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Creative Self Emergence and Rilke’s Poetry

If we are lucky enough to move beyond our basic needs for safety and belonging, we can begin the process of earning the esteem of ourselves and others.  A few lucky souls even get to move toward self actualization in Maslow’s model.

But, for many, leadership opportunities look like nurturing their own and other’s creative self emergence.

This brings the poems of Rainer Maria Rilke to mind, especially this one from his Book of Hours

I’m too alone in the world, and yet not alone enough to make every hour holy.

I am too small in the world, and yet not tiny enough just to stand before you like a thing, dark and shrewd.

I want my will, and I want to be with my will as it moves towards deed; and in those quiet, somehow hesitating times, when something is approaching,

I want to be with those who are wise or else alone.

I want always to be a mirror that reflects your whole being, and never to be too blind or too old to hold your heavy, swaying image.

I want to unfold.  Nowhere do I want to remain folded, for where I am bent and folded, there I am a lie.

And I want my meaning true for you.

I want to describe myself like a painting that I studied closely for a long, long time,

Like a word I finally understood,

Like the pitcher of water I use every day,

Like the face of my mother,

Like a ship

That carried me through the deadliest storm of all.

The Humane Leadership Conference community is committed to seeing ourselves and others, committed to the truth and strength of us, focused on discovering, testing and refining the practices that help unfold and unbend the greatest number of people possible in the direction of their highest and purest values.

Beautiful, lofty ideals, yes.

But what option do we have?

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