“The task is to make kin in lines of inventive connection as a practice of learning to live and die well in each other’s thick presence” — Donna Haraway: Staying With The Trouble
According to the dictionary, Cat’s Cradle is a collaborative game played with strings by two or more people. During the game complex patterns are formed. Each person needs to focus on the collective effort as they take over and complicate their partner’s configuration.
Playing together requires many skills beyond the rules of the game. According to the author of Radical Collaboration, Jimm Tamm, the five principles of collaboration are:
Interestingly, 4 out of the five principles refer to feelings rather than intellectual capacity. It seems to be the case that to be able to work together better, a personal journey to deal with unresolved feelings, vague fears, inarticulated needs and hidden assumptions is necessary.
I have to admit, I am not comfortable with the term, personal well-being, and the army of self-help books that teach tricks on how to solve problems within oneself. There seems to be a whole new level of consumerism directed to feelings, as if now that the world has become nearly uninhabitable both on a physical and an emotional level thanks to unsustainable practices of production and consumption, we are now offered the opportunity to spend yet more money and time on learning ways to be able to deal with this devastation.
However, having worked with various groups in the last years, and seen beautiful projects go astray due to personal conflicts, lack of communication, and an inability to move beyond personal defensive attitudes instead of moving forward together, it seems inevitable that personally taking responsibility for one’s own inner universe is absolutely necessary in order to work together in new forms of organisations such as Teal or Open Organisation.
It is therefore not a coincidence that I found the first weekend of the Unleash program by euforia focused on personal wellbeing not only interesting but quite useful. We learned a wide range of different methods enabling us to engage with and accept our own fears, aspirations and vulnerability, and use these insightful strategies also to relate to each other.
For a weekend focused on the individual, most of the workshops required team work and in-depth conversation with one another. It provided an opportunity to get to know each other beyond the visible roles we each play in that particular community. The only thing the various techniques required us was to be truly present for ourselves, and for the others, not as experts, problem solvers, critics, defenders, judges or protectors, simply “as mortal critters entwined in myriad unfinished configurations of places, times, matters, meanings.”