POCA is a place. We come together to heal the pain and stress, and promote the general health of ourselves and our wider community. When we are here, we balance the conflicts of american acupuncture vs. community acupuncture, the actual vs. virtual, individual vs. collective, competitive vs. cooperative, and business vs. social business (and more). There are the individual challenges of who we are, along with the inner work of who we are becoming, and the enormous challenges of our society and the changing world. POCA is beautiful. However, even in the creation of beauty, our task is not always easy and beautiful.
More familiar cooperatives balance the needs of two groups, like producers vs. consumers. These co-ops are called transactional. POCA is not your everyday cooperative, it is a multi-stakeholder cooperative. It balances the needs of several groups, patients, punks, clinics, and allied organizations. And this is where the VS. breaks down and does not work as a way to balance anymore. The multi-stakeholder cooperative is said to be transformational. And the transformation is of the VS. as well as the us involved. The vs. becomes a WITH. Individuals become WITH community.
As when transitioning from american acupuncture to community acupuncture, it takes the punk, clinic, and patients some practice before they can fully get it and participate in it. It takes letting go of some old ways and assumptions.
Transforming is part of our healing process. Healing can uncover pain and hurt; we have to face who we are and who we can become. It requires a commitment to face the unknown, the setbacks, new circumstances, and new awareness. We struggle as part of the transformation: from becoming ourselves, from learning how to cooperate better.
(the following was written in response to recent online and offline conflicts)
We are an organization of people with many different points of view and styles of expression and that is to be championed and honored. Differing opinions can lead to divisiveness; this dynamic emerges over time and in groups. Rather than this reoccurring outcome of communicating creating divisiveness, our hope is that it can lead to clarity and honesty about our own needs and wishes, and a continued assessment of what will serve the coop’s mission.
We will not guarantee that discussions won't get heated and passionate. POCA is a place that has always had difficult discussions about uncomfortable things. Please try to stand behind your words, have respect for other positions, ask questions if you are unclear, try to clarify if you feel your position isn't clear. In general, expect that people are coming from a place of respect and also take some responsibility for your experience. Please try to stay engaged and not just pull out when things get going. Because our feelings are hurt doesn't mean someone was automatically harsh; they may just be stating their position passionately also. Disagreement is not automatically personal attack. We make no guarantees that it won't be uncomfortable at times. With basic respect, we have found that sometimes the really gristy, gritty places are the ones that lead to real growth and deeper understanding of each other and ideas we hadn't considered.
When disagreements threaten to undermine the momentum and direction of the stated mission, we seek to minimize these conversations on our public and/or member forums and instead to continue to shine a light on the mission, and the actionable steps we can continue to take towards our goals.
We look to maximize the coordination and efforts to cooperatively support our collective mission. We support solo clinics. We promote jobs for acupuncturists to serve our communities. We are growing and learning much about what can be done and done better. We look to find ways to reframe our conflicts and find common cause to make together a new way to confront the many difficulties of our patients, students, employees, clinic owners, and staff.
In practicing community acupuncture, we practice community.
Community gives room for relieving pain and stress: finding new ways of transforming conflicts into construction; and promoting general health: engaging in and cooperatively practicing relationships.
POCA is our community room. In this room, some are here for the first time, some are having an ah-hah moment around the ninth or thirty-ninth visit, some of us are just beginning to rest or awaken. All are transforming. It takes practice and letting go of some old ways and assumptions, so we can “get it”. It requires a commitment to face the unknown, the setbacks, new circumstances, and new awareness.
It makes an environment where all this is now visible and accessible.
You are here. Teamwork makes the dream work, says Stevie Wonder.
What do you see as the next steps to cooperating?
By definition we need each other to practice these, to reach out, ask for help, to practice being WITH each other Transforming takes practice, and courage.
Take my hand. Let’s transform and create beauty together.