Cultivating soil and spirit in a B Corporation
Tales from Mondora — Irene Brambilla
Today is Friday, July 5, so it’s been two weeks since I started working in mondora.
I am writing from our “meditation room”, a wooden sunroom on a terrace from which I see the mountains which surround us. Some clothes are drying, swaying in this sunny north-Italian afternoon.
On the other side of the table sits Michelle, an Italian-Polish girl, studying at Leiden University, who will be here for two weeks to carry out a little research about our company.
We are both grubby and dusty because this morning we “skipped” the office work to work in the garden.
Indeed, one of mondora’s policies is the possibility of using part of the working hours to help the farmers.
This strengthens the relationship between colleagues and allows us to take a break from the office stress, without stop giving a contribution to the team.
Pulling out weeds and picking ripe plums reminded me of my childhood. Like many people here, I grew up among gardens, hives, and trees.
Even living in the countryside, I can not remember the last time I have practiced this activity, and I had forgotten how relaxing it could be.
So relaxing that I decided not to join the meditation session which takes place every Friday, remotely from 8h30 to 9h00 am.
I let Michelle and Alessia, our company philosopher, meditate while I was continuing to clean the garden. Unfortunately, just then, a giant spider crossed my path and I burst into a scream, making them lose their focus. But these are the risks of outdoor meditation.
The office has a warm and relaxing atmosphere too. The workspace is shared with a stove store and the building is beautiful, bright and with wooden surfaces and furniture.
Sometimes in the kitchen, we get supplied with some fruits that come directly from the fields. Today there will be some of the blueberries that were just picked.
We often make coffee and use this moment to share ideas and chat. I was expecting an informal atmosphere but some things really surprised me. For example, some colleagues are walking barefoot around the office!
But the most unexpected fact was that our CEO, Francesco, knowing that I’m passionate about astrology, suggested me to read my colleagues Astro charts, by using a formal communication on our slack channel.
At first, I was a bit embarrassed, but then, I noticed that many people were interested in having a reading, either out of curiosity or just for a chat.
Astrology has interested me since always and in previous jobs, the topic would be vaguely discussed with colleagues, but it certainly wasn’t my calling card. Being an “esoteric” science it is not one of those things I bring up the first time I meet someone.
So being introduced to the team as an astrology fan was at the same time exciting and scary. I was afraid to be labeled as unprofessional, having a degree in psychology.
“The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.” —
Aung San Suu Kyi
But the company mindset is open to non-institutional theories. For example, Francesco just posted on his blog about an Equatorial tribe organization theorizing an adaptation of some practices like the “Minga” to a modern company.
So, on one hand, the Cloud, allows us total freedom from place and time, while on the other hand, a connection with the earth and desire of ancient values is being recovered. I am becoming increasingly aware of how these issues are shaping the future of our society.
And I am now living proof of this contemporary ambivalence: after years spent around Europe, learning foreign languages in order to be free to move and work everywhere, I felt my roots calling and came back home, in this rural valley isolated by the Alps from the rest of the world.
Well, what can I say about it? Perhaps these are topics a little too deep for me… luckily for us, we have a philosopher in the company!