We-space small groups are like a school room in which there’s no teacher and the students are learning to self-govern and see what what’s possible now. If the group is online and you’re looking at a series of little boxes with people in them (like the Hollywood Squares TV show), we first tend to look at the individual people in the squares. And that’s interesting in itself! Each person has a very long and detailed story leading up to this moment just like we all do, and we see that history if we look at them.
But the interesting part people discover is that it’s the common space we’re inhabiting that’s the magic-maker and that’s doing all the work. The relational space that we’re in is a common “room” we share. When we notice that, we see that we can influence the quality of it and help it raise and be more smart and responsive. That means we speak more about what we’re noticing in the space. We contribute our awareness.
Making a contribution like that, however small, is very satisfying to us. We’re contributing to the whole and we’re also being recognized in a community and helping build a culture of contributing to the whole. This is crazy good learning for us. And there’s no faking our real contribution! If we contribute in order to be seen or noticed or feel important, the space is slightly lowered. We’ve not played the game skillfully. And we notice and everyone else does. (And it’s no big deal.) But when we start to notice the common space and relax into it then we see we’re part of a collaborative effort. Then it’s easy to give something. Easy for us, the most natural thing in the world. Like talking to a friend about something we both care about. And we begin to be about the business of “awakening humanity’s humanity” in new Lab member Sharon Ford’s sticky phrase.
But here’s the beautiful thing. When we are animated by the relational we-space, our individual concerns are cast in a new light. Their hold on us is loosened and re-contextualized. This isn’t hard to do. In fact like falling asleep, it’s not possible to do it by trying to do it. It’s an entirely natural process. Something like falling awake (even if it’s just for a little while) is possible when we get together in this way.