to his colleagues who also called The Rock their home.
During their quiet times, when they would discuss the things that were important to each of them, Richard would bring forward how important the 5 Precepts were for him. Based on that knowledge, I shared with Richard that maybe on some spiritual level he became homeless in order to be a teacher for the others with respect to leading a noble life.
You can imagine that Richard was stunned by my comment. When it all sank in, Richard no longer felt like a “loser”. He now realized that he had a purpose to being “on the street”.
In that moment, that old part of him died – the part that felt like a loser. And just like the violet plant, that old part of him which died nourished the rebirth of a new plant – a new Richard.
Leadership Skill #2 I learned is that once we let that old negative part of us die, we feel refreshed and renewed. And thus we turn into a beautiful human being with a greater purpose.
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