I was invited to speak at Microsoft this week. Their CCX EMEA event was online and I was naturally thrilled but nervous.
The topic was “How to hold space for others”.
The first item on my presentation (after all the intros) was about being present. I know all the theory but, as always, my “big test” was hidden in a challenge. In order to authentically talk to people about being present, I had to first pass my exam and earn my stripes.
So I paused the PowerPoint and headed out the door. Nature is always where I find my answers.
I recalled a story about the very first Buddha who was due to speak to thousands of people. He walked onto the podium (I imagine this to be just a little makeshift stage) and he spotted a lotus flower on the ground. People were there to hear something profound and life-changing; I would imagine HRH was well aware. He is said to have picked up the flower and for the longest time, they narrate that he stood staring at the flower while everyone just stared at him. The rest of the story goes that he made eye contact with someone in the crowd who was smiling, gave her the flower, and walked off stage. That became his most talked about, most “profound”, most sought-after lecture.
So, I walked down into my local veld. And each time I found my mind going forward in time…
I wonder if they will like me?
What do I have to offer to executives of Microsoft?
What if they think I’m a fraud?
…I picked a wild flower. It was a reminder to come back to center; to the very moment — which is really all there ever is.
My presentation went well. I was able to get people to use more than their eyes to tune into my messages. In essence, they were holding space for me (while I fumbled around with technical logistics and later into my old wounds to share stories that shaped my worldview on the subject).
I’ve been invited back to Microsoft. And just as I found my head getting ahead of me – projecting all sorts of expectations on to the future – I was able to use the same bunch of wild Buddha flowers to bring me back. This moment, this moment, this moment…
Stripes earned! Lesson learned! I march on with such a heart full of love,