This is where the conversation starts. The topic? Conversation.
It struck me the other day that one of the most profound ways in which I experience life is through conversation. Moreover, one of the most effective ways for learning (for me) is a combination of self-study (where I actually quietly study something without distractions for the pure pleasure of it) and agenda-less conversation. I experience an insatiable curiosity about the world, I see infinite knowledge and am hugely inspired by it’s profundity. Though at times the sheer magnitude of information that exists in the universe, what we think we know and infinite mystery, awes me, I am not long daunted. Instead, the immense unknowability of Life inspires me to discover, explore, and experience what ever comes up. The beauty of the two-fold learning style (study and conversation) is that irregardless of what I study, there’s always opportunity to bring it up in conversation. Better yet, learning to do so tactfully and artfully is worth study in and of itself. Better still, going into conversations without agenda means time is suspended and dialogue unbound from convention of any kind. This is what I call the alchemical potential of conversation. There is absolutely no telling where a conversation will lead, especially when you rescind all control and surrender to the flow of conversation. There are myriad cues to pay attention to in any conversation and they are compounded when there are more than two people engaging. Body language and other forms of non-verbal communication play integral roles in dialogue. Learning to read these cues and aptly respond to them is an art in and of itself.
So why the sudden fascination with conversations? Because I’m living in a new environment and with a fresh outlook on life; the community surrounding me and of which I am a part is incredibly fascinating and diverse. The conversations I have had in the past two weeks of living here, at the Launching Pad, seem to have been some of the most fertile, inspiring, and mind-blowing of my life. It’s funny to put values like that on them, however, because I know in the depth of my being that there are an infinite number of possible conversations in my future that will continue to shift my experience. The experience menu for my life is thousands of pages long.
One of my favorite things about the types of conversations I’ve been describing is the opportunities for mutual education inherent to them. For instance, everyone brings their own perspectives and expertise to a given discourse and if something comes up that I don’t understand or am not very familiar with, my fellow conversationalist can rise to the occasion, if they so choose. I also love having my perceptions and preconceived notions challenged by those with whom I engage in conversations. In fact, I notice that in the last two years especially I have been seeking out people whose opinions and world views differ from mine. Learning to withstand, weather, and synthesize other people’s perspectives is one of my favorite get-out-of-my-comfort-zone practices. Granted, not everyone I speak with comes across in such a way that I need to withstand anything. Maybe it’s that I tend to seek out strong willed, confident, verbally expressive individuals because that’s one of my primary ways of interacting with the world.
I bet you’d love to hear about some of these conversations, but I would do them a disservice by trying to summarize them. However, I am fascinated to engage you in conversation. And one of my favorite things to ponder right now is: What are the best ways to engage people in conversation?
Here’s an idea: What are you working on right now, internally or externally, that has you fired up?
We are all co-creating the narrative that is our shared experience, replete with countless individual voices bringing untold beauty and wonder to the table. Remember that you are responsible for speaking your truth.