This pictures expresses some of my thoughts about the process through which social change leaders reinterpret their life stories and the impact this has on their leadership.
A student colleague recently explained the tummy softening and bulging that often emerges through the course of doctoral studies using two simple words – scholar stomach. Looking around the room, and especially down at myself, I realized that this was truly a phenomenon. Naming the phenomenon gave it power; it transformed something from a personal experience to collective understanding. This helped me to develop an awareness that led to the critical conscience necessary to compel me into action. I committed to a daily Pilates practice upon returning home, although that commitment waned in a few weeks. Scholar stomach remains.
Essence and existence coexist. Each existence and every experience is a representation of the whole, the essence, in which all can be located. Each existence and experience, along with those of others, contributes to and co-creates the whole. When all colors combine into the whole, their hue is overwhelmed by the black common area and differentiation is diminished. Yet, in the whole we can search for both our unique light and that which we share with others in addition to areas of difference and shadow. These nuances may not be immediately apparent given the reductionist reasoning of the whole.
In the picture below, essence is represented by the large black circle and existence is represented by each small color circle.