A Loving Heart is Not a Weakness

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Spend some time with the People of Heart; In their presence, you’ll find a heart too.

If you thirst for the beauty of the eternal Beloved, where might you look?

Since your heart is a mirror, Take a look there.  – ‘Abd al-Rahman Jami

I found this wonderful little poem in a book called “Love’s Alchemy”, a collection of poems from the Sufi tradition. I am enthralled by the advice in the first line, “Spend some time with the People of Heart.”  What is a person of heart? At first glance, we may think of someone who is sappy and romantic. Or, we may determine it’s someone with gumption and passion. But there is something about the capital letters that let me know that these People of Heart are not people with a sentimental Hallmark card kind of love, but people of a fierce kind of love — love that is strong enough to change me. And immediately I want to know these people; I want to spend some time with them.

For a time, our culture attempted to cheapen the idea of love, trivialize the heart and drain it of its power. Romantic comedies showed us that to have a heart of love was to be the damsel in distress, the princess singing in the woods, as she awaited her knight in shining armor. Reality television portrayed a heart desiring love as a competition that was actually more about drama than love. Cheesy catch-phrases printed on heart-shaped candies exchanged every February threaten to diminish a true declaration of love.

But now, we begin to reinvent our understanding of “heart.” The tide is shifting as we learn to see a person of heart as someone with strength, empowerment, not weakness. A person of heart is filled with a fierce transformative love that is contagious.

Heart is turning up in books about business and leadership. We are recognizing that we cannot survive without heart. No longer is heart to be relegated to our private lives and left out of our workplaces and the public realm. There is a wisdom that comes with a fiercely loving heart that is essential for healing ourselves, our businesses, our institutions, our planet.

In Leadership on the Line, the authors who are faculty at the John F. Kennedy Business School at Harvard University, conclude with a chapter entitled “Sacred Heart.” A sacred heart is a fierce heart because it has the courage to “feel everything, to hold it all without letting go of your work.” A sacred heart can experience pain — can live in the tension of polarities — and not go numb. A sacred heart is filled with wisdom and rooted in compassion. Similarly, the business guru, Ken Blanchard says, “We believe if leaders don’t get the heart right, they simply won’t ever become servant leaders.”

When leaders are connected to their heart, they lead with strength, wholeness, and kindness. They are filled with compassion for their clients, employees, and colleagues. Compassion can no longer be viewed as a weakness. Compassion stems from strength, assurance, and selflessness that is inspiring to others. In fact, in the Book of John, Jesus Christ tells his disciples, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” That is not a picture of weakness, that is a picture of fierce, transformative love.

Do you want to understand this kind of love? The poem tells us that in order for you and I to better understand the heart, we must “spend some time with the People of Heart.” You intuitively know who they are, don’t you? You can walk into any Seton Cove program and you are in the midst of them, but they are also in the supermarket checkout line, driving down Mopac, in the office next to yours, and perhaps sitting across the dinner table from you. The poet urges us to “take a look there.” Show them your mirror heart and you both will be transformed.

If you’d like more information on how to connect with us at Seton Cove, call our office at 512-451-0272 or email us. Our community will empower you to view your heart as your greatest strength and never a sign of weakness.