In the period of just one solitary week, I was faced with three starkly similar experiences, each pointing to the challenge that truth faces in acquiring the oxygen it needs to do its work.
The first was a message from Edwin Escobar. I have been helping him in his run for President of his Country. His call to service emanates from somewhere deep beyond just thoughtful, and his notions of servant leadership are that one cannot hope to effectively serve a community from outside the community. An Ivory Tower doesn’t work. One has to understand people. One has to truly know people. Proximity and visible accountability are important.
His proposal to up-end Guatemala’s political system and move power from Congress and the Presidential Palace to the municipalities was always going to be a threat. It was always going to face a dark reaction. This particular day with just a week or so to go before voting, he was unceremoniously removed from the ballot.
The second experience was a distressed telephone call with a Senior Manager at one of the World’s most revered Institutions …
Back in 2007, I remember saying something along these lines, “Edwin if you’re going to serve your country, can you see the people? And I mean truly see, beyond your ideas of them.”
And so Edwin and I set off around Guatemala to find its (human) soul. It was the first time that I’d showed someone what I was doing with the camera, how and why it was so important with respect to servant leadership and human connection.
Edwin is now a front runner in the Guatemalan Presidential Election.
During this journey, we witnessed people from every conceivable walk of life. A sight once seen, never forgotten. A sight of a Nation behind the distraction of its easily seen drama.
Filming was often done in quieter locations but here, a marketplace contributed to this great understanding …
A someone who recently sat in front of the Soul Biographies Camera woke up a few days ago with these unexpected few words in her imagination. She had no idea where they had come from. Or why, but thought that they pointed to something of importance with respect to this somewhat mysterious work […cont]
It’s 2am. You’re wide awake.
Feeling alone. Unseen.
And inexplicably lost.
Discontent despite all
that you have around you.
The people. Your life.
You wear a face …
Late 2007. Our living room. One wintery Saturday morning. I turned to Caroline and without thinking said ‘I would choose truth over friendship, always.’ She agreed. It confirmed this path of ours. Of course, it has consequence. But we do have friends. Courageous ones.
‘We are a Work in Progress.’ ~ the often said words of the allegedly wise, repeated without question by those drawn to the inculturated humility of the idea.
And so lives the perilous myth on which our human existence appears to have built itself. We are not yet enough. There is someone we must become. This life has conditions …
“These times call for a conscious revolution in the way we act towards one another, driven by our capacity to better see and experience the common humanity that lives deep within our bones.”
Our innermost yearning is to be seen. And to know that we each belong without condition. But when this is not our experience, we are compelled to act dysfunctionally and it drives us further from one another’s sight. I become blind to you. And you to me …
A few reflective words I wrote a year or so back. Trouble is the experience for most appears to be refractive.
As I gaze into the world, I realise
that nothing falters in its
ability to reflect what
I’ve come here to see.
My challenge remains
to what it is
that I’ve seen.
Yesterday I met with a group to talk about SOUL OF AMERICA funding ideas. Interestingly, after explaining the extraordinarily unusual WAY in which film subjects are captured, one of the group compared it to the storytelling in the ‘Moth Radio Hour’ and then to TED. Another immediately pointed out that it seemed like it was the very antithesis of these.
He was right. Subjects are left in utter peace without need until they are drawn by something almost otherworldly to speak. There is no story, rehearsed or previously told, that needs to be told. There is no need to convince the world of any philosophy or way. Spoken from this place words hold immense truth and potency. And the Soul of anything is revealed. The Soul of everything is revealed. It is dangerous to the status quo because little is built on truth.
Many business owners find it extremely challenging to articulate their purpose. To tell the world why they do what they do. It is important to do this in truthful and authentic fashion. It is important for founders and their reasons to be clearly seen. To be recognized without pretense …
Having re-read the #LeonardCohen near immortal line “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”, I got to wondering if perhaps the light might have already been inside attempting an escape. And if that was the case then what that might say to the journey of becoming a someone.
A four sentence poem + a 3 minutes film …
I am not entirely certain why I am able to do this but I am certain that this is what I do.
I have the capacity to see people deeply. And I am able to elicit and capture on film the experience of inner worlds. It seems important because this is where truth lies. And with truth comes clarity. And with clarity comes vast possibility. This is what I do. For the courageous, its application is far reaching.
As I wander this world, I experience a depth and openness in people. A way of being together. But I’m struck by the most common of responses to such experience. An isolating juxtaposition. It is painful, often admitted and it is lonely. It goes something like this …