I was given the last word in an article in an issue of Fast Company. It was my last word, too. A word I actually made up. A word I coined so I could describe to people what a "good meeting" is like: CoLiberation.
CoLiberation is not the opposite of codependence. CoLiberation is why we become that way. Why we seek each other out in the first place. What we have to give each other when we are at our best.
CoLiberation is what happens when we work extraordinarily well together. Like on a basketball team or in an orchestra, when we actually experience ourselves sharing in something bigger than any one who is present. This is what I call the experience of the "Big WE." It's a corollary to the "Big ME" experience of self-transcendence. If the Big ME is the "peak experience," CoLiberation or the Big WE, is like becoming a whole mountain range.
I know I've experienced it in games and sports and the performing arts. And, what makes me especially hopeful, I've also experienced it in business meetings. 
The central experience that led me to write my book The Well-Played Game was, in fact, a game of ping pong between my friend Bill and myself. Let me describe it to you, thereby exemplifying the selfsame example of the kind of experience I hope you will also learn:
"My good friend Bill was and is so much better of a player than I that there was actually no reason for us to try to play a 'real' game. Playing for points was clearly pointless. So, we decided to just see how long we could keep a volley going. It was a perfect challenge for each of us. For Bill, just getting the ball to hit my paddle was an exercise worthy of his years of "pongish" mastery. After half the night of this, we managed to sustain an almost infinite volley. We actually lost count."
That's all that is asked in CoLiberation — some shared transcendence that made you feel just about as big, ME-wise and WE-wise, as you can get. Larger than life. Enlarged by each other's largesse. Beyond time. (Something that can be achieved even in the high-stakes heat of professional sports. See the excerpt from Bill Russell's book.)

coliberationOn oneAxis we have ME or WE. On Axis Other, WE or ME.

The higher or farther out we go on each axis, the more fun it becomes to be a ME or WE. The closer in, the less.

When the WE and ME are in balance, there is mutual empowerment - CoLiberation. This is indicated by a channel, diagonally equidistant between ME and WE. Here the good meetings, the well-played games, the fun things happen.

Fun is the background, the context, steady state. Games are the rules that help us move up or down the channel, towards and away from the Bigger ME or the Greater WE.

And, corollarily speaking, those exceptional experiences of playing together or working together, when we're really playing or working and really together. As deliciously distracting as the philosophies and technologies of collaboration may be, when collaboration is it's at its best, so are we.
I've been calling these moments of play and work "CoLiberating." It's cute, because it almost sounds like something beyond "collaborating." But "liberating" is only part of the truth. Yes, in deed, those moments in which we have actually managed to free each other from whatever constraints we usually impose on each other, these are truly and actually what you would call CoLiberating.

The experience of coliberation becomes more powerful as each participant becomes more thoroughly engaged, more wholly involed, and as the group itself becomes more unified, more engaged. Given the wholeness of the self and the group, we approach something beyond CoLiberation, beyond the game or meeting itself. Some coincidence of selves that undefines the limits of our capabilities. A coincidence having almost nothing to do with the game or meeting, and everything to do with the human spirit - shared moments of unusual clarity, vivid communication and spontaneous combustions of understanding.
It's almost silly even to have a word like this because all liberation is CoLiberation. You just can't liberate yourself by yourself. You can't be free if you're the only one. You can mediate, but you can't separate. You can become one only if you become "one with."
As long as there is such a word as codependence — and it makes something clear, well, then, we need a word like CoLiberation, to make something else clear.
Just as we now understand how we can sicken a relationship by becoming too dependent on each other and how mutually sickening things like alcoholism and racism and spousal abuse can become, we now need to rediscover how we can heal a relationship by setting each other free, how mutually healing things like play and teamwork and human relationships can become.


©1992, Bernie DeKoven


updated with edits from Chelle ("Shay') Thompson


Me\We - depicting the dynamics of CoLiberation