Sunday, June 24, 2007

I love my communities

KM4Dev - the whole lot
Originally uploaded by Bev Trayner.
I have so much stuff in my head I want to blog about, but catching up on work is priority now that I'm back home in Seattle. It is so lovely to sleep in my own bed, next to my husband. And I miss the amazing F2F time with my communities and network friends from Europe. It was so lovely to hang out and work for more than a few days, to know I would see people more than once, to indulge in too many glasses of wine, dancing and singing silly songs together. To talk of our work, and about food.

The bottom line is I love my communities. They are not closed caverns into which I crawl to be affirmed or have my beliefs validated. They are windows through which I can look and see new views.

Stephen Downes commented on a post of mine about communities where he said "- but I still think that groups depend on sameness, which means the members must already be relevantly the same (something, I suspect, that characterizes the Portugal group) or willing to assume sameness."

Surely sameness characterizes many communities. But I think "sameness' is not quite the right word in my most vibrant communities. It is some shared love. Love of a topic. Love of our connections. Love of our ability to find ways to talk and listen even when we violently disagree. Enough love to not walk away when things get tough or icky.

I love my communities where I struggle to get along with some members, because these are the people who have something to teach me. I love my communities where I feel loved, even if people don't agree with me, or for whom my style is an irritant (and I know this happens... more than I wish.) I love my communities who let me take risks, and when I trip and fall, laugh and learn with me, from my mistakes, not berrate me.

Recently on the email list of a community I belong to, but where I mostly sit on the periphery, there was another dust up. There were challenges to the topic leader but feelings were hurt and lots of meta conversation sprang up on the WAY the challenges were offered, handled by the topic leader and the community leader. This is a smart community, with some key members who have a style that some would characterize as combative, aggressive or other such words.

I believe these can also be signs of love, but we sometimes aren't connected enough to sense that. We mistake it for hostility, lack of respect. Or it may be hostility and lack of respect, but we aren't skilled enough to work through it. That is also community.

Anyway, enough Sunday morning, mocha-stimulated ramblings. I just had to declare my love before I got back to work.

By the way, the picture is a great artifact from last week's KM4Dev community gathering in Zeist, Holland. Upon arrival, everyone had their picture taken. On the last day, this display went up and everyone could leave a comment for another under their picture. It was an amazing community indicator, some love for everyone from members of the community, new and old. (Half of the gathering were new members)

As a note, here are some other things I want to blog about to catch up:
  • How reading past twitter messages makes me feel
  • David Weinberger's new book, "Everything is Miscellaneous" and why I kept telling everyone about it while I was on the road
  • Reflections on the CPSquare Setubal Dialog
  • Reflections on the KMr4Dev gathering
  • Asking for some help on a knowledge sharing project.
Now, back to drinking a great home made mocha and working!


Blogger tree fitzpatrick said...

This post, Nancy, is beautiful, full of beautiful thoughts and beautiful language.

How soothing to remember that love is one of the common denominators in almost any community, indeed, in almost any collective effort between two or more human beings. Of course love is what brings people together.

Our mutual friend, Kenoli Oleari, recently wrote, over at The World Cafe, "there has been an acknowledgment of the importance to us as humans that we be able to both speak and BE HEARD in a public context. This is so key to the human experience that (Humberto) Maturana referred to it in his definition of love:

"Love is the legitimization of the other in relation to the self."

Kenoli's work is about creating space for all voices in all communities to be heard.

I think this quote from Maturana is pretty much what you have just said here, Nancy, about communities.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Nancy White said...

Thanks, Tree. That is a beautiful quote and you remind me that this is the sort of gift Kenoli can bring to groups.

11:45 AM  

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