Iris As Partner: The Desire to Collaborate

Though I have been a so-called relational psychoanalytically-informed therapist and clinical psychologist for the better part of 30 years, my passion for organizational collaboration has only been piqued over the past 8 years. I have only come to an understanding of what collaboration actually looks and feels like, in the context of community, over the past 3 years.

Working with is fundamentally relational. This is obvious. But, what I think is less obvious, organizationally speaking, is the potential depth and range of collaboration. Organizations tend to have this individual or self-contained psychological feel to them.  Like individuals, they live on a spectrum of openness. Some organizations are more open. They creatively explore new opportunities and ways of thinking and working, and actively seek out new relationships, that is, simply,  they are relational. Other organizations tend to be more closed to working with others, what I would describe as, less open to collaboration.  The healthy boundary of relationship feels more like a barrier.  This is not a criticism, but it is a curious concern. I want to understand this more.

My decision to partner with ELEE (Engaging Lectures w/ Everyday Experts) was primarily determined by its collaborative vision and mission. I actually see ELEE as an experiment in relational consciousness on a community scale.  Like so many of my friends, folks who really inspire me, I want to help build healthy community relationships in very specific ways. Collaboration-- designing psychologically healthy ways to work with-- on both individual and group levels, for example, is compelling to me.

For one thing, collaboration invokes mystery, and so, is fundamentally creative.  Have you ever noticed, when people work closely together, such phenomena as "coincidence," synchronicity, synergy, and the like? These are actual occurrences and what really flavor and deepen our relationships. And the reason, I would argue, is that openness and intimacy and authentic connecting tap into the entanglement of relational reality, that is, the intertwining reality of healthy relational life.  

Consciousness, or our very being IS radically connected, interdependent through and through.  The craziness, even insanity, is that we often treat this truth as counter-intuitive. Instead of opening to, we often find ourselves closing off, resisting connection.  And this is also true of organizations, which are simply larger relational fields.

Again, this is not a criticism. I know isolation and have lived it. It is called trauma. Trauma has both formed and informed my capacity for intimacy and social engagement, and led me on a life journey of healing, reparation, and understanding. Life is my therapeutic field, and healing my language and orienting consciousness.

Sibylle and I intentionally set upon this journey and experiment of Iris to help create, in some small but significant ways, healthy community connections.  We had a deep desire to collaborate, to create with.  

It kind of feels like a quantum community life/play space.  The interplay between the explicit, practical workings of daily life, and the subtle, wavelike intuitive processes that feel more like music and dance and art and poetry, and that most inform and point to the ground awareness of health and well-being; this is community. And bringing this awareness into community, through explicit and skillful means, and embodied language and conversation,  is collaboration.

Posted by: Paul Lichtenberg