Small, insecure, and exploratory; finding its center of gravity...its coherence and capacities.
Along with the practicalities of setting up shop and making commitments for the productive season ahead, we've found space for introspection:
What drives us to produce? How shall we align and build together in harmony, while honoring differences and embracing change?
These questions emerge one way or another in cooperative undertakings, and prompt careful attention. Too often, they come late, during crisis, the unaddressed 'elephant in the room' of projects run aground on unsustainable interpersonal dynamics...the stuff of many a murky meeting or facilitated retreat, leading back to the same core issues: are we really in this together?
Why do we do what we do, and what consistently binds or divides us?
The whither, the will, the why, of our activities and output arise from a blend of embedded and spontaneous influence. Sometimes we act consciously on a need, obligation, expectation, or surfeit; often we semi-automate our choices via bundles of 'programs' from the patterns and habits of prior learning or experience or instinct. It is one of the most essential and unpredictable learning curves we undertake as individuals, to establish strong foundations of self-knowledge for the awareness, appreciation and expression of complex motives, values, intentions, inquiries; with compassionate integrity and grace. Culture, community, physiology, and other more subtle regimes can offer rules and routes over well-defined ground, yet it remains ever the human art and dance of authentic creative participation that keep things interesting, and evolving.
To align with a group, holding shared awareness of these forces at work, is another level of challenge and discovery. But is that too much to hope for from a fresh team focused on getting things done? Is it distracting? What should come first - the business, or the bond? More and more we see in open enterprise that meaning is in the making, the doing; not so much the mushy up front dialogue about orchestrating it all. Interpersonal connection and appreciation are precious, but not first priority, often emerging from the work experience.
We've navigated some choppy dialogue around defining a mission, settling roles, distributing responsibilities, and coordinating effort. The reference structure we return to for coherence is a clean map of values and a clear iterative statement of purpose. From that minimalist constitution, we are each free to choose - and naive to hang any assumptions or expectations on others. To *earn* connection and appreciation, cultivate an integrity of thought and deed that speaks meaningfully by uplifting the whole, even while the 'good of the whole' remains a vague and evolving thing, subject to interpretation.
VEDA Co is grappling with a range of new opportunities, while still solidifying agreements around some of our primary projects and settings. Without any pooled budget or promise of returns, the art of conversation and gifting are central to this process, and take time to introduce to new players. It is moderately infectious.
Experiences of collaboration and co-creation can lead us swiftly toward self-actualization and higher even to collective catharsis and synergy 'at one' with a body of peers...or it can lead to conflict, confusion, and disappointment. How far are you willing to grow? VEDA strives to emerge on the side of donation, of creativity as the seed of communion and mutual enrichment. We look to maintain awareness of our personal tendencies and aptitudes, and to hold space for exploration and growth. We must be cognizant of liabilities and prior missteps, without constraining practice toward new proficiencies.
A couple of key features in our model encourage openness:
- we operate via serial donation rather than contract
- we cultivate an open brand instead of a proprietary edifice
- our records of production and donation are public
- we maintain individual and collective maps of capacity and intent
And yes, we like to talk about it all regularly, with a high degree of confidence in one another as mirrors and mentors, and the wisdom to call for additional ears and insights if things aren't clear as a bell. I find myself more and more readily jumping in between modes of consort as peer, student, friend, observer, coach.
Learn, do, share, invent, respond. It's all improv, in a seriously fun play!