me, the easier it is to take care of myself, and the more available I am to serve and express my love of life in all of its forms. I realized early in life that I was not an authority on any particular thing but was rather a student of what connects all of life. I have been inspired by people who were willing to be vulnerable and those who humbly offered their words and actions. I noticed that the people who embodied leadership had a quality of inner authority that did not come from a title, graduate degree, or inheritance, but rather from a connection to the sacred. Through this recognition my concept of authority began to move from something that existed outside of myself to something that emerges from within myself. What I aspire to now is to be present, receptive and com69
Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 2
fortable with uncertainty. When my inner alignment is strong, itâ€™s possible for me to walk through the spaces that challenge me with dignity and grace. Our culture often promotes the idea that if we polish an exterior armor, we will be tough enough to get through life and achieve a kind of recognized success that protects us from hardship. Instead, I orient towards the notion of being soft on the outside and strong on the inside that I learned through Tai Chi Chuan. It requires practice to be soft on the outside, and strong within. It may go against our cultural conditioning, but itâ€™s become the only way I know to walk through this time of loss and damage and uncertainty and still retain my joy. A part of my own learning seems to be about marrying apparent contradictions. Balanc-
A journal for people of the heart.