Where does the unMonk’s residency coalesce ?:
via the strengthening of inner group powers;
in the cultivating of one-to-one alliances;
through the building of a cultural matrix
of genuine, effective exchange.
Greater and Lesser Omissions
Monks require contemplation; the sheer weight of our practical considerations allowed precious little time for reflection. (Praise be upon the hard fought choice to opt for the hand warming rituals of manual dishwashing.) Otherwise, we coddled modern beings reflexively expanded our comfort zones as best we could. With hardly time to raise our heads in either song or prayer, we assaulted our undernourished ‘long term goals’ as if they were hacked into the stone of the walls.
The unMo speaks of treasuring its interface. The unMo speaks of Listening to its Walls.
The geological massive from which the unMonastery fundament has been carved resists tidy demarcations. The face of the cave wall is a breathing entity full of undesigned detail. Walls are not just walls but fault lines of least resistance; carefully carved vaults that have become pockmarked through centuries of seeping condensation. Any signs of willed human interaction do not indicate impatience nor esthetic blindness, they are rather intrusions spurred by the need to survive.
As it is with this our formal space, so is it with our conceptual space. Our projects shall and must dissolve to redefine their arc. Grand plans despite their magnificent lines must adapt to reality, and while befriending reality is often wise, it would be desirable for our day to day project design to be modified by something more than the need to survive. Our conscious choices are better spurred by a desire for elegance than for purely practical considerations; sketching an array of desirable progettino can be an illuminating strategy…
The grandiose project Mission Statement is meant to be an unObtainable wish – a navigational star placed so conveniently far from reality – that no matter how convincingly we have bashed our heads against the wall, it is there shining in the heavens as soon as we regain consciousness. If off course, we can swiftly spot our orientation and adjust our direction.
When the guide post for a major project exists at such a distance as to defy nuanced perspective, we must often turn to our practical daily interactions in order to at all measure any forward motion. However, if we can then adjust the terms of our examination with even minor degrees of magnification, progress becomes quickly breathtaking.
To facilitate our daily, more prosaic growth it is desirable to deconstruct The Upper Case Project into component ‘progettini’. Progettini are our conscious positive steps in close-up. They are the openings opened, our daily desirables. Focussing upon these natural by-products of a project description can inform us when we are really doing what we intend to be doing. Identifying the refined facets of our living interface helps us evolve our true projects; we can begin to interact with reality.
Listing the component virtues of our projects may seem distasteful. Our ‘virtuosity’ is meant to be discretely ingrained within all our worldly activities, to articulate the desire for such attributes comes dangerously close to brashly claiming their presence. Even if projects aren’t meant to be humble, we their perpetrators are.
Our way out of this is to go into our circles, to distill our desirables via a collective process that masks our personal ambition and elevates the inherent vision to a function of the group. If I were to humbly suggest tentative project virtues that might help us unMonasterians align our day to day work, a brief list might look like this:
- participatory — leave behind the experience of doing the work;
- visceral — incorporate the joy of physical effort at that core of the exchange;
- inhabit a linguistically level (or lower) playing field;
- elegant — in accomplishment and idea;
- demonstrative of the creation of surplus value.
This short list of i virtù di progettini of can readily be extended through the actor’s homework tool of articulating one’s subtext. What is it we do when we are doing our real work? Or as Brother Siri once put it to the group: What are the experiences of WOW that made you feel that this was what being an unMonasterian was all about? What are our daily objectives? Expressed generally as, say, “I will do some good” we remain general and toothless. By breaking down our objectives into component parts, we gain useful precision…
The Subtext of Good Works
- To Form Friendships – this is the easy one. Every society has its social fault lines, the schism between those who routinely embody subconscious values, and those that actively set the same values in question. Along this division lie human cells of curiosity that readily open for connections with our available friendship receptors. People seek people. People seek like minds. Hampered by linguistic unProficiency (even as some of us daubed in Duolingo), the cultivating of human warmth becomes the currency of our exchange, fumbling forwards with grace and humility.
- Forming friendships remain our first five objectives. Variations on the theme may provide us subtle re-writes such as the expand your network or
- to Gather concerned citizens,
- to Unearth strategic allies,
- to Build emotional support among like minds.
The true basis action of all of these objectives is feeding potential friendships.
- to Stimulate Cohesion / to Cultivate the We – The inner workings of the enterprise needs must be solid. To give each other enough space for all personal foibles is not necessarily best policy. The Art of Self-Sacrifice may be a finicky creature to introduce and then tame, but without it we merely replicate the environments that have driven us to this impasse of supplicating ourselves in the first place. Working together helps.
- to Promote Co-consciousness – Above and beyond documentation our work needs definition. Coincidently, creating the one can beget the other; however, the flaws of both pen on parchment and obscure blog comment is that the best lain words of many can be consigned to a ridiculously short shelf-life beneath an enormous mountain of virtual dust.
It is proposed that all documentation be hatched in pairs. Such texts in equal parts impeded and enriched by each other have an added value of tweaking convergent vision.
- to Value Emotional growth – This goes without saying that by investing of our humanity we seek to stimulate the occupation of new territory among ourselves and our collaborators.
- to Spawn – As project managers everywhere will happily testify, the sign of a good project is when it takes over its own steering. It is in the nature of projects that they beget projects. One can debate the absolute wisdom, but at certain stages of project life: the more the merrier.* Drowning in brilliant ideas is a familiar symptom of even a healthy enterprise. Not all shall find fertile soil, and an effective short, quick filter system for registering, recycling, shelving, allotting and decapitating schemes and dreams in favour of a clear tactical progression of actionables is a vital tool to possess. (*It has been noted that everyone who walks through the unMo doors seems to engage us in at least two additional pursuable projects… )