seeing the world as we are

labyrinthWhen I say ‘we see the world not as it is but as we are,’ I’m offering a timeless leadership lesson consistent with groundbreaking work in the biology of cognition. We all tend to think of ourselves as objective observers, but none of us is. If I want to see things change ‘out there,’ first I need to see change ‘in here.’ PRESENCE: HUMAN PURPOSE AND THE FIELD OF THE FUTURE, Peter Senge, et. al.

Something I’ve learned, many times, as a trying-to-become-conscious leader is that, when we stop paying attention, stop opening space for processing relationship, groups entrusted to our guidance can flip into ‘negative mother’ projection. Their language starts filling with expressions of resistance to ‘control’; they rebel as if something unpleasant were being imposed upon them. In the absence of conscious structure and the ‘good enough’ mother, things fall apart. Enter the Shadow, defined by Marion Woodman as ‘unacknowledged resentment, competition, bids for power, jealousy.’

If we are to be leaders who do no harm, it then becomes critical to ‘do our own internal work’ so as to avoid projecting our shadow onto others. Over the 21+ years of Women Writing for (a) Change’s life as an actively evolving community of becoming-conscious women, we have all been faced with challenges to our leadership at one time or another. Continue reading