A few weeks ago, I read a biography about J.R.R. Tolkien by Colin Duriez. Some of you may know that Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were quite good friends and colleagues.
They both loved the world of literature and language, of mythic stories that speak about the great realities of life, of poetry that expresses the deepest longings of the heart . . .
In the biography (Tolkien: The Making of Legend) there is a quote from C.S. Lewis about the nature of the experiences we have when we read great literature.
In reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like the night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself, and am never more myself than when I do. (Lewis)
This is among the deepest of human longings. This is the restless heart of Augustine in the search and pursuit of what is missing.
This is why we ultimately lead (those of us called to leadership) and why we teach (those of us called to teaching) and why we mentor (those of us called to mentoring).
We are here to help everyone who is entrusted to us - to make progress on the searching journey that lasts a lifetime.
It HELPS ENORMOUSLY if we ourselves are walking that journey well. That you are engaging with books, music, film, art, poetry, nature - whatever it is that is helpful - that helps you transcend your current experience, deepen your experience and in this - becoming who you are meant ot become.
This is why I read the books I read - to see through the eyes of a thousand others.
This is why I go to movies like Lincoln, The Hobbit and Les Miserables - to experience their world and so find the way for my own experiences.
This is why I love art and the visual image - it helps me know the world the way the artist does.
Then, as all these words, images, experiences, conversations - mix and mingle, resonate and rejoice, struggle and wrestle inside me - I am changed. I become who I am meant to become. And out of that, there may be a worthy overflow and imprint that is offered to others.
If this is all too esoteric, here it is in plain English.
Garbage in - garbage out.
Glory, Beauty, Love, Majesty, Truth and Grace in - that is what is going to come out of you.
What are you taking in to your heart, soul, mind and spirit these days?
What is helping you experience and interpret the great things of life and eternity?
And how is it overflowing?
Be profoundly self-aware, highly intentional and wisely strategic about your INPUT.
Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International