We all have a Maria in our workplace, have encountered one, or we are one. Healed leaders nurture the Marias and allow their powerful, beautiful spirits that bring joy, play, innovation and balance into the workplace to be embraced. Wounded leadership, leadership that cannot connect to the gold in another’s heart, because they haven’t connected to the gold in theirs, crushes Maria. A wounded team under a wounded leader will simply say “Maria is not an asset to the abbey” as she simply “doesn’t fit” or is “childish” (and having way too much joy in life). And so Maria is fired and the team remain the grumpy unproductive lot they are.

So, “how do you catch a cloud and pin it down? how do you keep a wave upon the sand? how do you hold a moon beam in your hand?” Well, the cloud provides joyful shade on a hot, scorched day of hours of heated meetings and crazy targets. The wave brings constant refreshment to you and the team spirit, with new perspectives from the deep ocean, washing away old/stale ideas and mindsets and bringing a cool breeze filled with life and rest in a joyful smile or joke. The moon beam shines, offering hope on a day when the team is feeling beaten, battered and bruised.

The healed leader doesn’t smother the moon beam in her hand with micromanaging and crushing of her spirit via harsh words and belittling statements to make an example of her. She dares to let the moon beam fully shine, beholding the stars accompanying it. With this daring approach, Maria’s light is free to shine on endless possibilities as endless as the night’s stars and provide just enough light for the team to navigate the dark hours. After all, “the sun will come out tomorrow”.

Maria is not a problem to solve, she’s an asset to work with, grow with and learn from. She may need some structure and patience, but you may find she does more for you and your team than you do for her. Plus, she’s probably the most honest person on your team and her “penitence is real” (that should at least count for something too right?). We must find a place for the Marias (or Martins), if not only because within us, we all have a Maria. Let’s at least honour that :-). I personally am allowing Maria to surface more in me and around me, she carries with her joy, peace, adventure, healing and comfort. A mysterious beauty to behold. A glimpse into the “multifacetedness” and magnificence of the various dimensions of the human soul. What wonderfully complex creations we are.

Embrace the Maria in you and others. The world would be a more joyful place and the workplace a more enjoyable place to do 9-5. Lets remember “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22)”




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