Lessons 5, 6, 7

My reflections of the day are all dedicated to my ‘colleagues’. If you know Kirsten, Kevin and I, you know that we are all VERY different. Together, we are a tragicomic and soap-opera-worth trio.  Spending every single awake (and asleep) moment together for the last four weeks has been an interesting process full of ups, but also with some downs.

This is an incomplete list of things that we have been doing together every day:

work, gather food, share beds, get coffee and sugar high, handle money, laugh, coordinate who gets in the shower first, share flash-drives, give each other challenges, listen to music, be introspective, fight roaches, open doors, catch cabs, share towels, whine, make fun of each other, learn how to understand each other’s sense of humor, psychoanalyze, celebrate, ride moto-conchos, make each other’s coffee, laugh, combine our language skills, forget that we have a non-Recrear life and fail to manage it, sleep.

We are perfecting our teasing, making fun and picking on each other’s weak points skills. In the process, we do get irritated and annoyed at times. So here is what I am learning (or trying to) while working in a Recrear full-immersion symbiosis.

5)Be aware of what you and your colleagues need.

While we eat the same food and share the same bed, we are still very different. Seems like a basic idea, but it is easy to forget. We each have our own particular way of handling stress and work on our own rhythms. Our bodies work differently. Living together we are becoming better at understanding when we need to get disconnected for a second, when ‘it is not the right moment’, and when it is appropriate to mess with each other (mmm, we are still not very good at that actually).

Personally, running around all day and working long hours it is equally easy to forget what I need to feel good. Any need that is not taken care of becomes a reason of tension for the entire team- basically, taking care of ourselves and of each other is a common interest.

6) Be ready to deal with your weaknesses cause they are going to come out.

We are not Recrear machines. We all carry around our fears, our weaknesses, our deeper reflections and emotional to do lists. We decode the meaning of our experiences uniquely and are willing to share our thoughts and impressions to a different extent and at different times. I think that being aware of our complexities helps us being more respectful and connected.

At the same time, while it would be nice to put awkwardness aside during projects, in a 24/7 environment trying to hide our fragility is simply a lost cause. Instead, often we just need to deal with them. We all have our own coping strategies. When we are feeling off we laugh hysterically, get quite, get moody, listen to music, sleep, eat ice cream, or get snappy. Of course, this moments cannot be coordinated (and that is a good thing, because usually at least one of the three remains sane at all times ;).

In all these situations, humor is the hero. While it is a powerful and dangerous tool (emh emh), it is useful for us to discuss sensitive issues and get over tension.  Eventually, humor evolves into more serious conversations- the capacity to talk things through (and sometimes to simply let things go) is golden to resolve most of our communication troubles.

7) Take mental pictures

Cameras are all right- but our minds take the pictures. I try to immortalize my favorite memories in mental pictures.

This a brief mental picture guideline:

What is a mental picture? A mental picture is the snapshot of a scene, moment or sensation that you want to capture forever in your database of memories.

How do you take a mental picture? You can take a mental picture in three simple steps. Step 1: Recognize that you are experiencing something special; Step 2:  Decide you are going to take a mental picture; Step 3: Close your eyes, smile, feel fully, open your eyes back up and let the image connect to the feeling you are having. Easy.

How do you become a mental picture photographer? If you are a beginner, it might take some practice. You can definitely take mental pictures by yourself. In fact, you should. But, for me the best mental pictures imply a moment of recognition and connection with the people around you. When you can feel that everybody around is getting the memo ‘mental picture’ you know is going to be great.

 

During Recrear-Participacion we have been taking lots of mental pictures-Our album is not sharable and no, we won’t try to put our logo on it. Taking these mental shots makes us appreciate our work and brings us on the same emotional page. Our mental pictures tend to catch pretty epic moments. But they don’t necessarily have to be ‘objectively’ epic. For example, I have also a little mental post it collection. Sometimes simply a random moment, a smile or a joke can be powerful enough to know that we are ‘here and now’, aware of each other’s presence and happy to be living this experience together.

-Gioel Gioacchino

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