Journal — January 12, 2018 — home, love, organization
Something shifted, and I’m no longer steady on my feet.
It’s been four and a half months since we formed a cooperative. At that time there was no clear distinction between Veda, our cooperative, and our team: Veda had no name, and all these things were one little group of people. Now I see a clear differentiation between the three.
Veda teams reproduce by budding. (source) There are two teams in Veda now, forming one slightly less little group of people. I’m watching this process of slow exponential growth, where I know it’s imperative on me to let go of control at every step. Our cooperative is an organization that has, like any other organization, the potential to develop into greater stages of consciousness.
Along that path there are gates, and among those gates there is one that can only be passed through if we individuals within the organization, the ones who are strong enough in ourselves to serve as leaders for others, are willing to surrender our power in the moments when we least want to.
Our cooperative is likely to be recognized as a legal entity in Portugal, soon, which represents something of a leap into publicity. It amounts to shouting to a huge institution, “Here we are!”, and promising to show in writing who we are and how we work.
I doubt any of us can predict what consequences will follow from this. It’s something I can easily shrug aside, saying “it’s just a formality”. At the same time, when I take it seriously, I can just as easily feel grave weight in it.
I follow a principle that helps me to stay honest: whenever I speak, even if only to one person, I remind myself that I’m speaking to the whole world. (source) I won’t make the mistake of thinking that our legal statutes define us. That would be limiting. On the other hand, I also won’t make the mistake of ignoring the fact that we are making a statement when we write our legal statutes, and we may be more or less successful in speaking the truth at that point. It’s a question of integrity, at a large scale.
We will say what we do. Will we do what we say?
Veda is a way of working together. It’s the culture our cooperative is part of, and which is part of our cooperative. It isn’t any well-defined group of people; it’s a set of habitual behaviors, language and beliefs.
Culture is the plural of habit. (source) I’ve been asked, many times, to get more concrete when I describe what Veda is. I honestly don’t know how to make it more concrete than what I just wrote; it’s a set of habits. I find it an interesting set of habits, insofar as it is self-improving. It’s a culture that highly values cultural change, and, unlike most cultures I know, its focus is not on changing other cultures. Its focus is on changing itself.
Still, at the end of the day there are concrete people doing concrete things. I sometimes feel regretful that Veda became so strongly associated with cryptocurrency. I see that as a historical accident; it could just as easily have been associated with music, or blacksmithing, or anything else people do. I’m looking forward to our cooperative becoming more diverse, as it grows and branches out into more areas of work. I want to see the overall structure of it, not the details, and that structure is only just emerging.
It pays to give at least as much attention to your feet as to the sign that says to watch your feet. (source) One part of that structure is in motion around me, right now. That’s why I feel unsteady. I once gave my team a dire warning: “Your cooperative is not your community”, I said. “You won’t find home here”, I said. Then I went ahead and fell into the very trap I was talking about.
I once wrote about a new kind of household. I said I’d had an amazingly rewarding conversation with someone I barely knew, and decided I wanted to marry him and his wife. I think I’ve spent more time with this guy than I have with any other individual human being in the last year. At least, it feels like I have; it’s been quality time, all of it. I’ve enjoyed every moment.
I’m learning to be careful about looking into the future. It’s like looking into the sun. (source) Yesterday I was walking around with him, dreaming together about the magnificent home we were going to create. A huge patch of land, bursting with so much ecological regeneration that it can support whole villages, indefinitely. All the things I could ask for in a place to live.
I wanted so much to be there, I felt it, physically. A pain over my heart.
I have no time and I must scream. (source) I felt uneasy, afterward, for some reason I couldn’t name. The world seemed hostile to me. My mind was spinning, thinking of potential emergencies to address. I’ve been constantly attentive to my smartphone, doing exactly what I know I ought not to be doing: attempting to control our cooperative, in the most well-meaning, supportive way I can.
I have not been doing what I’m asked to do; I’ve been doing what I want to do, and making myself unhappy as a result. I caught myself several times, in the past few days, stalking around like a hurt animal, intensely wishing that someone would ask me to do something, not knowing who or what. Then I bake buckwheat bread and I eat it, because it tastes kind of like being in service.
Working together is the longest-lasting joy I’ve experienced in my life, so far. (source) I feel caught between three masters, and I know that I can only serve one. I made a commitment to this cooperative, and to these people in it, so deep that I don’t believe I’ll ever break it, as long as I live. It was an unspoken vow: I will work together with you, no matter what, from now on.
At the same time I want to be with these other people, the ones I feel at home with, who I can imagine being with for the next few decades, and continuing to enjoy every moment of it, through all the ups and down.
And at the same time, I finally fell out of love with Helena.I’m grateful she gave me permission to use her name, which is a bit easier to write than “that woman, you know the one”. I’ve mentioned her a few times, in this journal, the first time being when I was looking for an anima strategy.I’m happy to report that I did, ultimately, find an anima strategy that seems to work: flirt! No matter how important the encounter feels, treat it as lightly as a weekend fling. Limerence infuses every gesture with such a crushing weight of meaning that it can stop you cold, so have fun with it. It’s an opportunity to learn about your own ridiculousness.
I could feel it changing in the last months. I sat with her at a cafe, a couple weeks ago, and by then I could definitely say it was over, after three years of intense, unreciprocated longing. Now I see just another highly attractive individual, with the unfortunate awareness of an awkward history.
It seems imperative that I do everything I can for our cooperative, and go wherever I’m asked to go, for that. It seems imperative that I stay close to the family I feel at home with. And it seems imperative that I fall in love with someone who wants that, with her whole heart.
I asked three questions, in that entry on a new kind of household.
Who am I home with? I can answer this question, now.
Who do I work with? I can answer this, too.
Who do I love?