Reflections on art and leadership

I use my art to reflect an artist and a senior manager in the financial services industry. I notice that the deeper I understand myself the more I succeed to impact others; in both art and work.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

La Valise Noire

Explore your dark side, as it enriches the colors on the light side. Just make sure you do come back out of the dark.
I observe that there are moments when the darker patterns inside me take over; when for example something that started as inspiring threatens to become sort of destructive. Personally I experience this with alcohol; by itself drinking some wine helps to open the mind, even sometimes really supports getting into a highly productive flow, getting more in touch with my feelings, and reduce the influence of my ratio that wants to remain too much in control. But in the not so frequent occasions that I drink more and where there is a more sensitive context I can actually start showing behavior that would normally be corrected by my mind. And then it can ultimately damage the experience, a relationship or my self-image.

I think we all have our natural patterns, desires and dysfunctional behaviors. We can try to stay away from it, we can try to push them away or ignore them. In the end I think that we do not really change the darker and dysfunctional aspects of ourselves, we can just learn to deal with them in a better way. Whenever we have done things as a consequence of giving in to these darker patterns and desires, and we have been confronted with the unintended result, it gives us a feeling of guilt; causes a (sometimes more permanent) loss of energy. This loss of energy by itself is not really dysfunctional; when looking at it from a distance the ‘takeaway’ from what happened and the negative feeling should be that we learn something, that we act better next time; by compensating, solving or preventing. However, just losing energy because something went wrong in the past does not seem to bring anything to anyone.

I read some articles/books on Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) where people learn to deal with such situations by visualizing the negative experience in their mind, and then sending it away until it has disappeared in the far distance. I have tried this for some situations and in some cases it actually seemed to work. Now, at the same time some of these things tend to come back after sending them away in my mind, but that could also be linked to my lack of skills and real training on this topic.

Now, the concept of La Valise Noire came into my mind when I saw some authentic metal suitcases somewhere in a small and charming shop in Paris. The basic concept will be: visualizing my dark experiences and the guilt related and send it into La Valise Noire, focusing on what I can improve/learn.
A few interesting thoughts to be taken into account while making the drawings that will fill La Valise Noire: (i) I will take a specific situation in my mind when starting to draw; I will try to recall the feeling and relive the experience. Starting with just a simple line I will then trust that the right image will appear; (ii) I draw with a small pen, making it a long work to finish the drawing, enabling me to really digest the feeling and the specific situation where I have feelings of guilt and/or regret. (iii) on the back side of the drawing I will write to the person concerned, explain in short phrases which elements were driving me when things happened, and trying to face the brutal truth. And add what I think I should change, as I should not forget the learning part.
I also see some parallels with leadership, but will explore that another time.

Anyway, I thought to share the start of this new concept. Any ideas or challenging opinions are welcome as they will help develop or change the concept. And any suggestions of things I did wrong are welcome too; there must be plenty and they will inspire me for making the right drawings ;)

Read here next article about La Valise Noire

1 comment:

  1. Pandora's box is an artifact in Greek mythology, taken from the myth of Pandora's creation in Hesiod's Works and Days.[1] The "box" was actually a large jar (πίθος pithos)[2] given to Pandora (Πανδώρα) ("all-gifted", "all-giving"),[3] which contained all the evils of the world. When Pandora opened the jar, all its contents except for one item were released into the world. The one remaining item was Hope.[4] Today, to open Pandora's box means to create evil that cannot be undone.

    This is what I feel is represented by the box! the case with the picture comes a corss as tarot cards which to me always depicts humans wishing for something to happen in their lives rather than believing! this is the difference between the human and the spirit!! if only humans had enough belief in the spirit they would know that faith will bring the what they need through faith. You mention alcohol! well that is always going to take you to a dark place as it always will muliply the positive or negative experience and normally the negative. When this happens the valise is closed but the contents within the valise fester and grow until the valise is opened and all of the insecurities, anger and jealousies, and envy come flooding out. To be free of these the valise must be emptied by opening and once these are release there is nothing but a new beginning and as in the story of pandora all that is left is hope, which is a wonderful place to start. To be free of alcohol is like the first day you take a blank canvas to a field and not only do you see but your senses feel! you can smell and hear what is amazing about this gift of life... the valise of the day!!