I've been having some great conversations lately. Whether they be in person or as witness to the conversations of others, what is coming through loud and clear is that when we are honest about the questions and curiousities we have, our interests and ideals; when we are truthful about our hurts, about what bothers us, what we want more of, less of, we tap into the grit of what matters to us. We become inspired. We become greater than our parts.
And of the conversations I've had, the majority of people want a better world, more heart, more community, more peace. We want less power, less greed and less fighting.
There are plenty of voices out there, ranting about how they are going to 'make things great again' (ahem), how 'building walls' is the answer. Why are those voices not afraid to be heard?
Why are our voices, the ones who want a different kind of greatness, a more inclusive, loving kind of wonderful, so fucking timid? Why aren't we ranting about what we are passionate about? Why not?
I know in my life I've been accused of being 'for the birds' because what's in my heart is 'naive'. I've been told "don't be talking to so and so", because 'that person' is this and that. I've been 'advised' on who to regard to and who to DISregard. I have been offended when persons are deemed 'misfits', excluded from having an ear because they're apparently a lost cause, a 'no-hoper', diagnosed as such by some unspoken consensus in the community around them.
I've had eyes roll. I've been scolded for reaching out to others... "Don't be opening yourself up like that"... etc etc. Needless to say, I have unburdened myself of such advisors over the years.
A conversation can change someone's direction in life.
A conversation can SAVE a life lads. I've had it happen. One instance in particular, saw a gentleman of my own age come and thank me 6 months after a conversation I dared to have with him about depression.
At the time, he was securely housed in a dark shell. He was drinking his days away. I saw it. I saw his suffering. I also knew some things about him as an interested and interesting person. I knew he loved music. I knew he played guitar. I knew he wrote songs and poetry. I knew there was more to this guy than his darkness.
So one day, in a bar, I approached him. And I addressed the big massive elephant sitting there alongside him. I went straight in and I named it. I told him he wasn't alone. That he didn't have to suffer alone. That he could talk to someone and if that someone wasn't me, well then, here's a number for a therapist I know. I told him there was nothing to be ashamed of in seeking help. I'd done it. I let him know I could see him, that I was interested. That I knew he was a sensitive, passionate individual with a heart and something to say and that he could find a way to say it, as I did.
He was a bit angry with me, more defensive really, but my approach at first seemed unwelcome. Of course it did, because when we're down like that, we feel weak and we try to hide that. It wasn't 'easy' for me either, I was nervous. The last thing we want is for others to see us struggle with the invisible monster within ourselves and we think we will be judged as harshly as our own estimation of same.
But what we estimate as weakness, is only that, when you are at the mercy of your own company in this state. Here's the thing... the darkness is a threshold. It is where all that is beautiful about your humanity has gone to ground because it lives in a conditioned self who has at worst, been taught to suppress it and at best, not afforded a way of 'socially acceptable' expression. But let me tell you this. It is all that is RIGHT about you that is at the root of this. It is what you really, REALLY care about and what you need in your life but are not engaged with, for whatever reason, that is the thing in need of expression. It is HUMAN to have needs... but we're not always taught how to meet them.
Expressing the deeper parts of us is a gift. It is also a skill that can be learned. And the only way to learn it, is practice.
Anyway. 6 Months after I approached this young man, he told me only for that conversation, he would not have seen Christmas. He told me he was headed for the bottom of the lake. Instead, here he was now, celebrating Christmas for the first time in years. And he thanked me. And to this day. I wonder what would have happened had I been 'obedient' to those to who told me "not to bother" with this guy.
Which brings me back to my original point. Conversation MATTERS. What a privilege it is to have a voice, use it. Find *safe* spaces to go and open up. Therapists, groups, friends. Just show up, if it's just to listen at first. Observe how others do it, listen. See how a willingness to been seen and heard creates the conditions for great, sometimes life changing conversation.
If nothing else, a conversation can clarify something, lighten a mood, exchange information. The best conversation is where truth is allowed, questions are pondered, hearts are spoken, souls are bared... wisdom is shared.
Find people to talk WITH. And if you feel you're being spoken AT, then it's not conversation. Conversation is open, inviting, interested. Speaking, Listening, Sharing. You should feel included. You should feel listened to.
Amazing things can happen when you step into conversation.
What conversations are you part of lately?