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Contemplative Leadership


Reflections On Sorrow, Surrender & Resignation - Stirring Feelings and the Imagination

Updated: May 10, 2022

Listening, recently, to the audible book “Beloved” by Toni Morrison and read by the author, I heard the sorrows, a surrender to life, and the resignation to the conditions of being born into slavery.

The details, though, were lost. I struggled to follow the story line - hidden behind the feelings and emotions I felt, resonating perhaps like a tuning fork responding to its reflection within my imagination.

Contemplative knowing is like that. It was not Morrison’s words but the tapestry of her story that rang out for me. In photography I find myself often in the words, making images not in the tapestry, rather an image resembling a photo made by one of the masters.

At other times, the image is one I make because something has attracted me, but what, not deciphered until I return and sit with the image – contemplating, seeking to recognize the emotions that drew me in the first place to what I photographed.

There is, thus, a visible and an invisible quality to the image – a factor I learned from an art class from Silvio Wolfe at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. That which I see and that which I feel, that which stirs the imagination. And going the next step, for the image to be complete the imagination of both the artist and the viewer are required.

Leadership, too, has a visible and invisible quality to it. A stirring of the imagination, of the leader and the followers, I have come to believe, is necessary.

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