When we truly get together

Letizia Piangerelli
Mozaic
Published in
4 min readApr 7, 2019

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“All actual life is encounter” Martin Buber

(è possibile leggere la versione in italiano qui)

A step into the unknown

Rome, march 2018.

If I say I knew where I was heading I would lie. I joined the first Ohana Meetup trusting my guts, following the curiosity sparkled by a quick encounter with Claudia, Emanuele and Stelio four months before, on the hall of a crowded university campus. Though the website didn’t detail the agenda nor the speakers, there was something in the language used for convening this mysterious Ohana — a work revolution party — that profoundly resonated with something boiling inside me. I was already on the high seas, I mighted as well swim.

Limbo

I arrived in via Vertumno, a narrow lane crossing Tiburtina street. There was a garage-like entrance with a sign “Ohana Meetup” and an arrow indicating the stairs. I swallowed the anxiety and started climbing. On the second floor, a person that maybe I knew waved to me and I walked in. A dense silence occupied every corner of the large room where approximately forty people were sitting in a circle. I could hear the clocks ticking and hands tensely leafing through the agendas. Ema was standing near the wall, quietly holding everything together: the room, the people, the silence and me, just arrived yet already part of that bizzarre and harmonic whole. In a corner I spotted a sign: “whoever comes is the right people”. Okay. I took a seat. Within half an hour the wall was full of topics and riveting questions. I was still not sure to know exactly where I was but if I consider the conversations I would have wished to be part of, I was spoilt for choice.

Deep dive

Barcellona, march 2019.

It’s spring, again. It’s time for another Ohana Meetup.

I’m sitting in the empty circle. Chairs have been moved, in that heartfelt and warm chaos that belongs to those moments just after the end. From there, I try to find my way through the urge to laugh and cry at the same time when I realize that I finally know what Ohana means. Not because my head understands some abstract definition but because during the last twelve months my whole body has made firsthand, unconstrained, experience of it: when I showed up even when the fear of inadequacy was taking my breath away and I received learning, laugh, patience and caring in return; when I shared responsibility in holding the space open and discovered I am part of something much bigger than just “myself”; while playing with Leo and feeling at home; when amazing people, just by being who they are, showed me that there can be places where my performance can have ups and down but my value as human being will always be honored, never threaten.

While the boundaries between work and life, me and everything around me, interbland and fade, I suddenly realize I feel unmistakably and inexplicably whole.

Earth

A meetup about the revolution in the world of work is not a tension-free endeavour. It can be numbered among those kind of missions for which you have to keep your resolution alive even when rationally you deem that things will never change. A paradox that I have encountered so many times in my life and I have not always been able to sustain.

But what happens if we truly get together? I have been reading the Ohana Meetup’s invitation hundreds of times and only near the end, waiting for my turn in the closing circle, I have found a way to reconcile that tension.

The answer lays not in what we have said but in how we have been together. It has emerged from the respectful coexistence of the different perspectives; from the quality of the listening; from the fact that we have been debating very important issues never taking ourselves too seriously; from the farsightedness of pulling together two words like revolution and party. And also from the 19.156 THX exchanged so far to assign non-scarce value to intangible things like commitment, kindness, collaboration, constructive feedbacks or love, which have made very tangible and definitely possible a radically different way of conceiving economy and wealth.

This is what can happen when we truly get together. The changes that we wish to see in the world suddenly become actual reality, in a fractal of the whole that it’s us and the way we shape the bond that brings us together.

From what other perspective would we want to start, if not this one?

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Letizia Piangerelli
Mozaic

On a mission to keep sense of wonder alive. Making and Writing @makinglife.substack.com | Team member & Facilitator @CocoonPro