"I am always doing that thing which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it."
Moving forward during a time of new norms and routines can be challenging. Change asks that we learn additional ways of relating to ourselves and the world. It can stir fears that we may not be able to meet our needs. While the body loves stability and routine, we, as spiritual beings crave problem-solving and creative expression. Now, each of us are called to honor both needs, seemingly in extremes. Every day, regular optimal sleep and nutrition are vital, as are ingenuity and outside-the-box solutions. Embrace the broad and beautiful range of your capabilities as we reconfigure our world—locally and globally—together. This is not an easy task, but it can be an enriching one. Even as we socially distance, we can unite in bringing about a better tomorrow. Human culture is changing, but human goodness remains. How will we express our aspirations—and validate the best in ourselves—given the constraints we experience? Share your vision, labor, and innovations with those you love so that we can move more seamlessly through the growing pains we currently face.
The journey of personal growth can involve many steps— even, climbing mountains— to access clarity regarding one’s truth, values, desires, aims, and intentions! In the process, we challenge all that we have learned from family, teachers, society, and media to discover and define ourselves. To know what makes our hearts sing and our spirits soar is a wonderful accomplishment— and no small feat! Once we anchor this knowledge into our bodies and lives, celebration is in order! Clarity and self-awareness are truly invaluable!
However, the journey does not stop there. The next step is to introduce our truths to the world. We are called to make our insights and talents manifest. Often, though, our visions exceed ourselves. To fully manifest our dreams, we will need to cooperate with others who have intersecting desires and, likewise, wish to manifest their dreams. In the world, we learn to cooperate.
Some learnings bubble up through contemplation, introspection, and insight, while other learnings emerge in the process of relating to others. Although there is much that we can do to advance ourselves individually, the “next step” always involves advancing together. Once our visions are clear, we are ready to cooperate. While personal growth is necessary to enter into genuine cooperation, we must move beyond ourselves to collaborate with others effectively.
In this way, cooperation involves humility. In a group venture, I am an irreplaceable piece of the puzzle! And, the other puzzle pieces are equally needed for the picture to be complete. Once we see the significant role that others play not only in the overall scheme of the world’s unfolding, but in our own development, we realize that we need them to be fully themselves as much as we need to be fully ourselves. But, if we wish to complete the puzzle, showing up with a clear intention to participate in good faith is not enough.
Cooperation requires a balance of two dispositions: appreciation of the diverse talents of the individuals in the group, and recognition of the shared aim(s) of the collaboration. Each person brings different skills (as well as concerns) to the group, while an agreed-upon focus unites the venture. The group must congeal around a common aim to which each member aspires.
What does cooperation look like?
Consider a musical group. The talents of each of the players is distinct. While the expression of a drummer may be to drum, his/her beat is enhanced by the outpourings of other musicians. The aim of the guitarist is not to drum, and yet the guitar playing is complemented by joining the drummer. Each person brings talents, practice, drive, and enthusiasm to the group, and each role is crucial to the advancement of the musical arrangement, but each contribution is unique— and may not be understood by the other participants. The example becomes more complex when we acknowledge that a successful concert tour involves not only the musicians, but the producers, sound engineers, staging help, venues, ticketing outlets, marketers, fans, transportation personnel and vehicles, and so on. Each person doing his/her part in alignment with the shared vision is essential to the event’s creation and success. Enjoy your collaborations, and… Rock on!
Heidi Szycher, PhD
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