Work and Love

31 min read

We watched him melt and shape a round ball of glass about the size of a baseball for nearly an hour.  He kept adding colors to it — first blue, then orange, then green and then blue again.  He kept heating it in the furiously hot fire, protecting himself with safety glasses and gloves while maneuvering the little ball at the end of a long metal pole.  He continued adding glass until eventually the little baseball grew to the size of a small football.  Then the magic happened.

He began to swing the end of the pole in wide arcs as if it were a long baseball bat.  As it flew over and over through the air, the glass began to lengthen from a ball to a whale to something with no definable shape.  Michael kept adding color and small pieces of fresh glass to the mix and reheating it all in the kiln.  This whole process felt on the edge and dangerous to me, yet his vigilance and apparent skill kept us entranced.  Soon the glass was almost three feet long and I could see a meteor with a great fiery tail on its way through space.  It was no longer blue, but an orange, silver and red streak of fire on its journey through the atmosphere.

We had gone from the physical, measurable and linear reality of preparation and skill to the transformed reality of Creativity Unleashed.  We watched Michael move from the predictive world of planning to a world of risk, invented possibility and faith in limitless imagination and innovation.  The first part was rational and thoughtful, but along the way, creativity was unleashed.  The result was unpredictable, beyond words and a living demonstration of the pure presence of inventing something that had never existed before.

The moment of creativity unleashed was not a specific increment of time, a single second, minute, or hour.  It took as long as it took for the waves to break.  The experience was paradoxical, both conscious and unconscious at the same time.  It was doing without thinking, like the way one walks on a high wire.  Michael had embodied love and work in the same moment.


After reading this article, a CEO, department manager or team leader might see a glimmer of possibility for his or her business unit and be inspired to take responsibility for changing its prevailing Systemic Imperative.  But then immediately the question arises:  “Where do I start and what do I do?” 

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