Nothing delights me like a great conversation! To really connect with someone and find a piece of yourself in the connection is like a little window to the soul. As I mentioned in my previous post, I love John O’Donohue’s description of what a great conversation is. I previously suggested taking the time and provided the link to hear my favorite interview with him (see previous post); I genuinely hope you can gift yourself with this wonderful conversation. I realize, however, that my favorite part takes place around the forty-second minute…I understand that not everyone will feel as though they can spare the 51 minutes and 9 seconds listening to this discussion would take. For those without the time to hear his wonderful words, I want to share a bit more of my favorite part here (please read with a fierce Irish accent…it makes it even better)…
“You have to ask yourself, ‘When is the last time that you had a great conversation?’ A conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture. But when had you last a great conversation in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew, that you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost and a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plain, and then fourthly, a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards.” –John O’Donohue
He goes on to talk about some great conversations he has had lately… he describes them as “food and drink for the soul”… In his next words he says the second thing to always ask one’s self is, “Who are you reading and where are you stretching your own boundaries?”… which prompts, of course, more lovely conversation. This man is a poet, everything he says is like music! He covers so many topics in this talk, but for me, great conversation is worth spending some time on.
I love how he describes the common conversations in our culture as “two intersecting monologues”…that is so true! You can feel it when someone is just waiting to say their next thing and not really interested in what you have to say. You can also feel it in yourself when you’re doing the same thing — just waiting for them to pause so you can talk. It is deadening for the soul. I often find that people are surprised when someone really listens to them. I can feel it when their heart comes alive a bit more and they just open right in front of me. It does hurt when someone can’t listen to you, but it isn’t something to take personally (nothing is). People will listen more when they are ready. We can help them along by truly listening to them and honoring them with our fullest attention and interest.
The holidays are upon us, we’re blessed with so many moments of family togetherness and friendly celebrations this time of year; now would be a lovely time to practice having great conversations. They don’t have to be as deep as what John O’Donohue describes above, it would be nice if they could be, but we just have to start somewhere. When we’re with our loved ones and friends and even meeting new friends (every friend was once a stranger), we can bring honor to the words we share with them by truly being there with them and listening to what they may share with us. Your heart and soul know how to do it, you just let yourself be there in the moment and your soul will do the talking, and more importantly, the listening. Dare to ask great questions and truly listen to the answers. Have fun with it. Have joy with it. Your heart will open and you will feel more fully alive.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all really talked to each other as our true selves, without the image of us that we project throughout our days. It is lovely to truly show up and authentically BE wherever you are at. It may seem as though it isn’t practical, but it is. We can truly be where we are at and honor the moments as the sacred gifts they are. Things are waiting to be seen by you and moments to be experienced by you. My wish for us all this holiday season is the gift of great conversation that awakens the soul and comforts the heart.
May you see kindness wherever you look and spread joy wherever you go! Sending you love and joy!