I keep having conversations lately about the importance of conversation. I’m not talking about chatter but rather deep and meaningful conversation. It isn’t always necessary to know where the conversation will lead; it’s more important just to engage and stay open to possibility.
I was in a meeting yesterday about a series we’re planning in March on the broad topic of meditation. We three had begun the conversation before Thanksgiving, did some preliminary planning and were thinking, I’m sure, that we would have a good handle on things by the end of yesterday’s session. Oh yes, and we were probably all guessing we would be finished within about an hour. We spent the requisite preliminary moments of “catch-up” about the holidays and the world situation (although treading lightly there so as not to get side-tracked). As we moved into the review of what we were planning it seemed we were almost starting over and covering the same ground with different outcomes – or no firm direction. Trying to nail down something that would be broadly interesting and accessible to multiple age groups and spiritual disciplines is never easy and I could feel at least two of the three of us getting a little tense (just a bit) about whether or not we would have made any progress in the end. Having reviewed where we had been and where we seemed to be, we each took pieces of the work for follow-up. Feeling somewhat better, we turned to the topic of a title for our series and I once again understood how process is its own reward if we allow it the space it needs to work.
Over the next five minutes we all threw out into the center of the room numerous insipid ideas. Next, slowing down and adding pauses to allow our words a bit of spaciousness before we rejected them, we added some reasoning around those that had potential. Then, in a flash, one of us offered a three-word title and another added a sub-title and finally all three said, “That’s it!” There was no question; we had our framework for going forward, a way to contextualize with the presenters and engage potential participants that could make the events worthwhile. I realized, as I often do now, that it was the entire conversation and the energy around all of our sharing that produced the result.
I have heard of many gatherings being planned for the purpose of deep reflection in the near future. Some involve small circles of folks who know each other, some are retreats drawing participants from far and wide. And then there is the million-woman march in Washington on January 21st. It is my hope that all of the energy generated in all these conversations will lead to raising the consciousness of participants to unity of purpose and will. May it be so in this very important year!