Bon Voyage: The Requisite Journey for the New Leader

(First posted August 31st, 2013)
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” – Mark Twain

Twain’s statement is obvious to some yet not to all. In the experience giving rise to his words moves genuine curiosity. Incurious travelers cross borders and remain closed to the value differences confer. Curiosity does not reside in these travelers. Curiosity does not operate in the company of prejudice, bigotry, or narrow-mindedness: these cannot coexist. Many thinking they are curious are confusing curiosity with interest. 

To fulfill one’s promise, to become an effective and accomplished leader requires travel, and a lot of it. Twain’s travel is of inestimable value, yet there is a more necessary form of travel for leaders to undertake. Greatness and promise mandate, of necessity, that leaders travel into their own heart, mind and will. They must travel with all the curiosity they can muster. They must travel beyond the borders of personal comfort. Must go into the humility, angst, epiphanies, and delights of self-revelation and self-awareness. 

Specific travel destinations include: one’s personal worldview, one’s beliefs, personal struggles, injuries and life challenges.  Into patterns of thought, and the habits of placing one’s focus and attention. They must go into the how of relating with themselves, and others: into the consequences of these interactions. And they must become conscious of the impacts of their actions. 

Greatness demands that leaders travel into being and living genuinely: being who they are. Into the embodiment of honest thought, feeling and action consistent with integrity and wholeness. Into patterns of emerging personal equanimity. Leaders must travel into their genuine personal power. They must embody it. Also, they are to travel into defining themselves by their genuine greatness and deep generosity of spirit rather than defining themselves by their failures or foibles, or the false ideals culture touts. So too, they must go into the creative expression and fulfillment of their own true promise, the giving of their greatness to the world personally and professionally.

Leaders who do not travel successfully into and through the realms of interior personal discovery and reclamation, whether their lives and work is borne on great intellectual capacities or not, remain merely envoys of cultural and institutional biases and interests – devoid of genuine Wisdom. Without traveling, the personas of leaders perpetuate existences rife in dispensing prejudiced, bigoted, and narrow-minded internal narratives condemning and enjoining themselves and others unwittingly. Personas not inhabited by conscious and aware compassionately intelligent people are platforms incapable of enabling and supporting genuine greatness. Leadership greatness is the province of the person, not the role. To lead a life or organization well, one must become unutterably and unrelentingly oneself! This is the inside job of a curious life long traveler.

I often describe where I grew up as a place where values run deep and minds run narrow. Those peopling this description were unfamiliar with Socrates’ sentiment: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” They had not yet learned to go meta and observe their thoughts and actions. They had not yet learned that who they are is distinct – separate – from their thoughts and actions, from their personality and body. That a worldview and its ensuing thinking and behavior can be changed to enable personal freedom, creative expression and greatness. That there is a rightness of designing a worldview of one’s own rather than living the one bequeathed you.

These unwitting confusions are also found amongst the educated and ‘properly prepared’ people in boardrooms and C-suites. Everyone has aspects of themselves that are personal. Within these personal characteristics moves a promise awaiting expression. It may or may not conform to others’ expectations or social convention. Within each promise are genuinely helpful and life-affirming movements: motion from which self and others benefit. We can ill-afford the loss of the promises of these bright people.

In 1977 I experienced my first failure in leadership. The circumstances were life threatening. A few months later I experienced another failure in my leadership. Similar situation. Life is conspiratorial in that it will nudge leaders to undertake necessary travel. I procrastinated. Pretended I had not failed. Made up that all was well. Life gave me more prompts: I began traveling. Still do. They have been difficult. Yet, not traveling would have been the more brutal of options. 

If from time to time you are slowed or stopped by the self prejudiced, bigoted, or narrow-minded voices speaking to you from inside your head, you need to travel more. If you define yourself by something other than your own genuine greatness, travel more. If you are not yet delivering your promise, find a well-traveled compassionately intelligent outfitter and guide (coach & mentor) and begin crossing borders into regions of your richness, thus furthering the fulfillment of your promise!

This is an inaugural post at www.geomancie.com and www.geomancie.co.uk. This writing is also a living system whose taproot I will follow deeply into a system of nurturing and sustaining roots, which, in symbiosis, give rise to the flowering of individual and collective promise. We must avail ourselves to this great fecund harvest and its ensuing benefit for ourselves and future generations. 

Poetry: 2011

(First posted in 2011 on Stephen’s previous website)
Spirals

The Mystery skips stones
across the surface
of my stasis.

Each rebound
an invitation
from beyond the nightmare
of the motionlessness
of my self-dissonance.

Each place of rebound
epicenter of disjunction.
I let go of that fancy. That love.
I let go of predilection, proclivity, preference.
I submit to the Mystery’s Design.
Grace moves – Love heals.

©2011 Stephen Victor


Brown Pelican

How does one speak of the
intimacy and regal
elegance of Being
– present –
in the eloquent flight of these,

Grace privileges me to witness. 

Gliding in singular unity
– rapture in repose.

Now,
nuanced aerobatics
of equanimity
and sudden stalls,

then,
 urgent high altitude plunges
into gymnasiums
of fishes.

In the presence of this majesty
the biologist’s dissociative quip
“They follow the fish.” forgotten.

Raising charged flutes
they toss back
silhouetted aesthetic head
and swallow their ambrosia.

Something else remembered.

©2011 Stephen Victor


Poetry in Pink
I
Attentions shift at Heathrow’s
Terminal 5 Tel Aviv-bound gate
as palpably potent femininity approaches.

A syncopating shock of blond curls
….and…
            oscillating hips

backbeat to the rhythm of pretty legs
under a chorus of pink flared skirt.

            (Postulating in Hebrew:)
“Watch my things!?
           
“What!?”
            (Seeing my face.)         

“You’re NOT Jewish!”
            (She exclaims in classic deniable feminine nuance.)
            
“Do you know where I can get a calling card?”

I proffer possibilities.

Pointing to four seats
            straining with “carry-on.”
She pronounces: “I’ll be back in twenty-minutes.”

I concede with a nod.

Two boarding announcements later,
she returns.

“I lived in LA six months!” She boasts.
            “I LOVE LA!!

“My grandmother is now alone.

My heart said:
‘Go to my grandmother:’
            So I go!

This is the kind of woman I am.”

II
This woman – as all women –
            are
            Divine Wisdom incarnate!

This Woman
            – poetry in pink –
only now crossing the
diaphanous divide between
child to adult – girl to woman…

Endowed…christened…ordained.
Her nature  Her character  Her birthright
She has been entrusted.

Her fiduciary charge?
             to boldly, confidently embody
                        her Femininity…

Face, hair, breasts, waist, hips, bum, legs – illumined.
                        Radiant essence of gender feminine.

No coquettishness. No come-on.
Rather,
she faithfully personifies the Mystery’s vital and 
formidable feminine force.

It is this energy’s presence that captivates.
It is this energy that shamelessly causes
            males to forget!

The feminine eschews domestication!
            Her sovereign nature is her own!

Though, too, the feminine occupies
– in modest degree – boys and men…
Her first home:
            the bodies of girls and women.

Yet too, the terror and tyranny of
            society’s patriarchal and ideological enmity
has rendered the feminine
            an enemy of the State!

All girls and women shrug
and toil
            – burdened –
            under the weight
            of millenniums of social indictment.

Nearly none
             are held
                        in the requisite
            and sufficient strength
            of a clean
and undemanding masculine attention.

Such deprivation undermines
            the coalescing of her confidence
thus rendering
the embodiment
            of her charge
                        improbable.

So too, humanity’s emancipation.

For femininity’s wildly wildly nuanced motion
            providentially
            and forever changes
                        positively
                        all who embrace Her wonders.

Profound?    Yes!
Staggeringly wondrous?    Yes!
And wildly, wildly alive?    Yes!
Untamed! and Untamable?    Yes!

III
Yes to her sovereign autonomy!
            to her dignity, innocence and beauty!
Yes to her voice, expression, contribution, participation!
            to her place in the grander scheme of things.
Yes to her inclusion!
            Acknowledging – recognizing and seeing her!

Yes to her belonging!
            to loving her!
Yes to her ruthless undomesticated fierce and gentle
            potent feminine robust Wild Nature!

Yes to girls and women!
            to her safety with and from all others!
Yes to poetry in pink!

©2011 Stephen Victor    


Londoners
I
I love the Afghan physician – here now – driving taxi:
            With equanimity informing:
            “Took eight years to get my wife here.” 
With autonomous character and humility he added:
            “Life can be like this.” 

What forces coalesced
           – reconciled –
–  centering, grounding this man!

II
The young Polish woman serving breakfast
            who brashly retorted:
“Poland not good, so I am here.” 
            Tears quickening as I reply:
“Perhaps Poland good,
            its politicians acting badly.” 
            More tearfully: “Yes, Poland good! I miss it!”

What youthful promise
is concealed as consequence
            to political conceit? 

Will she yet avow her gifts their proper prominence?

III
The forty year old Somali

 – a refugee – former businessman –
who crossed the border on foot. 
            He too providing others transport: 
“Artillery fire came too close…
            I left everything behind.”

Worrying.
            Fearing for his children
            here born and safe: How will they fare
without lessons punctuated by the struggles
            he has known?  Do they not
see the folly in their plenitude and ease?
            Return again to Somali? 
Yes, he would go – were he to believe
            his family would fare well.
Such courage in this fate’s embrace!

IV
The vigilant young Filipino –
            seven years illegal here: cleaning houses
for Pounds Sterling. Cash only.
            He is fond of saying
“My wife turned up to keep me from straying.”
            This man misses his not-yet adolescent daughter
half the world away:
She lives with her grandmother.

V
The Scot living out his adulthood here:
            Successful professional – reveling in his love for London’s
mosaic of music and culture.
Morning yoga before raising black fedora, then off via the Underground.
            He antes his love daily,
for he honestly loves his wife…and life! 
Such freedom arising from his discipline!

VI
I love the scandalously sexy sixty-plus Pole
whose irrepressible beauty and vitality
–  in constant nuanced feminine articulation – 
hips askew
whether under the red fabric of her flowing skirts
            or the very close denim of her jeans.
This business woman unabashedly embodies astute prowess,
            grand self confidence
and a plethora of playfulness. 

VII
The former cookery teacher,
then baker,
and now long time successful business solicitor! 

It is she whose fastidious prowess
            renders boon upon boon to her client’s successes.

Whilst too
providing for her Alzheimer’s inflicted mother
            in the flat affixed to her home.

What capacity!
What compassionately intelligent generosity.

VIII
The youthfully elder Irish woman
            pandering to her affair with Drink
as she inhabits this particular stoop on Islington Green:

all the while seeking a pound or two from passersby:
            The odor of Drink close to her breath.

I love how she regales me of those who ignore her
            and those who come to her aid.
I love how she serves me bits of her circumstance:
            the neighborhood’s high rents
and her long and painful absence from her beloved Ireland. 

IX
The well appointed Knightsbridge-bound guy
in the carriage across from me
            on this late night Tube ride from Heathrow:

Rolex gleaming
            as he reorganizes credit cards and foreign currencies
                        in his two wallets.
So oblivious is he
            to my own
                        and the others’ attentions!

X
I love the British Airways crew
propelling her way through passport control:
            So knackered
                        – laddered stockings –
                                    urging herself on…
                                                almost home…

©2011 Stephen Victor


London’s Women
I
I love the young Polish woman serving breakfast
            who brashly retorted:
“Poland not good, so I am here.” 
            Tears quickening as I reply:
“Perhaps Poland good,
            its politicians acting badly.” 
            More tearfully: “Yes, Poland good! I miss it!”

What youthful promise
is concealed as consequence
            to political conceit? 
Will she yet avow her gifts their proper prominence?

II
I love the scandalously sexy sixty-plus Pole
whose irrepressible beauty and vitality
–  in constant nuanced feminine articulation – 
hips askew
whether under the red fabric of her flowing skirts
            or the very close denim of her jeans.

This business woman unabashedly embodies astute prowess,
            grand self confidence
and a plethora of playfulness. 

III
I love the former cookery teacher,
then baker,
and now long time successful business solicitor! 

It is she whose fastidious prowess
            renders boon upon boon to her client’s successes.

Whilst too
providing for her Alzheimer’s inflicted mother
            in the flat affixed to her home.

What capacity!
What compassionately intelligent generosity.

IV
The youthfully elder Irish woman
            pandering to her affair with Drink
as she inhabits this particular stoop on Islington Green:
all the while seeking a pound or two from passersby:
            The odor of Drink close to her breath.

I love how she regales me of those who ignore her
            and those who come to her aid.
I love how she serves me bits of her circumstance:
            the neighborhood’s high rents
and her long and painful absence from her beloved Ireland. 

V
I love the British Airways crew
propelling her way through passport control:
            So knackered
                        – laddered stockings –
                                    urging herself on…
                                                almost home…

©2011 Stephen Victor