Penn. Organizational Dynamics Prof. Steven F. Freeman
Creativity and Innovation in
Organization and Work

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East Coast Jam Thank You

Hello East Coast Jammers: I’ve finally had some free time since coming back in a cloud two weeks ago and I wanted to use it to thank you all for an out-of-this-world wonderful experience. I mean it: Thank you everyone for everything!

I arrived at ECJ exhausted, late on the 2nd day, hardly knowing any of you and knowing none of you well. But from the onset, I don’t believe I’ve ever experienced a more comfortable fit with a community.

I’ve never been a “groupy” kind of person and more often than not, I’m at odds with institutions and conventions. But I loved every ECJ group activity and found every convention delightful. Everything felt so right and so … effortless. No need to consciously conform, compromise, curtail my instincts or adjust my sensibilities; most every “rule,” practice and attitude was as I might have established myself – were I to trust my instincts and sensibilities. And not just the dance: the conversation, food, the lazy yard activities, the walks … You know, I’ve been running and hiking barefoot for 2 years now without ever meeting another unshod soul – ‘til I found several ECJ comrades-in-(bare)-feet.

Of course, I realize that my experience of ECJ as effortless is the result of the collective efforts of the organizers and participants past and present-- I’m writing this to express my unbounded gratitude! … But that you all exist, and exist as a community is a revelation.

As I had hoped, the jams offered ample opportunity to enjoy the kinds of athletic, full body weight sharing that I crave. But beyond that, I also began to feel a greater appreciation for some of the more subtle offerings of dance and the body in general. Beyond dance, I loved the slow, organic transitions: Meeting adjourned and no one moves? And the show -- what fun!?! … I usually have trouble going to bed to sleep – there’s always more to do, to read, to … but each ECJ evening, I felt an unfamiliar sensation: Satisfaction? Contentment? Completeness? After a Claymont day, dance, sauna and walk back to the mansion, I simply went up to bed and at once off to sleep.

I’ve largely set up my life to minimize what you might call social “entanglements” beyond obligations to wife and children. Increasingly, however, I find myself faltering in solitary pursuits and correspondingly energized working collaboratively. Maybe, I’m thinking, entanglements aren’t all bad. I’m certainly grateful for CI entanglements and, more generally, this serendipitous experience of belonging at ECJ. Who knows, maybe I, too, have my peeps.

Remembering you all with (a) toast for the jam: Next year in Claymont ,

Steve

Date Page Created: Jan 22, 2012 Last Page Update: Jan 30, 2012