Thursday, February 19, 2009

“In the Spirit of Leadership” Cheryl Esposito (Review by Paul Steven Stone)

“In the Spirit of Leadership”
A Vision Into A Different Future By Cheryl Esposito
Plumb Road Publishing, price $18.95

Reviewed 2/20/09 by Paul Steven Stone

“In The Spirit of Leadership, A Vision Into A Different Future”, sounds more ponderous and self-important than this book of poems and insights actually proves to be. Designed (unconsciously, I believe) to resemble a box of luxury chocolates, this elegant book seeks to open minds to their own potential and hidden strengths, sharing through poetry and snatches of prose the author’s many insights gained over years as a leadership consultant to CEO’s, senior executives and world leaders.
The book starts off “on track”, giving you what you’ve been led to expect, poetry and insights focused on creating business leaders and fresh thinkers, teaching them “Being Leadership”—embodying leadership—rather than to wear the flimsy-but-oft-worn mantle of “Being Leaders”.
Soon, however, we wander off into realms farther afield than Applied Business School Philosophy. We are journeying with the author through poetic interludes as she takes wilderness solo journeys, overcomes fears of the unknown, recovers from being badly burned in a fire, pushes herself and her readers toward an ever-opening and never-resolved becoming. We are the chrysalis, the cocoon and the butterfly all in one.
The poems themselves use simple direct language, sentences often chopped up into fragments and stanzas.

A few examples…

There it is again.
That in between.
That place of uncertainty
That place where everything
is possible
and nothing
feels right.

The in between shows up all around me
In this writing I am in between.
The words are in between.
I am so good at seeing
what’s in between —
for others…
hearing the unspoken,
in between the words —
for others…
I listen.
I listen.
The lonely listener is
alive and well…in me.
How do I put her to work for me?
What are the words
from the place
in between
that she will hear?

Or when she is “Connecting with one’s nature.”

Open space. Big sky. Canyons that are endless. There I can breathe. I feel everything. I am alone with my fear, with my joy, with my self.
Out there I understand the insignificance of me…
And the significance of us, the humans inhabiting the earth. We are at once reckless and loving with the mother.
When I am there, I am vigilant with my care. I feel honored to be there.
There. To be there. To be.
I don’t experience “there” during day to day living.
I see and appreciate,
but the “there” feeling is quiet.
I lose the nature within me.
In solo, I connect with my true nature.

Cheryl Esposito is clearly a woman of many talents and the wisdom to pursue them with clarity and vigor. If there is a fault with “In The Spirit of Leadership” it lies in it offering too much for us to consider in a single package, too many themes heading in too many directions. But then again, once one connects with the zen of being leadership—of being our true selves—as Esposito envisions it, choosing what to read and what to leave unread probably becomes a natural act.

And there is much in this poetic enterprise worthy of reading.

Paul Steven Stone is the author of "Or So It Seems" ( Blind Elephant Press)

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