This morning I re-listened to a talk by one of my storytelling mentors, Jean Houston http://www.jeanhouston.org. Jean is an author, teacher, world influencer and pioneer of the Human Potential Movement. I had the great good fortune of meeting her at a small private event a few years ago and that led me to travel to Oregon to study with her and a group of about 20 others. Since then I’ve read five of her 26 books and continue to be inspired by her and her important work. At age 85 she is as vital as ever.
The talk that inspired me today was about the need for us to practice social artistry. That is a term Jean most likely coined herself. My treasured time with her convinced me she was born with a genius mind and she has used it to benefit mankind. The social artist informs and leads society the same way a fine artist, musical artist or writer does, by being an evocateur. The difference is that the social artist uses the canvas of society to be an agent of change.
In this environment of uncertainty and turmoil we are even more susceptible to fear-mongering, authoritarianism and violence. We can overcome this global psychological default with the creation of new, transformational stories that lift us to a higher vibration – a passion for the possible. She calls this The Lure of Becoming. Nobody said this was easy. It requires confrontation with who I am being and sustaining that question over time. Only then can we commit to being part of the solution.
Houston isn’t just blowing smoke or pontificating from an ivory academic tower., although she certainly could. Among her many creds, Houston worked with the United Nations in conjunction with her mentor Margaret Meade to help the leaders of war torn and impoverished countries “restory” their cultures back to health. That is, give the people a refreshed sense of their social identity in a rapidly changing world.
To be a social artist a person learns how to enter differing cultures and organizations by having what Houston calls “leaky margins.” That is, to be open and respectful of other peoples’s beliefs and ways of being. To find common threads while celebrating the differences. To drop one’s ego and become polyphrenic (fluid in many kinds of persona).
The social artist is one who engages in and promotes lifelong education. That sounds stuffy and dull but Houston’s methods are anything but that. I believe the stories we tell are as important as the stories we tell ourselves because they make the difference between a life of stagnation and regression and the evolution of ourselves and society.
Speaking of evocateur’s, I have to hop off the blog now because I’m taking part in Tony Robbins’ Breakthrough Challenge 2022! He’s gonna rock the house. I guarantee it. Join me, it’s free http://www.breakthrough2022.com