A Third Way of Knowing

 photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal


This evening’s VisionHolder Interview with Michael Jones was truly a sacred convergence of leaders. I’m struck by the power and majesty of our offerings and inquiries. How we leaned into one another and allowed Michael the space as an elder among us to speak his imaginal soul, and ask the timeless question: Who is going to play your music if you don’t?

“In times of uncertainty we need to look to the spaces between for order and coherence – to gifts, beauty, grace, voice and wholeness – what may be called the commons of the imagination. Awakening to the presence of the commons in both the personal and the pubic imagination is our new art form. It is also the leader’s new work.” -Michael Jones, from Artful Leadership: Awakening the Commons of the Imagination.

Below are notes/snippets/reflections plucked from a magical hour of essential conversation. Add your own comments by clicking on the "Comments" link.

Who is going to play your music if you don’t? When a stranger asked me, after hearing me play, it was a moment of transformation for me. Many of these moments occur in the presence of strangers. It expands the sense of community, defines the concept of the commons, in the sense of who belongs and who doesn’t. The other importance of the stranger is that often our friends can’t see us wholly or objectively. We need the stranger interaction for fresh perspective, for new knowing.

The intersection of leadership and art. Art as language, metaphor and a way of knowing: Using art provides a ready made language for listening, going deeper, connection with the world around you.

...truly outstanding leaders are not remembered largely for their professional, technical or cost-cutting skills, but for their wisdom, presence, intuition and artistry. These are the qualities that prepare them for making an organic response to critical situations. Technical knowledge is important, but it is only part of the story; listening, getting a ‘feeling’ for things and engaging others in imagining possibilities, is the larger part of it. So much of a leader’s work today is not about playing the notes but listening for what’s emerging in the space between.

A commons of the imagination - a collective field of possibility that transforms our mechanistic view of the world to a more sustainable and transcendent vision that is creative, organic and whole.

Love is the only that expands intelligence. Definition of love: seeing one another in the fullness of who they are.

Leadership: Hold space for the possibility of wholeness to emerge.