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The Coactive Nature of All Things

Feb 4, 2014 12:09:25 PM

Coactive – a definition:

  1. A relationship or alliance with active collaborators
  2. Joint action
  3. Any relationship between organisms within a community
  4. Ecology any of the reciprocal actions or effects, such as symbiosis, that can occur in a community.


Today I strapped on my snowshoes, crossed the road, and stepped into the meadow. The thick fog prevented me from seeing where land and sky met. It was a cool white dreaminess that melted all the meadow into oneness. There was a quiet about the place and all the parts were so perfectly complimenting each other that I couldn’t see their individual nature.
The six inches of fresh snow was texturally like powdered sugar and white sandy beaches all rolled up into one. There was a moment when my foot connected with the virgin trail that I felt sad to deflower the path and yet elated to be the first one to experience this sweet bliss.

I came upon a tree, and the tree immediately demanded my attention. It was a grandfather tree, a Ponderosa Pine, but much larger than what is typical. In addition to its size, it had two large limbs that had grown enormous and straight out from the trunk. When I walked up closer, it had the mark of old fire, the kind left behind by a lightning strike. Out of the damage, a stronger version of the branch had emerged.

I admired the heavy snow cover on the pine needles, flocking like I had never seen before. While some of the trees had this heavy frosting of snow weighing down their branches, others had a fine dusting of ice depending on their proximity to the hill side. As I moved in close to examine the needles I could see that they were decorated with tiny ice crystals left behind from the fog. The ice was growing outward in hundreds of unique prisms encasing each needle. The relationship between tree, moisture, and temperature resulted in an exquisite collaboration.

There was another odd phenomenon I noticed today. There were two very large bushes growing side by side. Their branches were reaching upward and outward toward the sun, as you might expect. But some of the branches in the center were curled toward each other, weaving inward and down as if reaching toward connection. It made me think of individuals who are separate and yet recognize their interdependency on each other. What other explanation is there?

We can learn from nature about coactivity. When we actively come together and create from each other we develop stronger, more beautiful, outcomes. It is always my intent to be coactive in my personal and professional life. Some days I do a better job than others. But when I need to be reminded, take me out with the trees, and the air, and the wind. They make blending the best parts of themselves look easy.

Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the leader within contact us now


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Deb Siverson

Deb Siverson is the owner and founder of Xponents. She completed her Masters in Organizational Leadership from University of Colorado-Boulder. Deb is the author of the book, "The Cycle of Transformation: igniting organizational change through the leader coach."

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