The role of the artist as provocateur and prophet throughout history is widely acknowledged; these are likewise roles played by great leaders. Below are brief thoughts as to a few of the territories these roles mutually navigate in each of us, internally and externally by the artist and by the leader within each of us.
Artists and leaders each contribute perspective to their communities. Perceiving the world differently in some fashion is the kernel of contribution; no matter who we are, we sit in the Circle of Life in a place of our own and so carry the potential of gifting the world with our perspective.
Passion and caring are the fire fueling the creativity and commitment required to give one’s life in service of something larger than ourselves. The seed motivation may arise out of being ‘blissed or pissed’1 and still be of service to ourselves and the world.
Motivations arising out of our vanities of proving self-worth… invite the activation of our psychological shadow energies and are likely to support and energies the polarities or oppositions of our very caring.
The capacity to receive inspiration is a kind of receptivity or attunement, a kind of listening to a certain vibration or hue or texture in the world. The receiving of such is akin to drinking of the Waters of Life.
The felt presence of a certain biopsychosocial tension is likely to feed perspective, passion, motivation and inspiration for action.
By the word vision here I intend to reference the alchemical transmutation or emerging energy that arises when perspective, passion, inspiration and tension… are each present in the cauldron of the human spirit.
I do not mean here the discipline imposed from an external source but the commitment to practice and learning that emerges from within as we risk embracing our wild joys, our true cares, our deep desires.
There are as many mediums for artists and leaders to play in as there are selves in the world. The discovery of ‘fit’ is often the touching of what is yet wild within us; the matching of this fit with what the world will reward us for…is the proverbial challenge of the artist.
Ah yes, to find one’s voice…is the expression of one’s authentic self with competence and beauty. It is to become One in a certain way with the Breath of Life.
All of the above arise out of the quantity and quality of listening with which we attend to both ourselves and the world. The deeper we are willing to descend into the void of silence…the more creative will be our vision and the more harmonic will be our voice with the music of the mystery out of which we are born, live in, and can never be separate from.
It is in this territory that the self dies as it passes through the baptism of vulnerability, and is reborn as the heart and mind crack open to the grand Wholeness of Life.
In this place, the artist and leader are One: We are not separate from this impulse, flow and wild resiliency of Life itself. It is this radical affirmation of Life that the leader within each of us points toward.
1Bill O’Hanlan often speaks and writes of the “blissed or pissed” dynamic.