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The Power of Presence

by Jennifer Farner 

Be a sister to every Girl Scout. 

Those words rolled around my mind this week as I wandered the busy streets of Ubud, Bali- an interesting thing to think about as you’re traveling halfway around the world. 

But Girl Scouts knows no borders.

As I watched people going about their days, laying out offerings in front of temples, inviting passing tourists into their shops, and navigating crazy traffic, I asked, “what does it really mean to be a sister to every Girl Scout? Is it the same here in Bali as it is in America? Does culture play a role in how we show up for each other as women or what we need from a “sister”? 

As if the universe was listening to my thoughts, I met a woman who answered my questions. 

Her name is Rai. She’s a petite Balinese woman in her 40s with a bright smile and bubbly personality. She is the owner of a small shop where she sells clothing she designed herself. As I browsed the rack of dresses, we talked about her designs, things to see in Ubud, and how grateful we both were that Bali was open to tourists again. As we spoke, her voice trailed off for a moment and I could see that even though she was smiling she was holding back tears. 

I paused and gave her my full attention and a gentle smile as if to say “it’s ok”. Then her whole body melted as she let herself cry and shared what’s been weighing on her. 

Her landlord had just informed her that she would need to move at the end of the month. Financially exhausted from trying to survive the last two years, she didn’t know what she was going to do. She had poured everything into her dream of owning a business and could lose it within a week. She worried about her family and employees. On top of this, just a year ago, she lost her mom - the person who always knew what to do and say.

The relief on her face after sharing a piece of her heart with me was immense. She was lighter, brighter, like a weight had been lifted. Though her problems were still there, she felt they were not as heavy.

Rai is a lot like me – and maybe like you too – carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders and holding it together for everyone else despite feeling a painful ache inside. When someone asks how she’s doing, she smiles and says “fine” but really, she’s not. 

As I listened in that moment, I realized what it means to be a sister to every Girl Scout: It’s about presence. Sometimes that presence is listening deeply and holding space for the tears to flow, while other times are full of fun, silliness, and deep belly laughs. 

But in the end, it’s always about being present. Authentically, and intentionally present.

Being present is something we practice in Authentic Leadership Community (ALC). Deep presence fosters connections that are impactful, deep, and lasting. The kind of connections we all yearn for. The ones where we can feel safe to let down our guard and be our authentic selves. The kind I’ve been blessed to experience and witness at our ALC retreats and during our regular meetings. 

If this resonated with you on any level, I invite you to join us at the next Authentic Leadership Community retreat in November. Come experience and embody what it means to be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Want to learn more about the Authentic Leadership Community? Check us out here and review the Authentic Girl Scout Leadership Book.