Fearlessly Free March 2014
Part II – From:
"The Creative Process: A Portal to ‘Not-Knowing’”
~ the Non-Verbal Language of Transformation ~
In January of 2010 I was asked to design and lead a training for the annual company meeting of an international consulting firm, which delivers its work in 8 languages and whose focus clients are Global Fortune 1000 companies. Their work impacts hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. They are in the process of expanding their company’s purpose as well as supporting each employee in defining his/her own purpose in order to best recognize whether their individual commitment is aligned with the company commitment. What became clear in the presentation of my material was that, much like the inter-culturists mentioned earlier, theirs was no longer a question of designing new technology, but rather that each employee be able to discover their own authentic essence within, catalyze it, and emanate the resulting authenticity as they delivered the already mastered technology. This type of awakening is at the heart of the evolution of leadership, and generates humility as well as a fascinated deep listening for another’s perceptions. This is also at the heart of self-actualization, and generates humility and a deep listening for expansion in one’s own listening of one’s self: a new realm of possibility, an emerging reality. From the feedback, the result of the presentation that day was a renewed sense of inspiration for the employees, coupled with a renewed commitment to the company’s purpose, and a commitment by the organization to support each employee in achieving the goals they set for themselves. It became obvious that this would further the actualization of the company’s purpose.
One thing I have learned is that any enlightenment I have attained is not so much the result of noble pursuit as it is waking up to the fact that my face has been in the dirt for a long time and maybe I don’t really know what I’m doing and it’s time to get up, brush myself off and have the wherewithal to listen for what I don’t know. This was certainly part of the process of creating a personal purpose, which finally resonated into words from the essence of what I am committed to. The purpose is in fact now the articulation of who I say I am as a possibility. It took some courage to keep creating just the right combination of phrasing in the face of wanting to “do it right” or “look good” or “look intelligent”, yet now I have a verbalization that I can truly say is the default against which I can measure what I commit to: “I am committed that people are free from the limitations of the past, profoundly present, generating lives of authentic self-expression and joy”.
This process by the way is not dissimilar to the process of creating a painting. In the words of my dear painting mentor, Larry Robinson: “If you don’t hate this painting at some point in the process, it’s not going to be a good painting!” In the realm of creative self-expression there is an angst with which we must engage, working with it, tolerating its discomfort, until harmony unfolds. In the painter’s case, we engage through the brush; in the case of a remarkable human being, through a purpose, a commitment to something bigger than one’s self. If we allow it, transformation has its way with us.
“Look at any inspired painting. It’s like a gong sounding; it puts you in a state of reverberation.”
~ Artist Philip Guston
Become a catalyst for your personal purpose, a catalyst for yourself as well as for others in your world. Becoming a catalyst for your personal purpose is like a gong sounding; it puts you and your world in a state of reverberation, transmuting old worn-out discourses into new realms of possibility.
While I was interning in graduate school, the psychiatrist who was the medical director of our clinic for the county’s most challenging persistently mentally ill, became quite frustrated with me for being so idealistic with my patients. He said I was not reality-based enough to be able to assist them. I replied as respectfully as I could that, perhaps he was right, but my perspective was to see the possible best in every patient in order to elicit the same from them, in spite of their presentation. I can see in retrospect that, essentially, this was my purpose - not yet articulated but already living - for my patients: “Free from the limitations of the past, profoundly present …”. I never read the clinical reports on my patients until after I met with them, because I didn’t want my initial assessment to be contaminated by the previous clinicians’ diagnoses. As a result of allowing myself to “not know”, I was able to perceive possibilities with these patients that very likely wouldn’t have occurred to me had I assumed the reality of accepted clinical diagnoses and reports. Of course I read the reports later, but I had by then been able to bring a fresh perspective to what was assumed, thereby achieving some very unusually positive results with patients diagnosed as people who would never improve. Interestingly enough, my work with them was so effective, that a year later the medical director requested supervision from me on my particular methodology.
So when the going gets tough, in the face of resistance, there is a calling from my personal purpose which has me remember what the commitment is: “People being free, profoundly present, authentically self-expressed, and joyful”. If I am creating myself as a clearing for this intention, this commitment I have for myself, and I am suggesting that others get up from the dirt, I had better be vertical myself, with some visible traces of the sludge remaining.
What Does the Naked Eye See?
Were we to suspend our personal perspective, or at least our attachment to our personal perspective, a good question to ask might be: “What does the naked eye see?” With this question we enter the world of symbolism. As we simply be with what is in our midst, from the stance of the naked eye, we would not bring evaluation or assessment, we would bring curiosity and simple interest, synonyms for “not-knowing”. This would allow for seeing something new. The artist must develop a tolerance for the discomfort of not-knowing, because as she exhausts her known ways of creating and the piece is still not working, she must allow the muse of creativity to educate her as to the next step, the next brushstroke, the next note. She is basically listening for the next choice, the answer to: how to proceed?
Listening from this realm of not-knowing, with mental attention turned away from the noise of the stored data of the intellect, and turned toward listening simply through the silence of the “naked eye”, insight emerges. New possibility is heard and brilliance radiates. There is always a background of harmonious music in Life, but what are we listening to: the cacophony of the noise from the thinking in our intellect, our stored memory, or the melodious harmonics of Life Itself?
Inspiration unfolds, taking the form necessary for the fulfillment of the creation: painting to be expressed, words to be written or spoken, parenting to be done, business plan to be developed, patient to be healed. New realities and new realms emerge from the Source of everything and no thing. Empty and meaningless morph into what is needed, according to the character of the thought of the need. We become the conduit through which the creative Source forms Itself. We allow transformation to express through us into our worlds.
Excerpt from white paper by Laura Basha, Ph.D.
Conference for Global Transformation, May 2010
“Best Paper” Award