Leadership as a verb and not a noun

Too often I see leadership discussed and taught as a noun rather than a verb.

Knowing leadership as only a noun focuses on a model, a set of steps, a framework that forgets to breath and to grow.

Knowing leadership as the present participle ‘leading’ means being in the present – building and layering the ways and means of your style, how you are known and how you are being experienced as a leader in each moment in time.

Leading is the day by day, moment by moment work of reflecting, creating, listening, moving, understanding, speaking, advising, facilitating, adjudicating, concluding, opening.

To see leadership as co-creation is to lead by navigating the dynamics of psychology within place; is to learn in each moment how it is that you express every value, every principle you have ever known.

Leadership as a verb is brave and courageous.


Why I dwell in the green


 You ask me why I dwell in the green mountains / I smile and make no reply for my heart is free of care / as the peach blossom flows downstream and is gone into the unknown.

Conversation in the mountain by Li Bai (AD 701-762): Poem spotted in the National Gallery of Victoria.

Photos of my version of dwelling in the Australian green, taken while lingering in the grass in Fitzroy Gardens, Melbourne looking up and looking along; at Narara Ecovillage, Central Coast NSW and an Impressionist favourite from the Art Gallery of NSW.

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Monet refuses the operation

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extract from “Monet refuses the operation” by Lisa Mueller; the lilies of Giverny; lamps in London.

Doctor, you say, there are no haloes / around the streetlights in Paris

and what I see is an aberration /caused by old age, an affliction.

I tell you it has taken me all my life / to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,

to soften and blur and finally banish / the edges you regret I don’t see,

to learn that the line I called the horizon / does not exist and sky and water,

I will not return to a universe / of objects that don’t know each other,

as if islands were not the lost children / of one great continent.


The world is flux, and light becomes what it touches, / becomes water, lilies on water,

above and below water / becomes lilac and mauve and yellow …



A wandering poet


The Korean poet Ko Un writes, everything outside my door/ is my teacher.

The force of poetry is a mystery; allowing words to dance lightly, acting as a poultice drawing out the depth and collision of my life. Everyday I need to make sense of the multitude of experiences and story.  I have been writing poems for years, under-estimating their power and healing quality. Poems come from the deep. Poems always surprise. Poetry breaks up and puts my life back together.

Poetry plays a special role in my writing life. My narrative skims across the surface; my poetry dives deep. It pulls me up and takes me away from the shore. Poetry taught me ontology before I knew it had a name. Poetry, you are my oars, my bark canoe as I lose sight of the shore.

What the poem translates, wrote Philippe Lacou-Labarthe, I propose we call experience, on condition that this word be taken literally … from Latin, experiri: the risky crossing … and this is why one can refer, strictly speaking, to a poetic existence.



Words as emergence, self as flow.

Emily Dickenson reminds us, The word is dead when it is said, some say / But I say, it just begins to live that day.

I have found that in each ‘word’ chosen there is a sacred becomingness. A becoming, at each and every articulated moment. A weaving of reality in the now and the becoming. Emergence.

John Shotter reminds me “that Goethe shows us there are mysteries we can ‘enter into’ and begin to find our ‘way around’, there is a ‘poetic’ way of talking and writing – what we may call ‘withness’ writing – we express what we find in our criss-cross journeying over often befogged landscapes. Ways of taking and writing are like signposts erected at recognisable landmarks, ‘pointing to’ what is next in the world of our everyday, practical affairs.”

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The poet Eric Ormsby knew this, when he wrote, I have the feeling that words lead a private existence of their own, apart from us, and that when we speak or write, especially in moments of strong emotion, we do little more than hitch a ride on some obliging syllable or accommodating phrase.

And from Fink,  language has a life of is own .. (and) while we have the feeling, much of the time, of choosing our words, at times they are chosen for us.

This is the power and the healing of journalling, of blogging. Words crafting, exploring, bringing out lived experience and insight.

Words allow me to know self as flow.

The road is made by walking



Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more;

wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking.

By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees

the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road

Only wakes upon the sea.

By Antonio Machado and with a warm nod to Paulo Freire.

My quest – meandering in the ways of being and knowing


A few years ago .. ok, maybe a good number  .. I began exploring ontology (ways of being) and epistemology (ways of knowing). I loved playing with the ideas, getting confused, mixing them up, turning them around in my mind, diving into their meaning.

I thought journeying into the worlds of ontology and epistemology were the means, the foundation and background to my postgraduate research. However (and thankfully so) I came to realise that my research ‘project’ was not a construction, a product beckoning on the horizon, a major engineering feat as it were. My research project could be the transformative nature of the journey itself.  I was my project. A journeying of being. And that journeying became story.

I called the bluff of ontology. I asked questions about the learning process – is transformation a series of lights beckoning, a progression of events, light bulbs flashing on and off?

And that’s when I fell in love with Emily Bronte and her poem below written before 1848. Emily, if we had met on your mountainside, I would yell in the wild wind ‘go girl!’

Often rebuked, yet always back returning / To those first feelings that were born with me.

And leaving busy chase of wealth and learning /For idle dreams of things which cannot be.

Today I will seek not the shadowy region / Its unsustaining vastness waxes drear

And visions rising, legion after legion / Bring the unreal world too strangely near.

I’ll walk, but not in old heroic traces / And not in paths of high morality,

And not among the half-distnguishd faces / The clouded forms of long past history.

I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading / It vexes me to choose another guide –

Where the grey flocks in ferny glen are feeding / Where the wild wind blows on the mountain side.

What have those lonely mountains worth revealing? / More glory and more grief than I can tell.

The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling / Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.

Autumn musings

remembering how much I love Schumacher College

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window seats / plumped pillows holding learning limbs / rain at tall windows listening in

I am but a shadow on the cedar floor / lit by pools of knowledge

our thoughts winnowed by stories of violence and hope

our faces know our lives produce poverty

our hearts desiring the revolution to be handmade

thoughts are unpicked / some truth unravels