Workspace Personalization: Physical, Digital and In-Between
Social Entrepreneurship at Zino Society

Unfolding Radiance

Dan Oestreich is one of my favorite bloggers. One of the insights that has unfolded for me, through regularly reading Dan's blog, Unfolding Leadership, is that everyone is a leader: like it or not, I am always "leading by example", intentionally and unintentionally.  His latest post, On the Capability to Lead, weaves together many rich, resonant threads on capabilities, confidence, change, openness, flow and radiance: 

Our leadership is a reflection of the Radiance pouring through us

Dan invokes one of my (our) favorite quotes, from Marianne Williamson's book, A Return to Love, a printed copy of which constitutes one of the ways I've personalized my workspace. The combination of simultaneously reading and listening to Dan's post, with this quote on the wall in front of me, inspired me to snap a photo to capture the radiance of the moment:


I'll include the quote below, as it bears repeating ... and in fact I invoked it myself in an earlier post that marked a period of unfolding radiance. [Aside: other elements in the photo above are my computer with Dan's weblog in a browser window and a live webcam feed in another window, and a quotable magnet with the Zen saying "leap and the net will appear" in the lower left.]

'Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.'
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Dan sheds light on the challenges -- and rewards -- in acknowledging and exploring our shadows, noting that our greatest gifts often lie concealed in those dark, protected areas:

Knowing we are in part imperfect, inconsistent and insecure, we can practice the art of gradually allowing more of these parts to open, allowing more of the Radiance intended for our personal "channel" to flow through us into the world.

He outlines three stages of this unfolding (descriptions of which I include here, with his permission, along with links to evocative images -- or mandalas -- he created to represent each stage):

Stage One: Defending

When we are defending, the interior world is a dark and vulnerable place. We protect it, and we wear the mask of a fencer who is mostly "on guard" to defend our unknown territory. The darkness leaks out as we continually make sure neither we nor others see what is going on inside. If there are problems, they are caused by what is outside of us, not within.

Stage Two: Learning to Open

If, by chance, we become curious about the interior world and just brave enough to begin the journey, we enter the stage of opening. Here we discover that there are more and less conscious aspects of Shadow -- our unconscious side. The more conscious aspects sometimes appear as self-critical voices that remind us of our weaknesses and can sometimes overwhelm us. The more we enter, the darker it seems to get but, in truth, something waits for us on the other side of the Shadow's darkest walls. Eventually light and life begin to appear in new forms. A seed we plant germinates. We discover some aspect of our interior light that, like an angel, contains the message of a destiny or purpose. Like the Roman god, Janus, the god of doorways and windows, we begin to identify with looking both inward and outward.

Stage Three: The Radiance

As more areas within us awaken, as we discover and break old patterns in our conditioning, we find ourselves to be channels for a Radiance that gets brighter the more it is allowed to pass through. While some Shadow energies always remain as mysteries to be gradually unlocked, the Radiance wipes out the distinction between looking out and looking in. What is left is the flow, an infinity that is neither wholly one or nor wholly the other, but both combined.

The images were powerful for me, and I found myself wondering what they would look like if they were combined into an animated GIF ... something I'd long wanted to learn how to do. So, I channeled my wondering into action, found a guide to creating an animated GIF, which recommended JASC Paint Shop Pro -- which I had never used but remember seeing on my Dell desktop computer -- and in short order had created the animated GIF shown below.


There were many other gems of wisdom throughout Dan's post, but I'll include just one more here:

If I look [within] and see nothing or feel drawn into a dark vortex of uncomfortable feelings, then I know I am at the starting point. If I can see and acknowledge my most positive attributes and values, then perhaps I have begun to move down the path. If I have gone even farther, to examine my own blind-spots, discovering a true gift or two and feel a rising tide of light within, then I know my confidence is beginning to genuinely express itself. And if this light, this "inner wisdom," this "genius" is a radiance I can no longer contain, if it is music that I no longer play as an instrument of change but instead is what plays me, then surely, this is the way.

As I noted in my comment on Dan's post, this reference to "music [that] plays me" reminds me of a Rumi poem, Each Note ... which I've been longing to include in a blog post for a long time now:

God picks up the reed-flute world and blows.
Each note is a need coming through one of us,
a passion, a longing-pain.
Remember the lips
where the wind-breath originated,
and let your note be clear.
Don't try to end it.
Be your note.
I'll show you how it's enough.

Go up on the roof at night
in this city of the soul.

Let everyone climb on their roofs
and sing their notes!

Sing loud!

These references to music, in the context of radiance, reminded me of the lyrics to Pink Floyd's song, Shine On You Crazy Diamond, from their Wish You Were Here CD:

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught on the crossfire of childhood and stardom,
blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision,
rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

And finally, mapping these allusions to radiance and shining from the visual dimension into the aural dimension brings to mind Stephen Covey's 8th Habit:

Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs

As I had noted in another earlier post during the aforementioned period of unfolding radiance, I find that blogging provides a perfect channel for this habit. After a two week period of blog silence and shadow dwelling, Dan's post inspired me to find my voice [again], and while I write this post without attachment, it would be icing on the cake if this entry, in turn, helps others find their voices ... extending the virtuous circle(s) of flowing radiance.

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