Engaging interdependently with others in the process of making decisions feels to many people like giving up autonomy. The freedom to make whatever decisions we want to make so long as we are not harming others is one of the core attractions of the modern world. I see it as a consolation prize for the loss of community and care.
“I started wondering about the context within which we aim to collaborate, and about whether there is anything we can do about the structural conditions that has the potential to make collaboration succeed more often than otherwise. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been identifying and investigating such conditions…”
The concepts of “deserve,” “earn,” and “owe” are so deeply lodged in our way of seeing things that they appear almost natural and it’s hard for many people to imagine en economic model without these concepts. I am committed to restoring a flow from where resources exist to where they are needed. In this piece, I describe my experience with a process for doing this on a small scale, embodying principles that another economic system could be based on.
In my last blog post, I introduced the idea of stepping off the line we all live on, where most of us are constantly trying to get ahead, and described the value I see in aiming to step off the line and what we can gain by doing it: reclaiming our freedom to choose for ourselves, from within, aligned with our deepest needs and values, and reconnecting with our place in the vast web of interdependence. In this piece, I focus on the actual process, the inner and outer spiraling dance of transformation we can engage in, from where we are, to move in that direction, knowing full well we cannot dismantle the line.
One of the potent images of our modern, competitive era is that of a long line we are all trying to get ahead in. Our spot in the line determines our access to resources to sustain our bodies, souls, and families. All of us were born into a world in which we are all on this endless line. We don’t choose the line. We only choose how we relate both to our place in the line and to the existence of the line.
Developing this particular version of humility, the true dis-identification with our strengths and, from that, the ability to enjoy them, can then become fuel for our leadership as well as clarity about what to call on when we embrace leadership, when we plan our actions, when we choose how to respond in a moment of challenge. These are the baseline qualities that we will lean into and build our leadership around.
In this time, so full of pain and challenge, I was unexpectedly nourished by an email I received from someone who is consciously, purposefully trying to live applied NVC and Conflict Transformation in work and life, currently doing it in Eastern Sri Lanka. I am sharing an abridged version of her words here.
Reclaiming our innate capacity for receiving takes us on a journey of recognizing, accepting, and embracing our needs, and re-developing the trust that others and life itself will respond and give us what we need.
The practice of nonviolence begins, for real, precisely when our actions, words, or thoughts are not aligning with our commitment. Because, as I finally understood recently, our capacity often lags behind our commitment.