We are currently welcoming the mighty energy of the New Moon of Leo. Leo represents the energy of royalty and leadership, and its symbol is that of a lion. Just like the lion that leads his pride, Leo brims with confidence, strength, and ability. Those born under this sign are natural-born leaders, the self-assured and magnanimous. Leo is impossible to ignore and seeing as this energy is all about taking center stage, speaking up, and stepping into leadership; this is exactly what this month will invite you to do.
The kabbalists use the energy of the new moon as a guide for each month. By understanding and aligning with the aspects of each month’s unique energy, we are supported by it. We don’t need to be born under a sign to feel its effects, and knowing how to work with, it brings us powerful lessons and gifts. Every sign brings its own positive qualities—as well as challenging aspects—and Leo is no different.
The challenge of Leo is one of empathy, compassion, and understanding that with great power comes great responsibility. Leo is the energy of great teachers, and kings and queens, but any leader who lacks integrity is no leader at all. To lead without empathy and compassion is to do an incredible disservice to others. As we all collectively step into the spotlight of Leo, our invitation is to balance the opportunity to speak up, to stand up, and to own our greatness but also to listen, to support, and to put compassion first whether we’re the leader of a company or a family.
But how do we do this?
Brene Brown knows precisely how. She recently sat down with Russell Brand on his podcast Under the Skin (a podcast I highly recommend) to talk about Vulnerability & Power—a title that couldn’t possibly be more Leo. In the interview, they discuss everything from sobriety to religion to politics and the consistent theme is how to have compassion for someone different from you or, even more difficult, someone you judge. She’s had the opportunity to work with leaders, CEOs, teachers, and all types of humanitarians and activists, and says that of the most compassionate there is one quality she sees to be consistent throughout: “boundaries of steel.” It is our boundaries that enable us to have greater compassion.
Typically when we think of setting boundaries, we think of them in terms of ourselves. What we need, what makes us feel seen and heard, what helps us feel safe. From here, we draw the boundary lines around ourselves. But this is only the first step and, while it is an important one, this month we can look at how much more we can give when our boundaries are solid. Russell Brand commented on the difficulty of correlating radical compassion with steel boundaries.
It begins with a question from Brene: “What do I need in order to be my most compassionate? What boundaries need to be in place in order for me to be in my integrity and generous toward you?”
Integrity is defined as “firm adherence to a code of moral ethics” or “to be whole and complete.” Bringing ourselves into integrity is the first step to creating healthy boundaries, and being the most compassionate we can be. We are not in our integrity when we judge, gossip, hold resentment, or hide our true feelings. However, when we can look around at the people in our lives, even those who are incredibly difficult to love and remember that they are doing their very best our work of living in integrity can begin. We can start to be whole as we are now, create boundaries that support our growth and happiness, and as we guard them, we can love everyone around us even better.
Brene’s example is of a family friend who would attend her yearly pool party and routinely drink to excess, finally to the point of passing out. Brene has been sober for many, many years, and when the time came to send out invites again, she paused at this friend’s name. Her behavior had made Brene uncomfortable, it made her kids uncomfortable, and it was a massive source of gossip among her other guests. For Brene to be in her integrity—to be the mast of her experience and happiness AND be a good friend—she would need to draw a new boundary.
So she had a face-to-face with her friend. This is a hugely uncomfortable conversation to have. She shared her boundary, which was while her friend was invited if she wanted to attend, she could not drink.
Some might shudder at the thought of having a conversation like this and Brene did too, so much that she rehearsed the conversation over and over in her mind. But the alternative was not acceptable if she ended up inviting her, potentially watch as she drank to excess again, and might end up lying to her children about what was going on. All of which would be outside of Brene’s integrity. Instead, she set a non-judgmental boundary reiterating that she wanted her friend to be there.
Her friend reacted defensively and didn’t attend the party. But Brene didn’t soften the boundary and said that even though her friend’s response was angry and hurtful, that she continued loving her.
When we get clear within ourselves about what we need, and we communicate it despite the initial discomfort, we become the leader of our own life. We are nurturing ourselves in such a way that we have more to give, we have more compassion, and we have more profound empathy.
As the month of Leo arrives, take a minute to ask yourself what coming into deeper integrity looks like for you. Is it having an awkward conversation with a friend or family member? Is kicking a bad habit that you have? Is it repairing a relationship? Whatever is, use the bright, robust, and regal energy of Leo to take those steps and then set new, “boundaries of steel” around your integrity and your happiness. And as you do, offer compassion to those around you, be generous with your kindness, and watch your life change as you guard your boundaries with the power and grace of the lion inside of you.
THOUGHT INTO ACTION
What does integrity look like for you? Have firm boundaries served you in the past? In what ways? I would love to hear your thoughts.