Design and Yoga FIVE: Growth and Time

There never seems to be a project just beginning, one with a savvy and trusting owner, with a full project team excited to begin a familiar process in a new way, and with access to a full roster of updated documents, procedures and processes that touch this project in-place.

The work rolls on in a continual layering of starts, submissions, reviews, change orders, design reviews, new relationships, code reviews, conversations, budget meetings, schedule adjustments, bids, and sometimes holds and restarts. Each project beginning in a different moment of another project. It’s never a clean start and stop. There is never a time when you will be able to jump in with your new, fresh perspective and “do it better” from scoping through occupancy, or from concept through a 5-year Post Occupancy Evaluation.

Does this mean we don’t do it at all?

Reflecting from yoga, as I often do, I realized today that our full integration of process takes time, and we should allow it to take that time. Yes, a slight push here and there is good, and needed, but accepting that you can implement use of an enlightened approach in bits and pieces, or begin solely with you own attitude, is important. In the middle of trying an advanced flexibility session, my foot hit the wall in my pathetic (yet admirable) attempt to do “wild thing”, and I fell over. I could have given up. I could have said “I’ll try this session again once I know I can do the poses”. Yet that would have been self-defeating. I will never be able to achieve the full pose without the messy attempts that are not perfect. I need to use those not-quite-right moments to inform future, more stable, attempts. Not only that, but I need to be content and certain enough in my own goals to use that moment of imperfection to its full value, stretching that pesky tight muscle near my left knee, and straightening my leg a bit more even though I can’t rotate my torso enough to reach the floor like the amazing yogi in the instruction photos.

Let’s be real. The yoga session and this work is not about her…

We are learning about Integrative Design Process at work. I am thrilled for the enlightenment this process has already brought to me, the incredible and powerful activation of team camaraderie that has added joy back into my work, and the discovery and information I now reach for in each project I undertake. I see the same awe in the many staff who have experienced this workshop training and who are starting to apply some of the ideas and goals to their work. And then I go into a meeting with staff who have not yet been introduced to IDP, and who are still working determinedly to protect their silos of ownership, and I could give up.

Or I could continue…and falter, and learn, and grow, and adjust, and be the change I seek. I can choose to maintain that joy when I can. I can (and will) celebrate when a project I am engaged in is full of people finding and working toward aspirational goals that serve the project, the community and the ecological systems that sustain us.

In looking back at yoga, I find I have been practicing for a mere two years. The app I use tracks sessions on a calendar, and I see that I did nearly a year of beginner classes, usually only 1-2 per week, and often only 1/2 hour each. I then tried intermediate sessions, and ramped up a bit to doing 2-3 a week, often 1-hour sessions. I remember hiking late last summer, 18 miles over 4 high peaks in just one day, and recovering more quickly than ever before. I am now just dabbling in advanced sessions, and I find new challenges and I recognize new soreness and new information about my body and how it responds.

I am now a beginner in Integrative Design Process. I feel discomfort, and some soreness.  I find it hard to define, collaboratively, regenerative aspirations in some projects.  I find a willing team here and there, open and excited about the potential in our work, while even in the same day I find some teams eager to talk only about the limits restraining our potential. I am working to be in THIS moment and use my messy poses for all they can be used for. I can learn what works well and what systems need to be stretched or strengthened for better achievement. Is there a pose that I must alter in the short-term to accommodate something that may change in the future?

  • Does my ability to communicate need work?
  • Is there a process that creates friction or that stalls creativity?
  • Is there a missing team member?
  • Is there a team member that needs to open up to the value of IDP?
  • Do we have enough time?
  • Have we (I) asked enough questions?
  • Are we (I) open to the answers and able to ask “why” to understand the underlying reasons that may exist?

Above all, am I respecting my own process enough to allow time for my growth and my experiences to inform and solidify my use of IDP in my work?

Give yourself time 2bgreener,


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