On Sunday we were nourished in every way at our favorite breakfast spot, the Walnut Cafe. Owned and run by the inexhaustible Dana Derichsweiller since 1984,
I feel washed by the love of great food and strong community when I sit down to eat at the Walnut.
On this sun-drenched morning, at our spacious table where we finally got to connect with our beloved friend, Dee Cooper, we chatted with Dana for a bit. I appreciated her for putting this sign up immediately after the 2016 election:
Clearly, Dana is committed to generating a high vibe.
When our conversation inevitably turned to world events, Dana said, “I thought I was going to retire. Then I thought, no, it’s not time. It’s time for leaders to lead.”
I’ve been musing on those words. It’s time for leaders to lead. I thought about how I’ve wondered about leadership in the past, thinking that, when people talked about leadership or leaders, they meant CEOs or government officials, or officers in the military. I didn’t think they were referring to me.
So let’s break it down.
A leader is someone who others follow, right? I had the image of being with other people on a hike and getting lost in the woods. Who would lead, who would follow in finding a way out? I imagined it would be a joint effort, each person doing what they do best: Some reassuring others–and themselves–to not panic, others getting out their compasses or searching for landmarks, with the rest trying to recall their best instructions for such circumstances (“Let’s see: stay in one place, look for the sun, pick a point to orient towards and follow it…”). Ultimately they would collectively decide on a plan. Possibly one person would climb to higher ground and spot an opening, some light that the others couldn’t see from their vantage point, and call out directions to the rest. Because of their wider perspective, everyone else would be willing to “follow,” they’d step up and agree to what felt right to them.
In other words, it turns out that each of us is the leader, once we anchor ourselves to a new idea or possibility.
We’re leading because the moment calls for it, for that quality in us that others can rely upon.
Well, today is that day.
Many of us feel disoriented and lost, afraid in the wild woods, fearful of the vast unknown.
And–we each have resources to offer. We can listen to each other for our best direction and wisdom. Then we can step out onto this brand new path. And the leaders and the followers will be indistinguishable.
Are you willing to step out into the mystery? We’re listening to you. The time is now to find your light, settle on the path, discover the cairn carefully set out by those before us.
Time to find your voice. Lead on.