I’ve just spent a fascinating week in Uley (Gloucestershire) with my partner Chris Seeley and 7 other friends and colleagues from the Artful Leadership Collective exploring our practices as teachers, leaders, facilitators, consultants, artists, storytellers, writers.
On the second day we considered two main questions: What does it mean to live and work artfully; and what is our relationship with our own practice? We began by making images in response to the questions before discussing them.
Using my intuition rather than following a preconceived plan, I drew the picture above. The flower came first, rising out of multi-coloured foliage; then the seeds blown on the wind and settling beyond my ken; last the randomly distributed letters of the alphabet.
A key idea to emerge as we interrogated the images to see what they revealed about artful practice was that of “wilding” – of stepping outside the neatly cultivated conventions of the system-world to revel in the abundant fecundity of the life-world. We realised that in different ways, we all invited our clients to recognise and trust their own wild beauty and intelligence.
My picture reflects an aspiration to re-enchant the world through language, scattering my words like wild flower seeds in blogs, books, storytelling performances and workshops. I’m more naturally a wordsmith than a visual artist, so I’ve turned to poetry to portray what I think about the joys of living and playing outside the garden.
Leave the rows of scented stocks;
Walk among the hollyhocks
In the forest and the glade,
Camouflaged by dappled shade.
In the garden life is tame:
All the flowers just the same.
But it’s clear in every child
That our nature’s to be wild.
Humans do their maker wrong
Living where they don’t belong.
Let the heart speak, let it yearn.
Let the spark of wildness burn.
Blossom forth and take your place,
Feel the breeze upon your face,
Bathe your soul in summer rain,
Bask in sunlight once again.