“Anyone writing a creative work knows that you open, you yield yourself, and the book talks to you and builds itself. To a certain extent, you become the carrier of something that has been given to you from what we call the Muses—or, in biblical language, ‘God.’ This is not fancy, it is fact. Since the inspiration comes from the unconscious, and since the unconscious mind of the people of any single small society have much in common, what the shaman or seer brings forth is something that is waiting to be brought forth in everyone.”

—Joseph Campbell

Each time I travel to the northern plains it’s for the purpose of spiritual and creative regeneration. After seeing all my friends on “the Rez” (Pine Ridge), I typically take off for a few days alone into “the land of Crazy Horse.” It’s a vast and remote territory stretching from the North Platte River in Nebraska to the Yellowstone in Montana. It includes landscapes filled with trees and those devoid of them. When there, I drive for days, hike for hours, and sleep not much at all.

As I drive I listen to music. Often the windows are down, regardless of the temperature, and the volume is turned up. On each trip, without fail, the collective musical soundtrack of the journey will bring forth a message or theme that feels as if it was written for me alone. On my most recent trip the following lyrics resonated deeply:

Something in the wind has learned my name, and it’s telling me that things are not the same.

—Karen Carpenter, “Top of the World”

The windswept grasslands of the northern plains have spoken to me in this same way and opened my eyes to the connectivity of all living things. When the wind swirls the grass, rattles the leaves, moves the clouds, and brushes my face, I no longer feel detached.

* * *

So if you think your life is complete confusion, because you never win the game, just remember that it’s a grand illusion, and deep inside we’re all the same.

—Styx, “The Grand Illusion”

The human constructs we use to measure ourselves in a commercialized, merchandized, and Internet-wired world can leave us all feeling like we’ve come up short—like someone else is winning. But that external noise is just a “grand illusion.”

* * *

So sing, sing at the top of your voice. Oh, love without fear in your heart. Can you feel, feel like you still have a choice? If we all light up we can scare away the dark.

—Passenger, “Scare Away the Dark”

This passage (to me) is all about coming into your own voice. It’s a call to self-actualize. To self-actualize is to light up. To light up is to scare away the dark.

* * *

No, his mind is not for rent to any god or government. Always hopeful, yet discontent. He knows changes aren’t permanent, but change is.

—Rush, “Tom Sawyer”

I first heard this song at the age of twenty while working for the summer in Yellowstone National Park. I’ve loved its call for a free mind and heart ever since. May your mind forever be NOT FOR SALE!

* * *

And we’re not broken, just bent. And we can learn to love again.

—Alanis Morissette, “Guardian”

None of us are broken. All of us are bent. Love is the cure, and it begins with love of self. We change the world within us, then beside us, then beyond us.

* * *

The songs that speak to you are real manifestations of your spirit, path, and purpose. They capture your attention for a reason. Don’t dismiss them. Don’t shake them off. Let them resonate.

The photographs and paintings that stop you in your tracks are also clues. The quotes you save and the poems you jot down are affirmations. Art is never abstract when it comes for you. It’s the Universe calling, disguised as human expression.

How do I hear and answer my callings? All who search ponder this question.

You answer your personal callings by resisting the temptation in those precious moments when the wind or the music speaks to you, to “shake it off” and go back to that which is tangible and logical.

That’s not to say your earthly responsibilities don’t matter; they do. But spirit—well, that’s the most important, because it’s come to guide your earthly work. When it stirs, you must let yourself be overtaken.

Trust me, you are being called. We are all being called. Somewhere out there is a song just for you, so go and hear the music . . .


You don’t become an artist unless you’ve got something missing somewhere.



Thank you for considering my thoughts. In return I honor yours. Every voice matters. Nestled between our differences lies our future.


This is the forty-first post in a series of short essays to be posted by Kevin to www.thebusinessofsharedleadership.com in 2021. Kevin is dedicating these writings in honor of Black Elk, the Oglala Sioux holy man who was escorted as a child on a sacred vision quest by the 48 horses of the four directions to visit the six Grandfathers. My horses, prancing they are coming. They will dance; may you behold them. On that journey Black Elk understood the sacred power that dwelled within him and lives within us all. He also recognized that this power could be used for good or bad. Intentional we must be about the path we walk. To invite others to join The Business of Shared Leadership and receive these posts, just pass this link along. The more who join, the deeper the energy field of engagement will become! Thank you!