spiritual emergence

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

Darkness To Light To A Global Movement featuring Kelly Walsh (aka The Positivity Princess)

Welcome to the latest episode of #TakeNOTE ~ the place to be to make the most of your Non-Ordinary Transcendent Experiences!

NOTEs often bring about an insatiable desire to help others and make the world a better place. In this episode, we speak with Kelly Michelle Walsh (aka the Positivity Princess), who is one such person. Her purpose is "to help you shine so friggin bright the world needs to wear sunglasses!" 

We discuss:

  •  Kelly's suicide attempt that led to a near-death experience and gave her a mission to fulfil on planet earth
  • the ups and downs after an awakening experience
  • the importance of an anchoring person or community as one goes through transformation
  • navigating the mental health system as a NOTEs experiencer and how you can help as a loved one or mental health professional
  • Kelly's experience-based perspective on suicide and what happens beyond the physical with those who suicide
  • the birth of a movement to create more positivity on this planet (with the help of those in the physical, those no longer in the physical, and other non-local forces) and how you can get involved

A whole heap of loving goodness and real talk in this interview.

You can get in touch with Kelly here

And join the Positivity Power movement here

The book "The Transformative Power of Near Death Experiences: How the Messages of NDEs Can Positively Impact the World" with a prologue from Neale Donald Walsch is available from Amazon and other online sellers. Highly recommended.

SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and never miss an episode of quality content to grow your spiritual health and life wealth.

Shine on beautiful people.

Navigating Spiritual Awakening & Its Challenges with Dr Bonnie Greenwell

For more than 30 years, Dr. Bonnie Greenwell has specialized in mentoring people going through transformative experiences relating to spiritual awakening and the kundalini process. Among many hats, Bonnie founded and directed the Kundalini Research Network, established the Shanti River Center and has authored several key books on awakening.

We discuss her latest book When Spirit Leaps: Navigating The Process Of Spiritual Awakening.

Plus:

  • What is kundalini?
  • What is non-dualism?
  • How do we awaken?
  • Major common obstacles to transformation
  • What does liberation look like?

Life beyond spiritual emergence: an interview with Katie Mottram

Had a fun time last night in an interview with the delightful Katie Mottram, creatress of the #EmergingProud movement that seeks to give voice to those “coming out of the spiritual closet”. We talk #thepowerofNOTEs, research findings, and I share about some of my own NOTEs and how they brought me to this work.

Katie is doing amazing work bridging the gap between mental health services and challenging spiritual emergence experiences. If you want to share your experiencer story, hear others, or seek resources in this area, check out all the goodies at https://emergingproud.com/

Jung On Yoga by Prof. Dario Nardi: a book review


Originally published in The Bulletin of Psychological Type. Vol. 41, Issue 6, 2017

Editor’s Note

Doing a book review is incredibly time consuming. We are very appreciative of both Nicole Gruel’s expertise and time committed to review Dario Nardi’s new book for us. I love Nicole’s description of “Nardi’s erudite yet whimsical style of presentation.” This book is both expert and eclectic. Not just anyone could have reviewed this for us, so I’m especially grateful to this contribution from Nicole.

Happy Type Watching to you, and Happy Type Reading, too,

Carol Linden


Jung on Yoga: Insights and Activities to Awaken with the Chakras. Dario Nardi. 2017. Los Angeles, CA: Radiance House. 140 pages.

When Jung unveiled Psychological Types in 1921, he went to great lengths to explain his theory of individuation. Namely, he believed the opposition of forces within the psyche creates important opportunities for a person to transcend the tension and continually grow to new ways of being and knowing in the world. With the posthumous release of what he considered his most important oeuvre, The Red Book: Liber Novus (2009), we further know that his theory of psychological type was intended to be a dynamic tool to venture into, through, and beyond the wilderness of psyche. Indeed, in the years he grappled with the unconscious he was also writing Psychological Types, attempting to encapsulate his psychology of consciousness. Jung, at his core, was intrigued by how we can actively experience the divine within whilst best making use of our natural typological tendencies. At the same time, he forewarned of his typology’s potential to become a mere “childish parlour game” of labeling, a reality manifest today that would likely have him turning in his grave.

Dario Nardi’s Jung on Yoga is an insightful breath of fresh air that returns typology to its intended roots of individuation and active awakening. Its hope is, as Nardi says, echoing Yogi Bhajan, to bring greater health, happiness, and holiness. The book uses Jung’s 1932 lectures on kundalini yoga as a jumping off point for a broad and fascinating synthesis of typology, individuation, the yogic chakra system, neuroscience, and entheogens. It is where depth psychology meets transpersonal psychology and modern brain science. Through it, Nardi has attempted to reconcile Jung’s interpretation of the chakras—a system of centers through the body that receive, assimilate, and express life-force energy—with the actual descriptions found in yoga. Nardi has further added his own creative twist with symbolic imagery and practical activities to help the reader grasp, engage, and integrate vast bodies of information.

Part One of the book provides a broad overview introducing kundalini yoga, the chakras as both biological centers and psycho-spiritual gateways, Jung’s interest in the chakras, and how the journey of individuation relates to awakening levels of consciousness.

Part Two takes a deep dive into each chakra, presenting and elaborating upon Jung’s descriptions. Each chakra is complemented by mindful activities and self-reflective prompts so the reader can actively engage personal growth and even self-score a chakra profile. Unlike the regular seven-fold model of the chakras, here we find an additional version of the third eye chakra with a quintessentially Jungian flavor, which Nardi names Jung’s 6th chakra of psyche and imagination. It is in this center that we “tap strange imagery from the unconscious, get in touch with the many archetypes, and perform alchemy for spiritual growth” (p.57). Whether Jung confused the Sanskrit names of the higher chakras with their function, fundamentally misunderstood them, was misinformed, or simply took creative liberties, his somewhat unconventional western interpretations nonetheless add to a richer modern conception of the chakras.

In keeping with Jung’s fondness of mandalas for exploration and resolution, Nardi has similarly provided summative tableaus filled with symbolic imagery for each chakra to help the reader get in touch with themselves. The tableaus are a combination of traditional yogic chakra symbolism, thematic aspects of Jung’s descriptions, and Nardi’s playful imagination. The outer frames of each tableau represent the gradual dissolving of ego boundaries as one moves from the root to the crown chakra. Each is far more than an intriguing picture; the tableaus alone are transformative tools for the visually inclined.

Part Three offers ways to practically work with the chakras through basic kundalini yoga exercises. Much like attending a yoga class, Nardi guides the reader through several body, breath, and mindfulness practices that can easily be incorporated into one’s practice. Such exercises were traditionally practiced with the guidance of a teacher and within the safety of a sacred space, such as an ashram, with full awareness of their potency and potential to awaken the practitioner as they were designed to do. Nardi appropriately recommends one finds a guide if venturing beyond the basics and discusses the signs, symptoms, and what to do in the case of a sudden release of life-force energy.

This section also touches on tantric yoga—the harmonizing and exchanging of male and female energies—which aligns well with Jung’s concept of the anima/animus and what he believed to be their inevitable encounter in the journey of individuation. There is a complementary checklist of the chakras for couples to explore.

Also included in this part is an overview of the nervous system and what occurs neurologically during awakening and altered states of consciousness. In addition to yoga, Nardi discusses various other methods and traditions of psycho-spiritual transformation, including the ceremonial use of entheogens.

Part Four, aptly titled “More Jung”, presents Jung’s model of the psyche and suggestions for how the chakras relate to the types. Nardi postulates that the transcendent function acts as a “motor for growth” as one develops through the chakras over a lifetime. This is one of the book’s most significant contributions as it links the chakra system to a key aspect of Jung’s theory in a way that Jung himself did not. The table on chakras as developmental levels (p.115) neatly compresses this idea and the spiral chart (p.121) presents an alternate model of individuating and eventual awakening through the chakras.

Once again, practical activities are provided, this time for specifically developing Jung’s 6th chakra and working with opposites in the chakras. Interestingly, a final note compares ego development in the east and west—an important distinction to keep in mind when navigating Jung’s thoughts on any one of the many eastern philosophies and concepts he explored.

Part Five wraps up this grand tour with the Wheel of Conscious Experience, a tool to “stay awake” beyond transformative experiences. In it, Nardi has brought together stages of individuation with various states of consciousness and activities for psycho-spiritual growth. It allows the reader to locate where one is in life’s great journey and to shift to the next natural phase when the time is appropriate. It is a means of keeping the alchemical process of transformation alive and well.

Overall, this book is an ambitious effort that brings together several dense subjects in a light and practical manner. True to Nardi’s erudite yet whimsical style of presentation, this text is sure to become a favorite in any type lover’s library as well as a frequent go-to reference. For those who dare to accept the challenge and embark on diligent self- exploration through this book, hold onto your chakras . . . you’re in for a treat!

What Are NOTEs and How Can We Work With Them?

My first ever FB live with Inner World Village Coach, Megan Baker. Please excuse the tech hiccups and sudden ending! We discuss what NOTEs are, the good, the challenging, and their integration.

Special announcement in the video: In partnership with IANDS (International Association of Near Death Studies), we will be starting Online Sharing Groups for NDE and other NOTE experiencers. If you’d like to join a group, please contact IANDS. Our first pilot group, which I will facilitate, will begin March/April 2018.

It Ain’t Funny, Until It’s Funny: Encountering The Great Cosmic Joke


Originally published in the Shades of Awakening online magazine, Issue #3, January 2018.

Shades News, a curated look at some of the projects and offerings from our Shades Forum members and the broader Spiritual Emergence(y) and Transformational Crisis community. Shades of Awakening is a community platform providing a safe container to ask questions and have conversations about such topics.


I remember the first time I encountered The Great Cosmic Joke. I was dutifully scrubbing the shower floor at an ashram in the picturesque countryside of Australia. At that time I took spirituality rather seriously. I woke at 4am each morning to pour warm salty water through my nostrils, practiced yoga postures several times a day, read as much of the recommended texts as I could, took pains to pronounce every Sanskrit word accurately, wore the right coloured clothes, was acutely attuned to the ins and outs of every breath, and aspired to embody a yogic path as perfectly as possible.

As I crouched on the shower floor that morning, fixated on the tiles whilst inhaling a cleaning mix of vinegar and eucalyptus oil, my entire life spontaneously flashed before me.

For some reason the absurdity of it all—life that is—hit me hard and I burst into a long hysterical laughter. Its beauty. Its brevity. Its poignancy that is but a mere pinprick in the eternity of time. I felt like I’d been whacked with a cosmic baseball bat. The game of life I thought I’d been playing revealed that, actually, all along I’d been played. It was literally rolling on the shower floor, tears streaming down my face, laughing so hard there is no sound, can’t make it stop, people getting worried kind of moment.

I’ve never quite been the same since. I’ve also become far more relaxed.

Laughter, as we know, provides numerous benefits from major feel-good endorphin rushes to better physical, emotional, mental, and social health. It works magic in the family, the workplace, and especially the bedroom! In the context of awakening experiences, there are even more benefits this grand trickster provides. It helps keep the rabbit holes light, reveals irony, and cultivates the ability to live with the paradoxes of non-ordinary transcendent experiences (NOTEs).

And given all that NOTEs experiencers go through, sometimes there really is nothing else to do but laugh.

It’s no accident that The Fool in tarot is unnumbered, giving him the ability to have both the first and final laugh. Nor is it an accident that the fat jolly man of the ten Buddhist Ox Herding pictures (a visual representation of an awakening process) makes his debut in the final image of the series—a representation of successful integration and full participation back in the ordinary world. In naïveté lies a certain kind of wisdom, and vice versa.

That meeting with the Universe’s wicked and twisted sense of humor was, for me, the first of many to come. Over the years, and having spoken with many NOTEs experiencers, I’ve found that the ability to see divine comedy at play is most helpful for those who live the extraordinary within the ordinary.

Ironically, it often ain’t funny at all, until it’s really funny.

Laughter doesn’t excuse or diminish situations that need addressing. Nor is it an excuse for inaction or spiritual bypassing. Rather, the capacity to have a laugh no matter the situation can provide welcome relief and warmth, especially throughout and beyond the disorientation that can accompany awakening processes.

Life at any given time might be painful, ugly, or a glorious mess. Regardless, it seems that as long as there’s just a glint of humor to be found in the mighty madness of it all, everything becomes just that little bit easier.

Laughter really may just be the best kind of medicine out there!