I've been sitting with the words teacher, guide, leader and guru a lot lately. Our hierarchical power over/power under constructs have distorted so much; these constructs have over inflated some and taken the power away from many. I see those who want to throw away the idea of leadership and I also see others who truly need someone to lead the way. I see the desire to toss aside the idea of leadership because many have used the power given to them to manipulate and control others and I also see where true leadership can help people find their inner agency and flourish.
The human psyche likes to polarize; it loves to "throw out the baby with the bathwater" and put things into categories of "good or bad".
The thing is, we are all different. We all have different capacities and different needs. We are all in different stages of life, learning and knowing and we can benefit from learning from and being led by those that walk the path alongside us. We can benefit from each other's strengths and we can always go further together than we ever could alone. I believe we are in a time where we are clarifying and possibly redefining what it means to teach and to lead. There are as many definitions of the word leader as there are online dictionaries. Some are horribly rooted in the power over dynamic and others feel antiquated and irrelevant to where we are moving as a collective.
I did find one definition that somewhat resonated...the definition of Leader at wordhippo.com is "A person who has the support of their peers to lead or direct." This definition implies reciprocity, a partnership that benefits the whole rather than the few. I recognize that it is limited, it doesn't state the qualifications or qualities needing to be possessed by the person playing the role of "leader" but perhaps that's what we need to focus on more than we do the title.
Right now we are in a state of evolutionary transition. We are learning to dismantle the distorted structures, to reclaim our personal power and to respect the sovereignty of others while honoring the interdependence that is clearly a part of our existence. Individually we need to be in a state of autonomy and accountability and we need leaders willing to hand the power back to the people they serve when they slip into past patterns and give it away. I have no ultimate answer, the thesaurus doesn't give me adequate words to make the vibration of inequality go away. It's clear that we need to begin to rewrite our definitions and our qualifications for leadership and put them into action; it's up to us as individuals to create what it is that we desire as we step forward into the future.
Please feel free to ponder this new way with me; it is through our imagination that the new world will be born. ❤️🙏🏼