After we’ve found the Treasure on the Heroine/Hero’s Journey, we’re tired, need a break to care for ourselves, and easily can start to feel satisfied that our work is finished, and it’s time to coast. Besides, how do we share what we’ve learned? What difference does our learning make to others? And . . . what is a Social Artist, Global Citizen, or Universal Human? Why might taking on one or more of those roles turn out to be important?
First of all, as described in the introduction to this Community section, Returning with Treasure requires time to reflect upon and integrate the transformative experiences we’ve had. Those self-compassion resources we gathered earlier remain vital, especially as our Expanded Selves learn to live out of a Bigger Picture – one in which we collaborate with other kindred spirits in discovering new roles that serve All Our Relations.
Next, our sense of Self is more inclusive. At this time of planetary awareness, we are better able to imagine ourselves not only as Global Citizens caring for our interrelated and interdependent global communities, but also as Universal Humans learning what it might mean to play a conscious, wise, and caring role in a much broader universe.
In late 1995, I learned through Jean Houston about the first gathering of the Society for the Universal Human, which was to be held in the Portland, Oregon area in early 1996. Not only did I attend it, but also a subsequent gathering in 1997. People from all over the USA and the world assembled to explore and participate in this emerging paradigm shift.
In addition to Jean, some of the other leaders convening these Universal Human events included Joan Borysenko, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, and Gary Zukav. They all spoke separately, but their approach was collaborative. The gatherings were holistic and experiential, and I came away with a much larger understanding of the world and of my place in it.
Finally, when we assume these broader perspectives, we are ripe to become Social Artists. Jean Houston introduced me to Social Artistry. According to her, ‘Social Artistry is the art of enhancing human capacities in light of social complexity. It seeks to bring new ways of thinking, being and doing to social challenges in the world.’ Naturally, that involves a new type of leader.
Jean writes, ‘Social Artists are the leaders in many fields who bring the same order of passion and skill that an artist brings to his or her art form and to the canvas of our social reality. It is within the deep work of Social Artistry that we can access the inner capacities to align ourselves with the earth’s higher purpose.’
She continues, ‘Too many leaders have been educated for a different time, a different world’, and ‘Few are prepared for the task of dealing with the complexity and chaos of today, when the usual formulas and stopgap solutions of an earlier era will not help.’ Jean describes the work of Social Artistry as ‘striving to provide a dynamic balance between inner understanding and outward expression.’
Furthermore, she sees it as ‘a new profession whose craft could be said to be that of conscious evolution.’ For her, it calls forth a ‘new kind of healer’ who embraces ‘the work of re-patterning human nature’ and is always learning ‘to think like a planetary citizen’, works with old and newly-emerging myths, is a paradigm pioneer, and brings joy and laughter to life.
I’ve quoted Jean extensively, because she speaks so powerfully and clearly. I also know from training with her that a core part of being a Social Artist is co-creating teaching-learning communities of people who together do their inner work, in order to be of service in the world. As described in other sections of this website, Jean has developed a four-stage process she urges these communities to use when doing their work.
In the late 1990s, several friends and I started meeting to explore how we might start a School for Social Artistry. Though we met for some time, Jean hadn’t developed her Social Artistry process or training, and we eventually stopped. However shortly thereafter, a few of us, who were interested in Celtic Cultures, started the Omaha Celtic Group, which remains an active teaching-learning community today.
My dream of starting a School for Social Artistry has not died. It’s form and/or appearance may be different from earlier visions, but I imagine that the work I’ve begun and continue to develop is part of an emerging foundation for that School.