The Art of Conversation

Who knew that having a conversation with a group of passionate, smart, wise people in a 12 person circle together would lead to energy lifts, laughter and sometimes a changed opinion? It seems so simple really, yet I rarely am part of a lengthy, engaging, dynamic conversation. How can I learn and consider another point of view if I’m not listening, participating based on what is said, and considering different opinions? Maybe because these conversations aren’t competitive, but rather truly engaging we can hear better.  Anyhoo, at these Conversational Salon party gatherings, someone picks a topic they want to host, and those interested show up to chat and listen for a couple of hours. And each topic, we tie into Aging deliciously too.

One of the most lively for me was the topic of Rites and Rituals and the place in our lives. We talked of the big ones like funerals and weddings, and some unique family traditions that could be considered rituals. I don’t have many rites or rituals in my life these days, but I shared a personal ritual I held, my morning journalling. To me it is a special, maybe a sacred act that I find grounding and positive. I guess that explains why I’ve been journalling for about 25 years. Actually it is one of the few, consistent things I have ever done. Well that, and brushing my teeth .

Each morning I walk my dog, then make a pot of tea and journal in my notebook. This is the start of each day, and if it isn’t my day might be somewhat off. No matter where I am, this is my ritual. It stabilizes me, makes sense of my thoughts, and generally lifts my spirits. So when I shared this as an example of my ritual,  someone said, ” As important and as sacred as journalling and tea drinking may be to you, that is yours and yours alone. So I’d call it a routine. A sacred routine but it’s not a ritual.  A ritual usually involves more people or it might be done alone, yet the actions are ones others also do, like a vision quest. There would be specific, understood steps and requirements that must be followed.”

I at first was miffed. I thought to myself, “What? My ritual wasn’t a ritual?” Yet as I continued to listen to other comments, and the conversation deepened, expanded, and was full of listening and responses, by the end of the night I was able to say, ” Based on the conversation, I agree that my journalling isn’t a ritual, but I don’t think of it as a routine either. I would say it is a sacred practice, some days more sacred than others, but a mindful, deeply important practice.”

So I had reconsidered a long held view that I never would have contemplated reconsidering without a thoughtful conversation. Maybe that contemplation is part of moving through the ages deliciously. 

“Knowledge spea…

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

“There is no innovation without insight and there is no insight without reflection.” ~ David Rock

“We must listen with a willingness to be changed.” ~ Alan Alda

“Optimism is a choice in spite of evidence to the contrary.” ~ Joel Henning

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ The Serenity Prayer (Reinhold Niebuhr)