You Get What You Feel

“The earth and myself are of one mind.”

—Chief Joseph

“Hey, Dad, what’s wrong?” one of our daughters asks.

Whenever I’m asked that question, I’m a tad disappointed (in myself), and yet fascinated by the intuition of the person who has spotted what I was trying to conceal.

We’re together as a family, so I’m happy! Yet parallel to that reality on this occasion, something else has a piece of my mind. As a result, I’m a bit distracted, not fully present. I don’t want anyone to know this, so I try to conceal the mood. Yet I still get caught and called out, almost every time, without fail. Ha!

They know me too well, I say to myself. It’s like they can feel my energy.

As it turns out, we can actually feel the energy of others, and if you contemplate this reality, you know it’s true.

How is that possible? Aren’t we each completely separate organisms with no physical or energetic connection to any other person, plant, or animal except ourselves?

Feeling the emotional and spiritual state of another happens by virtue of our oneness, our connectivity.


In recent decades modern physicists, particularly those working at the subatomic level, have uncovered the edge of a dramatic truth that was known thousands of years ago by most ancient indigenous societies. The universe (everything) is a single unified field of energy (“universe” = “unified”). In the space between the objects—say, between you and the nearest wall—you can see that there’s a force—a web or matrix, if you will—and it links us to all that has and shall exist.

This single field of energy contains all the learning, loss, laughter, tears, and emotions of all humanity across all human time. Therefore, every individual experience adds to the collective understanding of the whole. It’s what the Sioux tribes of the northern plains have referred to for generations as Mitakuye Oyasin, which translates as “All things are one thing.” Separateness, as we have come to perceive it, is an illusion. Recognizing this is the awareness that changes everything.

Emotional energy is not only detectable, but contagious and transferable.

I coached basketball for many years and made this understanding a priority in my approach. If I was nervous, I knew the team would reflect that emotion. If I lacked confidence, so would they. Conversely, if I was enthusiastic and having fun, they would follow suit. Our energy as a team was interconnected. In fact, I’ve never been on a team that didn’t share a common energy bond during any given moment in a game or practice.

I’ve seen this in business as well. Our company operates out of sixteen locations, and every one of them takes on the personality of the management team on-site.

All the energy of the universe is interconnected, including your own.

But here’s the most unexpected and transformational part of this story: When it comes to emotions, you get what you feel. Although we may perceive that we feel (or experience) what we get, it’s actually the other way around. Your mood, perception, and expectations become your reality. Earth is a place where humans project their emotions onto a canvas that then becomes your view of the world.

I saw this as an athlete as well. I made my living as a college basketball player shooting three-point jump shots. My junior year I shot 50 percent from behind that line (still a school record), yet I doubt there was a single game that year in which I made 50 percent. It was more like some nights I shot 70 percent and other nights, 30 percent—most of which was triggered by my own internal perception of my shot on that evening. In other words, I selected my confidence level and then it became real. In this way I created what I experienced. I created what became my reality.

Have you ever had a sudden mood shift—in the snap of a finger, something sets you off? In that instant your entire view changes, darkens.

The same is true in reverse. Someone or something triggers a great burst of joy, happiness, or optimism, and boom—the entire world lightens.

But what’s different? The only variable is the emotion you select.

Ours is a world designed to give us what we feel. The energy of the universe that connects us all is a mirror through which we experience that which we select. It’s a paradigm-altering awakening to realize that when it comes to emotions, you project on the outside what you choose on the inside.

So, remember—the world you’re seeing right now is the one you’ve chosen to see.

“Through the reality makers of imagination, expectations, judgment, passion, and prayer, we galvanize each possibility into existence.”

—Gregg Braden, The Divine Matrix


Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours.

Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.



“The function of prayer is not to influence God,
but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

—Soren Kierkegaard

Catherine, speaking only in Lakota, conversed with the buffalo scattered across the high grasslands of what is today Wind Cave National Park in present-day South Dakota.

The wind blew as it always does here, as the low dark clouds dragged themselves by. Whippoorwills sang and then answered their own calls. As each buffalo passed by, Catherine waved. These were not just unrelated and detached animals she was watching. The buffalo and the Lakota people have long been brothers and sisters. This was family, and as such, this was a reunion.

Despite this being traditional Lakota land, Catherine had never been to Wind Cave National Park, and it had been a long time since she’d been in the presence of buffalo. For Catherine, each buffalo was a related spirit, and she acknowledged them as such. Toward the end of our visit, she raised her hands in prayer. Eyes closed, she prayed . . . and she prayed. Given that her words were in Lakota, I understood nothing, yet I understood everything.

* * *

Catherine always prays. I’ve never spent a day with her, shared a meal with her, or exchanged a text message with her that did not involve prayer. Prayer is, for Catherine, central to how one navigates this world and embraces the next.

Catherine Grey Day was born on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Coming of age, she experienced firsthand the harshness of reservation life in the 1950s, as well as the tribal protests against the historic oppression of her people in the 1960s and ’70s. She attended boarding school where she was sent to be “remade” in the white person’s image.

As an adult Catherine escaped abuse, fleeing alone in the middle of the night from her home. She buried one son in his early twenties, and then a few years later, did the same for the other. She later opened clinics and safe houses for other native women escaping domestic abuse. She had homes, and was homeless. Catherine is simultaneously a realist and an optimist. In the same conversation she will laugh and she will cry. And all the while, she prays.

“I have many spirit guides,” Catherine once told me. “There are those I know and those I don’t recognize, but I talk and pray with them all. Some people think I’m crazy because I talk to them, but I don’t care. They’re with me all the time.

“Each morning, alone during coffee, I pray,” Catherine continues. “I pray for lots of people, so it takes a long time. Prayer is real. It’s heard by the spirit world and it travels as energy to those I am praying for. I pray for you, Kevin. I pray for your family and employees in Maine. I pray for everyone I know and care about. I even pray for those who have hurt me.”

* * *


I am a spiritualist who is also attracted to science. This dual interest has led me to realize that scientists and spiritualists are actually on the trail of the same universal truths.

One of my favorite books on this subject is The Field, by Lynne McTaggart. Her thesis is that all the energy of the Universe is actually connected by an invisible web of electromagnetic threads. There is no separation or detachment. What happens to one reverberates across all.

“During the past few years science and medicine have been converging with common sense, confirming a widespread belief that everything―especially the mind and the body―is far more connected than traditional physics ever allowed.  Our body extends electromagnetically beyond ourselves and it is within this field that we can find a remarkable new way of looking at health, sickness, memory, will, creativity, intuition, the soul, consciousness, and spirituality.”

-Lynn McTaggert

With this fresh scientific insight, let us revisit the indigenous commitment to prayer that Catherine espouses. Catherine has long understood that prayer is real. That it travels. That it is heard. That spirit responds. Prayer is connected. Its energy moves.

This spiritual understanding of prayer suddenly has a scientific underpinning. If all energy is connected, then that includes thought energy. In this context ideas would reverberate. Prayer, which is nothing more than deep, intentional thought, would therefore move with purpose across space and time.

The Lakota have long known that everything is connected. Mitakuye Oyasin, they say, which translates as “All things are one thing,” or “We are all brothers.” It is with this understanding that Catherine speaks to the buffalo and prays for their well-being.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Catherine, and I’m pretty sure she knows something about prayer that the rest of us could build upon. In fact, if my experiences at Pine Ridge have taught me anything, it’s that the old wisdom is the pathway toward new wisdom. So pray on Catherine, pray on.


“In the silence of the heart, God speaks.”

—Mother Teresa


Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.


This is the thirty-fifth post in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021. Kevin is dedicating these writings in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk. To invite others to join The Business of Shared Leadership and receive these posts, just pass this link along. The more who join, the deeper the energy field of engagement will become! Thank you!