Conversations are healing

My best friend in our company is seeking a new position. During his transition, he kept to himself embarrassed, angry, and humiliated. He finally came to Central Oregon to talk and we talked for eight hours. It was wonderful for both of us. Only through conversation with others that care can we start the healing process. Pulling inward, even though a natural reaction, is no solution. It only creates pain and suffering. We absolutely must connect with others.

I too in the past have pulled inwards feeling hurt, embarrassed, and angry during a transition. I have even sacrificed my families well being by not applying for unemployment because I was too embarrassed to have my prior employer know that I had “failed” in my new position. I wonder if others have done the same thing, pulling back and not talking with those that care. We are a conversational species and are supposed to be in conversation with others. That is what makes us human. That is how we learn. That is how we connect and heal. And that is how we love. So what drives us to abandon what is our most foundational characteristic? I know for myself that when I have reacted this way, I did not trust those that I loved and who loved me to embrace me and my circumstance without judgement.

Considering all that is going on in our world it is easy to reach out without judgement when someone looses a position. Yet do we always open up our hearts and our souls and let others come into conversation with us without judgement? Do we ask ourselves if the person could have done more, something differently, or better? Do these thoughts prevent us from fully embracing those who we love? A simple “What can I do to help?” is sufficient. “I am here to talk with you, listen to you, and bring you into a healing conversation” is what we can do to show love and caring for others.

I just found out that the son of a very dear friend died by suicide. My heart was broken. I can not even imagine the pain that she is going through. It would be easy to ask why others didn’t see the warning signs. But this is not a loving question. We humans are complex and messy. We have messy emotions, messy relationships, and messy lives. There is no way that we can or should judge, we can only reach out and love others and embrace them in conversation. We hold the cards to helping others heal through our willingness to talk.

Go forth my friends and help heal this world of ours. Embrace others and draw them into conversation. Do not let others withdraw in fear, anger, or humiliation. The power is ours. We now need each other more than ever. Thank you for being willing to carry on the work of conversation. You are healing the world.

Your friend John

Conversation reduces the stress of moving

My family is just about to move to Redmond Oregon and after living apart from my family for almost three years, we are finally going to be together. But probably as many would agree, uprooting the family and moving is very stressful. Planning for the move and making the decisions about what stays and what goes and what we need to purchase is even more stressful.

My inclination is to simply say here is what we need to do and do it. As you might imagine, this simply does not work well. Finally my wife Hazel and I sat down and started to talk about all of the decisions we needed to make. We took our little girl out to see new furniture for her new room. We explored what to get rid of. As we sat down to talk, the stress of all of these issues came to the surface. We were tense and the conversation started in spits and spurts. A conversation did emerge and as we worked through all of these issues. We began to move into our normal pattern of give and take and had a wonderful conversation. At the furniture store, I had envisioned that we get our little girl a Loft Bunk Bed as we will have far less space in our new home. She was highly resistant particularly since she too is very stressed out over the loss of her home and many treasured furnishings. After letting her work her way through her concerns she ended up falling in love with the Loft Bunk Bed. It was a lesson in relaxing and letting a conversation emerge rather than try to force a decision too quickly.

For a high “D” person, this letting go takes quite an effort but the results are fantastic. Being in conversation is so much more meaningful and rewarding that a discussion. See etymology in my first post to see the difference. This weekend was an excellent reminder of the power of conversation. A conversation can not be rushed, it can not be controlled, and the outcome can not be dictated. One needs to be open to letting emerge what should emerge. I am again reminded that conversation is what binds together people in a living system and leads to order out of chaos. This is not always easy to see when one is in the middle of the chaos.

I wish you the best in your conversations.