A Leadership Blessing

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Thanks to our colleague, Susan DeGenring of Alchemy Learning, for bringing this a blessing about leadership to our attention. It is the work of John O’Donohue, the late Irish teacher and poet, from his last book, To Bless the Space Between Us. Please read and share your thoughts, as I share mine below:

FOR ONE WHO HOLDS POWER

May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a
vocation,
Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to
serve.

As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its
wings,
May your perspective be larger than the view from
the foothills.

When the way is flat and dull in times of gray
endurance,
May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.

When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.

May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.

In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.

May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and
challenge.

May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.

May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work.

A few lines in particular leap out at me. For instance, “In your heart may there be a sanctuary, For the stillness where clarity is born.” Yes! As a Christian, I’m embracing the Lenten season as an opportunity to make space for stillness. But someone like me is also affected by the provocative line in O’Donohue’s pretty poem that beckons me to “rise above the fester of small mediocrities” via my leadership. While I often misapply this call to excellence and do too much, it is when I slow down to stillness that I recognize that it precisely in the doing of many things that mediocrity festers. Thank you John! Again, as in last week’s post, I find myself in deep gratitude to a poet for speaking plain, piercing, truth to my soul.

In reading this poem, did any parts jump out at you in particular? Why? How might your leadership, “integrity of soul” be strengthened? Where is it most weak? What insights or meditations are spurred from this reading?

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  • Gibran says:

    Here is the line that grabbed me:

    “May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
    And know when the seed of change will flourish.”

    Shifting away from the mechanics of the industrial age and entering more boldly into a more organic paradigm of interconnectedness, the work of leadership seems to be more like gardening – till the soil, create the conditions, nurture, care for, pay close attention and understand the cycles.

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Love it!

    Apart from the two pieces you all have mentioned, here’s what lept off the screen for me…

    “May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a
    vocation,
    Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to
    serve.”

    I am ever mindful of the root of my own commitment to justice, which dwells deeply inside my faith in God.

    “May your power never become a shell
    Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
    May you welcome your own vulnerability
    As the ground where healing and truth join.”

    At the start of this year, I committed to letting go of the arrogance that comes of thinking that I know, and yeilding to the vulnerability of not knowing. A worthy and challenging undertaking, indeed!
    peace!

  • What a beautiful blessing! Thank you for sharing.

    Each part of this poem touch my soul in many different ways. However, two things that I am trying to learn as a leader were brought up by these lines:

    “May your perspective be larger than the view from
    the foothills.”
    Being a Latino woman brought up in different county. Learning to see and understand the bigger picture is not always easy. Sometimes is difficult to look thru the other side of the mirror. This is a personal struggle but it is something that is necessary to learn.
    “May your work be infused with passion and creativity
    And have the wisdom to balance compassion and
    challenge.” I love the emphasis that the poet place on balancing these two important characteristics of our work “compassion and challenge” which are often forgotten. We need the wisdom to apply into our everyday work.
    Beautiful way to end the week!
    May God grant us wisdom!!!
    Rosie

  • @Gibran, @Cynthia & @Rosa – thank you so for so generously “welcoming (and sharing) your own vulnerability”. Indeed,Rosa, what a great way to end the week. Its really special to experience the poetry of our lives together in this way. Every continued blessing…

  • Curtis says:

    Thanks, Melinda (and Susan, and John!). What jumps out for me are these lines:

    May your soul find the graciousness
    To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.

    AND

    May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
    The source that will guide and bless your work.

    I don’t want to rise too high above mediocrities, because there are important happenings there, but I surely do not want to get stuck there. And leading with the integrity of my soul, wow, I feel like is a great recipe for overcoming to trappedness of self-consciousness.

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