Ten Top Ideas about Art and Leadership
Author: Mahalene Louis
Is there a potent mission to being an artist at the time of the 9/11 and of a depressed economy? Could it be that troubled times are indicative of the tremendous societal need for visionaries to show up as leaders, and offer ecologically sound creative solutions to the current challenges humanity is facing? And if there is truth to the contemporary artist mindset appearing to be enslaved by its own conditioned beliefs and subsequent identities, how then can it be freed? This presentation will progress through ten ideas revealing a pathway for artists to travel. It will reveal how the creative power to be shifting reality can promote the success and acceptance for which artists have longed. It will stress how coming back to serving the community will "multidimensionalize" the process of art making and give it meaning. In this journey, the ten following principles build upon each other to illuminate what artists and leaders have in common: the fierceness of their vision.
If communication is the main purpose of art disciplines, in what ways can one make it proficient? And if it is the artist's passion and raison d'être to express, how can he/she convey his/her message so that it will be perceived as accurately as possible and received as fully as may be? It has been said before that communication is not what is being said, but the result of what is being said. Mastering a skill, be it drawing, writing, sculpting, painting, dancing, acting, etc, is a beginning in optimizing the receptivity of what is being said. Although crucial, such mastery is not enough; it has to be fueled by the heart, which is the real transmitter of the message, enabled by its devotion to a higher cause. In effect, the heart (heART) knows that "This is not about me!"
It appears that artists are repelled by the thought of order, and fascinated enough by chaos they have elected it as their domain. Yet in scientific terms, isn't chaos part of order? Why therefore settling for just a tiny part of the vastness? Maybe another reason why order is so unacceptable to the current artist mind is that it is traditionally associated to male and linear behavior. Interesting interpretation, as order was in ancient time revolving around the keeper of the hearth, a feminine role honored as the most beautiful role of all. Returning to it was more than a goal to every hunter, it was a true inspiration and the replenishing of his strength. Could it be that artists, by denying themselves order, also reject the nurturing, and the vitalizing properties of order? The practicality of order (finding stuff, gaining in productivity) joins to a spirituality of order (going from freeing physical space to mental space, and from shame and isolation to a greater social impact.)
3. Absence of self The question here is who is speaking? Is it the mature leader whose creative ability brings a solution, or is it the wounded child who monopolizes attention? How important is it to dress differently, or obey an atypical social code? One can easily confuse freedom with the rebellion of independence, which actually aims at dissociating and refusing to be dependent on anyone. In the end, this is not freedom, only a guise for freedom. Such response is contrary to the purpose of art, to communicate and therefore build bridges. Being different cannot be the issue, being authentic is! When connectedness is created, it won't trigger fear or rejection of those who follow their own drummer. Just like it makes sense to start with a blank canvas, it makes sense to relate to another after one has emptied the heart from any childhood pain. And although not being absorbed by societal sleep and indoctrination is essential to art, successfully delivering naturally follows simplicity (absence of self) and clarity (order)!
What does it take to be innovative? Innovation requires that an individual move beyond his or her comfort zone, and be willing to fail. Thus it starts in an act of faith, and in a relaxation. Mind power is creativity: I create more of "that" by placing my attention on it. Therefore knowing how I can better control my attention becomes very important. Much has been said on the power of positive thinking, and little on its connection to relaxation and trust. If I trust my next play will be the most inspired, and choose to place my attention on that thought, it will be. Where there is trust, there is confidence, because something else, greater than me, is allowed to come in. Very possibly worrying about an outcome, and trying too hard prevents the solution to spontaneously occur. Just like a womb needs to be receptive to be fertilized, the mind has to be free of the possession of negative thinking (anxiety, blame, shame, depression, obsession) to be able to in-novate. The absence of the conditioned self, the doubter, the skeptic, the worrier, the hard worker, will then "close the deal," which explains how great geniuses always have their best ideas in the most unexpected situations, e.g. brushing their teeth, buying groceries. That is precisely the time when they are trying so little they allow another way of looking at it…
Great leaders are highly competent, because they are dedicated to a high level of performance, learning, growth, and improvement. How can an artist espouse such curiosity and steadfastness? Picasso mentioned how he had to forget all the roses, before he could paint one. How then can one give up the thought that one knows something, and truly keep an explorer mind, a child mind? And if I think I know, what is the motivation behind my actions? Commitment, and courage go hand in hand, as they both require full engagement, no less. What is keeping me from deciding to do the next right thing, from marrying my own mission and vowing "I do?" People do not follow leaders who are not committed. Commitment and responsibility can be measured by the hours you spend and how you spend them, the money you spend and how you spend it, and by what you do for others. Spend a few minutes each day analyzing your time, your checkbook, and your volunteer work. Look closely at where your time goes, how you spend your money, and how you give back to community. You may be very surprised at what you find.
6. Integration Integration is the process by which to harmonize the disparate elements that emerged from the previous exploration. Thus awareness is a necessary ingredient to integration, and leads to active transformation. Concurrently, Art and leadership are akin to alchemy, to the mysterious merging of forces that ends in oneness. From this initiation, both the leader and the artist come to know that it is simultaneously all about me, all about you, and all about we. The "we" viewpoint allows for integration of all parts, you and me, creator and audience, leader and team. No separation. Think of your body, your emotions, your mind, and your soul as one team that can function amicably. See how much time you are giving to building your body (your buddy?) physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Use every "challenge," every stain on the canvas, every slip of the tongue, every error or mishap as a body/buddy building opportunity, and please, do not forget to rest your muscles, be they physical or emotional, thus bringing more integration to the workout life is giving you.
From integration comes integrity… That is one way to look at it! It is the time when buttons all line up, when such wholeness, such candor, such impeccable honesty is attained, that authenticity becomes the spokesperson of one's promotion. This speaking is not efforting in any manner. As a matter of fact, it lives beyond words. It is an art and a science, generated by the natural responsiveness and response-ability of someone who has a vision, and no personal agenda. This quality of response and presence, this "purity" (no other word) makes that being irresistible and a magnet. There is where to account for the charisma of great leaders. Ask yourself: am I willing to take the responsibility for my present situation, and for all the decisions to come? The bad news is: you did it all! The good news is: you do it all! What do you choose to create?
8. Financial empowerment
A common understanding is that money is energy exchanged. You offer that service, which is valuable to me enough that I will pay for it… It is puzzling that artists would be in such financial survival, as they are so gifted, and so "rich" inside. It has been said that creating art is a constant act of generosity. So where is the hook? The image of a receiver comes to mind, where some channels are noisier than others. If turning a dial will make for a better reception, what dial can I turn to receive money more directly, i.e. more abundantly? That is a worthwhile question. Financial empowerment is directly related to integrity, as integrity is the filter, which wipes out any possible noise. It is the real energy behind the exchange, as it insures the buyer that the seller's heart is in the right place, and that his/her intents in all actions are for the good of all.
That is really the foremost point: the good of all, the good of the community, the good of humanity. As a healing principle, it means that, in the moment you are experiencing a block, there is someone around you who needs you, just as you are. When caught up in self-attack, look for someone around you who is in even more in dire need of assistance. Think of people as the colors that populates your palette, or the notes that delineates your melody… Furthermore, if it weren't for people, why create art at all? Follows a question for the very courageous, a tough question… Are you ready? Here it is: do you really like people? Yes, is it true that you really, really like people? Even Aunt Martha? Even the sad looking cashier? And if you should come to recognize that, possibly, there are times when you do not like people, then how can you ask them to love you, and support your art? Com-passion is the key to com-munity. My remedy: I repeat to myself: just like me, this person has known loneliness, sadness and despair. Just like me, this person is seeking happiness for his or her life… Just like me…
Because art, science, or anything that is created for the benefit of community is born of inspiration from the abstract and imaginative realms, contemporary artists may come to recognize their task as a grounding and redirecting of those primeval patterns of apparent chaos through discipline into expressive simplicity. They may understand the joy and pure pleasure of committing to joining order and responsibility to those more etheric and ecstatic realms. Thus can the artist, the voice of art, earn trust and a hearing, as he and she will have come forth as a servant leader, and bear gifts as the steward of those gifts, rather than the owner. By doing so, a vision of love and beauty will be fulfilled, which is the ultimate and great work that unites artists and leaders, the passionate co-creation that dares thinking possible the emergence of an enlightened civilization.
This piece was originally submitted by Mahalene Louis, Inspiration Anchor, Artist, Author, and Speaker, who can be reached at mailto:email@example.com, via phone 512.632.8952 or visited on the web at http://www.soulvision.com. Mahalene Louis wants you to know: As an Inspiration Anchor, I offer an engaging e-zine, free teleclasses and Turn on the Light!, a unique program to assist the creative genius in you to express and market your gifts successfully. Turn on the Light! inspires you to show up as a stunning masterpiece of unbridled passion and creativity, and to evolve consciousness by acting in alignment with the powerful force you are.
About the author: Mahalene, a native of France, began her career as a journalist and teacher in Europe. She spent her first twenty years in the US as a self-supporting artist while soon consulting with people on self-empowerment. As she is in all accounts a "true artist," one of her greatest gifts as an inspiration anchor is to offer "a new way to look at it," which is greatly instrumental to increase chances of success, prosperity, and happiness.