Where is the "I" in "Team?"

Are we more than our associations? 

It is easy to define ourselves by our roles and our associations. I am father, brother, husband. I'm an American. I'm a Seattle native. I'm a graduate of Seattle Pacific University where I studied theology and music.  I live in SeaTac. I work at Collins Chiropractic. I am steeped in Christian tradition and study. All these particularities shed light on who I am. These places, relationships and institutions have shaped me. Put simply, I have been formed by my own locatedness.  My question is, am I more than these associations?

Yes. And no. 

Yes, I am "bigger" than my associations.  I am more than an object, more than a role, I am a person. My thoughts, feelings, expressions and imaginations can hardly be captured or summarized by external  connections. One bit of key evidence is choice. Not only do I happen to be a part of many groups, teams and institutions, I choose them. I choose how I can inhabit the space. I have immense choice in how I shape my perceptions. I can choose what to receive from my team and how to contribute. Who I am and how I show up matter and give shape to my teams.

No, In many ways, my teams and traditions are bigger than I am. They span a few people or many. There has been much work done in realms of thought and action that I may never understand. By associating with something bigger than myself, maybe I too can become bigger. Yet, I also can be smaller. By being connected to teams, both the beauty and limitations of that group are associated with you. 

The truth is, we each are a crazy "I" and we all are connected at some level to a team, a community that extends beyond ourselves. We are all one, and we are many. Now what do we do about it? 

I'll follow up on that tomorrow. :) -Ben