Thursday, March 9, 2017

Coffee House Conversations And The Joy Of Words That Connect Rather Than Divide

I am preparing to attend another “civil conversation” tomorrow evening. Having had the richly rewarding pleasure of such a conversation several weeks ago, hosted by my friend, Mike Corrigan, and more of the same at New Horizons Coffee House Conversation on “Overcoming The Polarization Of……Everything” last Saturday, I am feeling all about having more, more, more of people talking civilly to one another!  Can’t quite get my fill!
What a refreshing change from the daily fare of our society and politics, at war with itself from every angle. I can barely wait for this next, upcoming dinner event where people will readily conduct themselves in a manner that creates enriching discussion, almost totally devoid of polarization. So enticing that a person can truly digest both spoken words as well as the food.

I left New Horizons Coffee House Conversation of last week happily reminded of the kind of joy and inspiration that flows freely and builds to a higher elevation of consciousness when people truly are of a mind to dialogue, rather than debate.

We had a bit of a discussion at New Horizons’ event on the merits of dialogue up against those of debate. What emerged, as eye opening for me from that discussion, was that, inadvertently I was presenting myself as one who does not approve of debate at all! This is not so about me! 

So I was appreciative that our discussion environment was not judgmental of me in that  apparent inflexible position. Thus allowing me the space to self-correct and acknowledge that I enjoy being a listener to debate but not much in the way of being a participant.

I also got to clarify, as well as join in discussing, the merits of weighing different viewpoints and positions up against one another. Interestingly, but not surprising, the discussion participant most dedicated to debate was a lawyer. Figures, eh? And as she pointed out I am, by choice, training and experience -- as a psychotherapist --- a connector. That figures too, doesn’t it?

A beautiful passage I recently read by Natalie Goldberg in her book “Long Quiet Highway,” aptly described the joy and the wonder these recent non-divisive conversations held for me. It’s well worth the reflection, especially in this day and age where words and how they are being used are so often unrecognized for the gifts they are to humanity. Thus well worth respecting when they are used.
"What I adored….was the opportunity to talk, not just myself, but as a whole class, to have a discussion. Someone said something, another person disagreed or elaborated, and all our minds were free, thoughts were free and equal… You had a mind and you thought. You had a right to form the nebulous energy racing through you into words, to form those words with tongue, jaws, lips…..and suddenly sprung to life.... mind and feelings had a voice and ... spoke words into the empty space…” Long Quiet Highway by Natalie Goldberg
Yum. Love those words and love loving them!

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