Over the past few weeks, Gil, Anita and I have been having many in depth conversations on what we want to accomplish with Spacious Complexity; how we want to serve others and how we will grow and be with each other as we build this work together. We bring a richness of experiences, a variety of perspectives and individual life challenges to our work that makes our commitment to Spacious Complexity, not work in the traditional sense, but a life affirming experience for all of us which can also be challenging at times.
My particular life challenge has been managing what was once, a life threatening auto immune illness. Through the support of a great team of doctors, naturopaths and alternative healers, along with my own commitment to my health, I am now in remission and intend to stay that way.
Recently, I began to experience increased fatigue which I have come to understand is my body’s way of communicating that I need to take more time and space for myself and disconnect for a period of time from my myriad of outside activities. What made this decision complex was my commitment to support my two partners in building Spacious Complexity. I needed space to unravel my conflicting emotions in honouring my commitment to both my health and colleagues along with wanting to continue the contribution when I was again able to do so.
What became clear to me is that the” forces” the three of us understand as governing our professional lives lend clarity to our personal lives as well. I reframed my view in light of how belonging and reciprocity – two forces that could both support and confuse this emerging need;. My deep feeling of belonging to this partnership was, in my initial thoughts, threatened by how the deep physical need to take care of myself limits the frequency of my contribution. The pre-illness Deb would have ignored that physical need in favour of the commitment and sense of belonging to the detriment of my health. This was no longer an option for me.
The question I asked myself at this point was “Could the force of reciprocity balance this need for a period of time?” “Had I built enough trust with my colleagues to use the force of reciprocity to carry me though this time of need? These questions brought up for me an apprehension and a fear of not holding up my end of our working agreement; a betrayal of assumed reciprocity in our partnership.
In subsequent conversations between the three of us we realized that during the course of this partnership each of us will have circumstances where we will need to rely on the reciprocity of the other two to support us. What the force of belonging provided to us was a keen desire to open up a “spacious conversation” where we could all safely discuss our potential contributions in line with our life stages. Our common purpose and growing sense of connection (belonging) paved a way which removed the fear and guilt; allowing for healing.
As a result, we are creating a design that allows me to continue to bring value while healing, even when that requires periods of absence. We fully understand that these types of conversations will be ongoing as we use the power of these forces to deepen and provide flexibility within our partnership. Noticing how we use and build with these forces – within our relationships – helped us to get clarity about how to make these forces work for us.
I will not be active over the next few months but am confident that my colleagues know that my commitment has not wavered and that I will be ready to support them to the best of my ability thanks to their gift of open reciprocity. I am truly grateful for their compassion, awareness and commitment and feel blessed that I have the privilege to work with them and can continue to contribute.
The final questions I leave with you are:
“Where in your life may you need to ask for the gift of reciprocity?
“Where could the force of belonging help to open up those spacious conversations?”