Collaboration. The impacts of a group’s efforts seem to be much greater when people collaborate, as compared to when they cooperate with shared resources or compete with each other. A key to collaboration is engaging a set of unique contributions with everyone involved, towards a deeper shared purpose. This collaboration drives the synergistic harmonics, the new resulting wholeness, everyone seeks. This working together, by respectfully engaging the best, unique contributions of everyone involved is the simultaneous expression of freedom, equality, and solidarity. Working together, for the health of the whole (solidarity), by respectfully inviting and engaging with each other (equality) the best, unique contribution each has to offer (freedom).
A big part of this is your unique contribution. What is a contribution? The word “contribution” comes from the Latin for “to bring together,” from assimilated form of com “with, together” and tribuere “to allot, pay.” The root seems to come from the Latin tribus for tribe, possibly derived from the place from where one comes (PIE root *treb-). One understanding could then be that a contribution is what is given to the group. Another understanding could be that a contribution is what flows with others into a larger body, like a tributary river. Yet another understanding could be that a contribution is the act of being with (com) sacred space (tribus, treb), connecting with one’s own creative source and flow, with one’s own expression of purposeful energy.
Everyone seems to engage more when they are invited to contribute something that is uniquely theirs to contribute, a creative act. When people are completely replaceable or not even needed, they tend to engage far less, everywhere. Working with all three uses of the word, maybe your unique contribution is when you engage your own creative process, letting your creativity flow through you, with the creative flow of others, for the benefit of the group, of everyone in it, and of everyone impacted by the work of the group. You can choose to make this contribution–the flowing of your unique creativity–or not, it is your choice.