Taking on leadership in a burning world

posted by Eivind on September 29, 2013, at 3:39 pm

On Friday, I was featured in a big article in a national magazine here in Norway. It was on the new men’s movement and the evolving male role. The exposure came through no effort of mine – a journalist called one day and wanted to talk; other people in the story had mentioned my name.

In harvesting the fruits of years of labor, I’ve come to feel new things inside. New reflections are coming up. I shared the following with my Facebook friends earlier today. I now want to share it with you. It’s a challenge for you. For us. To step up. Because the world truly does depend on it.


The stuff around the D2 article and feedback I've been receiving has me realize that if I now want to, I can deliberately – over quite a short period of time – build a name for myself as a leader of the next unfolding step of the gender discourse in Norway.

20130928_115919_resizedThat scares me. After I saw myself on print, I noticed that the open-heartedness and strong sense of unity I've felt over the last several weeks faded and there was a stronger sense of separation again.

One way of framing that is that I'm cautious of my ego acting up on me – that I'm afraid it will overcome me with its desire to be grandiose and "special". I think that's an interpretation of lesser consciousness. I see people do ego-bashing – I've engaged in it myself – and it doesn't inspire me.

What tends to happen with ego-bashing is that the super-ego hijacks the battle against ego. The battle against ego becomes my identity. Instead of becoming free, the devilishly sneaky super-ego hijacks the whole dynamic, turning me into its bitch. When our super-egos successfully turn us into flagellants, people who think that we will become free by punishing ourselves for being human, they have installed a near-perfect immune system in us. In the hunt for ego-death, we become slaves of the super-ego. Shit, eh?

(If we're going to do ego-bashing, let's outsource it to someone who's good at it, and can deliver it to us with precision. Rare individuals can pull this off – but when we try to emulate this in ourselves, we are *fucked*)

No, I think a deeper cut is that I – WE – are afraid of being large, as in – who might we be if we stopped holding back and stepped into our full power?

It's so easy, especially from a new-agey anti-hierarchical perspective, to frame such thoughts as being hungry for power and for looking good. To frame the healthy desire to fully give our gifts as pathology. False humility seems to be an ideal.

But fuck me – I love the people who I consider as teachers and leaders. I love that I'm going to Boulder to study Circling with Decker Cunov et al. I love that Ken Wilber has contributed his eccentric genius to my interior maps, that Robert Bly has opened my heart and soul, that the lovely ladies of Celebration of Being have contributed their sensitivity and compassion, that David Deida taught me about polarity and the 3rd stage, that Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette have contributed their archetypal genius, that Carl Jung dared to be a forerunner for us all, that Dag Furuholmen and Eirik Balavoine have taught me lessons on maleness, that The ManKind Project opened me to my grief and strong feelings of brotherhood and that Alex Vartman has added a dollop of shame-disrupting sexual play and powerful transmission. To mention but a few.

I have been arrogant in the past. But misunderstood where it was coming from. I would frame it as pathology and beat myself up for it, trying to be falsely humble, so as to reject a deeper knowledge that secretly frightens the shit out of me – that I'm meant to lead.

A deep sense of arrogance can come from being a leader that's not living his or her leadership. You kow what? I think we all experience it in some sense or another. We're all leaders waiting to find our followers. And if I lead you in one area of life, I follow you in another. Leadership has ceased being a fixed dynamic – it's becoming an ever-evolving organic flow, taking into account the different lines of development, rejecting the one-dimensional interpretation of leadership that would have us think that whoever is our teacher should be our teacher in ALL areas of life. Just because I'm an expert on archetypes doesn't mean I can teach you jack about playing the guitar.

Here's what I think. When we know we must lead, but don't dare to, then we start becoming grandiose – to compensate for the betrayal of our soul's impetus to move, to become itself fully.
And thus, there comes that moment in life where not leading is the path of unhealthy ego. Where not leading, not stepping up, is being violent, is the act of betrayal.

I'm getting awfully close to that point. I dare bet that a lot of you reading this are too. And it freaks me the fuck out. Which is why I've been spending a lot of time this weekend in refuge, playing a game on my new phone: Knights & Dragons.

Enjoying that I'm not beating myself up for it. It's a good game! Little colorful men with magic swords killing colorful dragons that drop little stars, amulets and shit. From the perspective that there is something healthy in the weirdest behavior, I call it integration time.

Though here's the bottom line: It's time to step up, people. That goes for us all! The world is burning. And it will keep burning as long as people like you and me sit on our asses, wallowing in the pain of not stepping up.


PS! And if you want to join me in the wonderful mini-world of Knights and Dragons, which I may seek refuge in as I burn in the intensity of this a little longer, use my code for a magic armor WBD-NPH-QVZ. I’m serious, bro. Open-mouthed smile

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