As I start at Mayvin I have been wondering about the art of beginning and belonging anew. I have started over in many places, from Dublin to Kigali, and in different roles, from mother to performer. And each time I do, I feel I’ve started to get a grasp on how to be ‘new’, to feel into and mould myself around the place and the people rather than build out from an island of self. Beginners mind it’s sometimes called. And yet here I am again and I still feel a bit hopeless! Perhaps that’s the point.
Amongst the numerous warm and engaging conversations with Mayvin insiders and friends, the question ‘how are you finding Mayvin?’ comes up repeatedly. And after a little while I find myself reaching for narratives that feel heavy in the mouth, missing the sweetness of ‘not having a clue’-ness. I remind myself of the Principle of Least Effort: substitute effort, wherever possible, for perception. And so I restrain my purposefulness to the collecting of noticings.
I notice that Mayvin is a gentle place, yet rigorous and meticulous. Humming with humble excellence, a place that feels full but not busy. Coming face to face at the awayday last week it was like we filled out into what one of us called a ‘multisensory experience’. No longer virtually flattened, I become aware of the playfulness in Mayvin, an irreverence which sees a deep and meaningful ‘walk and talk’ transform into a quest for a cake shop treat.
We converse in stories, flowing easily between the tender, the frivolous, the historic: the physical attachment forged with a first child; the comic frustration of helping out in other people’s kitchens; the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis on Mayvin’s growth. Multiple courses of food and bottles of the local Alfriston fizz endow the whole experience with a spirit of hedonism after so many months of subdued homemade lunches. While bobbing in this warm bath of new belonging, I am perversely curious about what I could utter that would be regarded as heresy. Answers on a postcard please.
At some points in the last few years, I wondered whether I would ever feel enthused over and committed to a ‘proper job’ ever again. My anti-authority streak only seemed to grow with age. Yet I had a secret longing to be part of an organisation that felt like a community with purpose, and that holds dear, as I do, the belief that it is relationships that move the world.
When I stumbled into Mayvin it took me a little while to realise that I had found just that. And the felt experience of it at the awayday struck me as the embodiment of Mayvin’s purpose to help organisations be ‘more human’: to be vibrant, caring, full of feeling, poetic in our ambiguity and joyful in our contradictions. Because before we all went virtual, many of us already felt flattened, not allowing the whole of ourselves to be revealed, even to ourselves.
My North Star in this liminal space of newness is ‘how I can be more of myself in Mayvin’. To be utterly oneself and still in full participation with the world, with your community is a fascinating dichotomy to me. I suspect its discovery will involve flurries of mistakes and flounderings over boundaries, and a losing of myself for a while, before I rediscover the edges of my difference. Bring it on!