leadership

Transforming Personal and Planetary Trauma with Merle Conyer

Welcome to another episode of Agents of Awesome TV: the place to be to meet spiritually savvy people making the world a more awesome place. 

Today we meet Merle Conyer. She’s a psychotherapist and counsellor who supports individuals, teams and organisations responding to interpersonal, institutional, political, and cultural trauma. She’s also passionate about social and environmental justice. 

And she’s a great friend of mine who has taught me much over the years. 

This is a beautiful deep dive that will especially appeal to highly sensitive people who are greatly affected by the planetary changes we are now going through.

This is also a marvellous episode for all you Agents of Awesome who are on fire about taking radical action to address the great problems of our times in conscious and collaborative ways.

In our deep dive conversation we cover:

  • Merle’s journey from maths teacher to senior corporate leader to sitting at the meeting point of human rights, trauma, justice and wellbeing. 

  • The power of listening with “two ears”. That is, acknowledging the trauma with one ear and listening for strength and resilience with the other.

  • 4 themes of empowerment that can help pull us through our greatest challenges:

  1. to be witnessed & believed

  2. healing body and mind wiring

  3. safe relationships and healing our social nervous system

  4. self-compassion and forgiveness

  • The planet’s ecological crisis and how it can prompt profound grief and spiritual crisis BUT ALSO bring about radical actions for a better earth.

  • Re-enchantment with nature: what is it and why it’s essential for total wellbeing (personal and planetary) 

  • Choosing courage over “doom and gloom” through inspiring examples happening right now of reconciliation, restoration, and rejuvenation.

  • Why Agents of Awesome are so needed at this time. We need people who can walk through the fires with eyes wide open that are committed to taking positive and radical action, wherever they are in the world, in whatever way they best can. 

  • The importance of community, community, community. Go find your tribe and make amazing stuff happen! 

  • Joy as your birthright. YES!!!

Loved it? You can connect with Merle here or on LinkedIn.

Here’s to your spiritual health and life wealth!

Nicole xox

p.s. Please leave a message below the post with your thoughts. I always love hearing how this has resonated.

10 Traits of Spiritually Savvy Leaders

Spiritual savviness is an essential ingredient for our times. 

In this day and age, people who want to learn how to be a good leader want to know what it takes to be a respected one.

There are numerous leadership qualities, skills, and traits that make a great leader, but one that’s rarely spoken about is spiritual intelligence. It’s not taught in schools and it’s not always obvious in the great school of life.

In fact, in the modern world, one’s spiritual journey and development often take place quietly and privately. 

However, times are changing and people with great spiritual wisdom are stepping out more and more as leaders with heart, mind, soul, vision, pizzazz, and a desire to meet the world’s problems with eyes wide open.

The definition of "spiritual" is "of, relating to, consisting of, or affecting the spirit", according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

There’s something magnetic about a leader whose spiritual intelligence and belief are so fine-tuned to the needs of the people and cause they serve. 

Given the crises of the environment, politics, religion, poverty, inequity, mental well-being, the list goes on, our world desperately needs spirituality and savvy leaders who can harness it more than ever.  

The good news is that we currently live in a global spiritual candy store. Never have we had such easy access to tools for our spiritual growth and transformation.

As such, more and more people are reporting spiritually transformative experiences. This is terribly exciting as we open the door to the possibility of a more elevated humanity. 

But, it’s also slightly terrifying in that there’s currently a lack of grounded support systems in place to truly and compassionately deal with the complexities of awakening experiences.

These days, if you have visions and hear voices you may be given a swift diagnosis and medicalized, whereas in another time and place, this may have been seen as a gift. 

We must remember, too, that not all spiritual experiences lead to a more awakened way of being. Just because someone experiences a moment in time where they touch upon a greater version of themselves or an expanded appreciation for others, it doesn’t mean the changes are lasting or permanent.

Joseph Campbell, who gave us the wonderful phrase, "Follow your bliss", later realized the potential danger of his words and towards the end of his life, said that perhaps it should have been "Follow your blisters."

So how do we gage spiritual intelligence when we don’t yet have the language for it? How do we identify spiritual savviness in ourselves and others? How do we look beyond appearances and really see what's going on?

Spiritual savvy leaders have integrated their spiritual experiences and developed in spiritual maturity.

With that said, here are 10 leadership qualities, skills, and traits that spiritually savvy people have. 

1. You care deeply

Increased sensitivity and compassion go hand in hand with expanded spiritual awareness. The interconnectedness of life becomes obvious and so too the knowing that one’s actions matter in the great web of existence.

One of the challenges faced by many spiritually-centered people is feeling too sensitive or overwhelmed by the world’s woes.

Spiritual savviness invites us to develop a healthy and vibrant core self so that we can respond appropriately whilst maintaining a soft and open heart. 

2. You laugh loudly

The Universe (or whatever you want to call that infinite force of grand mystery and creation) has a wicked sense of humour. Anyone committed to a path of growth and exploration will soon discover the paradoxical nature of human life.

For example, how can everything matter and nothing matter all at once? How is it we can be infinite and finite simultaneously?

At some point, one surrenders to the head-spinning paradoxes and chooses to laugh.  

3. You love adventurously

Increased spiritual awareness often comes with an expanded experience and understanding of love. Ancient Sanskrit has 96 ways to describe love, ancient Persian has 80, and we have one in English. One!

In many spiritually transformative experiences, love in some form is often present whether it’s a love that transcends any one person or an intensely deepened personal love.

Spiritually savvy people often become a vehicle or vessel of love, embracing life as an adventure whereby love is infused in all that one does and in all encounters with others. 

4. You listen openly

Spiritually savvy folks listen beyond the words. They are attuned to the whole person speaking, what’s not said, body language, vibes, and the overall resonance of what a person is communicating.

Listening takes place with more than the ears — it is full of presence on all levels, body, mind, heart, and spirit. It’s the ability to hear a person in their own words and through their perspective. 

5. You share generously

Spirit operates beyond and through boundaries. In fact, spiritual experiences are known to often dissolve boundaries. As such, what we call "my family" can easily grow from blood-relations and a nuclear unit to one’s community, humanity, or even all of life itself.

Sharing generously becomes natural in a paradigm where everyone and everything is interconnected.

6. You learn continuously

Spiritually savvy folks understand that life and planet earth are wonderful classrooms. Every single experience is a potential opportunity for growth and learning. It won’t always be pleasant, but there’s always a takeaway, especially from life’s most challenging situations.

As one ripens spiritually, wisdom is a natural consequence. In other words, they become more Yoda-like. 

7. You create meaningfully

One of the sweet symptoms of spiritually transformative experiences can be an increase in the creative flow.

As one develops spiritually, there will often be a yearning to serve others in meaningful ways now and in generations to come. That means all that one creates is done so consciously, with clear intention, and for the greater good.

For some, they may feel they are a vessel in full service to a greater force, for the greater good. 

8. You walk authentically

Awakening spiritually is like getting naked. Far beyond shedding the clothes, it’s about getting comfortable with vulnerability, openness, simplicity, imperfection, and acceptance of oneself on all levels.

It means genuinely being ok with who you are, how you are, what you are, and where you are, and where you’ve been. It’s about embracing the natural beauty that is you and just doing you in the word, whatever that is.

9. You lead gracefully

Walking an authentic path in life means you’ll inevitably lead in some direction. This is by the simple virtue that when you’re being true to you, you shine your light. And when that happens, people naturally gather.

Spiritually savvy folks understand the responsibility and privilege of leadership and work in partnership with Grace to lead and be led. 

10. You live spontaneously

Waking up spiritually alters one’s sense of time. Boundaries on time-space reality loosen and expand. Being spiritually savvy invites us to stay connected to the eternal through the present ever-unfolding moment.

Although it’s perfectly possible to make plans and work within structures, there is also an aliveness accessible in the present moment that will often lead the way. As many spiritually savvy folks will know, there’s the "plan" with a little "p" (the personal plan) and then there’s the "Plan" with a big "P" that we don’t have control over.

Allowing space to live spontaneously means responding appropriately to the plan and the Plan as needed. 

Does any of this resonate? Are you one of the spiritually savvy stepping forward to play your role in this time of urgency on the planet? If you’ve read this far, I suspect so. 

Welcome aboard. You’re in good company. The world needs you. 


Originally published on Your Tango, expert thought leaders.

Photo credit to @edulauton