Our culture trains us to believe that only special people — the superstars of politics, business, sports, the arts — can have real influence and power in society. We give them the center stage, the microphone, our adulation and make them our leaders, while our own light is dimmed by their giant shadows.
While it is true that people with money, charisma and acclaimed talents do wield a disproportional share of societal influence and power, it doesn’t follow that they are the primary change agents in our world.
Over and over again, my dreams have been telling me one clear message: humanity is riding an evolutionary edge, and that transformative, life-affirming change will happen at the individual level, and then be passed on, person to person, in a great, long chain of touching and being touched by others.
Our human society cannot be remade by a select few superstars, but by each of us claiming our personal leadership and choosing to lead an authentic life based on our unique configuration of gifts and best qualities. Profound, lasting transformation arises from the grassroots of individuals who are remaking their lives for the better.
A Leadership Dream
Recently I had a powerful dream that speaks to this message.
In this dream, I am at a political rally with my husband. Two politicians are on stage delivering their speeches. They smile, look good, and make grand promises, but it is nothing but double-speak and empty words.
My husband takes the microphone from them, gives it to me and asks, “What are your thoughts on politics and leadership?”
And this is how my dream self responds: “Each one of us must ask ourselves, right now, this moment: What do we want as our personal legacy of our precious time on this planet? Are we not accountable for the future well-being of our children, and our children’s children, and the other life forms that share this world with us? Do we have the right to just do what we want and leave others to pay for our excesses? Can we stand by while our economic, political and social systems lead us down a destructive path?
“These questions apply to all of us, the citizens of this Earth. The time of expecting others to fix the problem, of recklessly pursuing our self-interest, and of burying our head in the sand is done.
“Whether you are the most powerful person in this room, or the lowliest, the mantle of leadership falls equally upon us all. This mantle of leadership requires you to look inside for the gifts and offerings that are yours alone to bring to collective table.
“Be you poet, politician, gardener, caretaker, tycoon or gravedigger — it does not matter what you do, it matters who you are. The world needs you to show up more deeply and profoundly as yourself, and to trust that this is your part to play. What you have to offer is worthy; it is enough.
“Change begins when you settle your mantle of leadership upon your own shoulders, and when you stop grasping outside of yourself at things that can never feed your soul. Because what you most deeply desire is not money, nor power, nor the pretty trappings of the material world, but to live an authentic life, based on what is best and beautiful inside of you, and to reach out and honor the same in others.
“We humans are brilliant creatures that can solve most anything we set our heart and will to. We can be leaders in our own circles of influence, partner with those of like mind and intention, and set right the abuses and excesses of human society. Together, we can mend our hearts, our homes, our communities and our precious planet home.
“We each hold the destiny of humanity and this Earth in our hands. I call you to put on your mantle of leadership, to straighten your back, hold your head proud, and get to work.”
Claiming Your Personal Leadership
This dream is an invitation for each of us to claim our personal mantle of leadership. Though this is the work of a lifetime, here are three initial steps to help you begin this crucial task.
- Consider your big picture view of leadership and change.
Who do you see as leaders and change agents on the national and global stage? What about in your local community and workplace? What qualities do these individuals possess? Who and what does their leadership serve? Do they support the status quo or work for positive change?
What is your level of influence relative to these individuals? Do you feel empowered or disempowered by these leaders? How can you change this balance of power for the better?
- Turn your gaze inward and explore your own leadership qualities.
What are your best qualities and gifts? How are you expressing and sharing them with others? Do you let them flow freely in your life or do you repress and hide them? Do you see yourself as able to drive positive change in your environment? If not, what is blocking or holding you back?
How can you step more fully into your personal leadership? What would this look like? How would it change your life? How do you imagine this impacting others around you?
- Assess your willingness to claim and step into your mantle of leadership.
Are you ready to become a positive change agent in your environment by expressing and sharing your best qualities and gifts? What challenges would you face? What issues and resistance may arise for you, inner and outer? What resources would you need?
What would be your first step in remaking your life in alignment with your personal leadership qualities and offerings? How can you partner with others to drive positive change in your family, workplace, communities and other circles of influence?
A Grassroots Vision of ChangeRemember as you go through this self-assessment process that it is often your ideas about leadership and influence that stop you from recognizing and gifting others with your personal best offerings. You may see your gifts as too small and insignificant in relation to the bigger picture and the larger-than-life leaders that occupy the cultural center stage. But this is a fallacy.
Your best matters; your beauty and gifts can positively affect your life and the lives of those around you. With every healing step you take toward claiming your personal leadership, you become more deeply and profoundly yourself, and that authentic presence radiates outward as you touch others in your immediate environment, and they, in turn, touch others.
Now amplify this personal image by more and more people stepping into their deeper presence and best qualities, and touching and being touched by others. See this positive influence spread from individuals, to families, to workplaces, to communities, and out into greater human society. This is how the grassroots can remake our world in alignment with our best and beautiful humanity.
Feel yourself as part of this grassroots vision of realigning our human society with a kinder, more sustainable and life-affirming ethos. And then take that first step into the authentic life that is yours alone to gift to the waiting world.
I reach out my hand and my heart to you, open and curious about the gifts my human kin bring to the collective table as we each claim our personal leadership. And I trust that somehow, together, we will get our humanity back on track, serving what is best and beautiful in ourselves and in all things of this Earth.
The Path of She is published on alternate Saturdays; follow it via RSS or e-mail! If you like Karen’s work, like her page on Facebook or maybe buy her book, Tale of the Lost Daughter, a fictional spiritual adventure into the life-changing world of magic and the sacred feminine.