Living Life Well

Conversation Tills the Soil of Our Hearts

When I moved in 1993 to Iowa from Southern California I was enthusiastic to explore my environment and learn about all the various aspects of Iowa’s terrain and geography. One of many unique characteristics of Iowa has to do with the soil.

Iowa has the some of the best soil in the heartland to grow crops. The black soil is rich with nutrients and humus, therefore providing a fertile beginning for seeds that are planted to develop and grow. As a farmer works with the soil by fertilizing, tilling, and managing water, the crops will then produce a greater yield during harvest time in the fall. By neglecting the soil and not tending it, hardpan results. Hardpan is a 3-6 inch layer of hard, crusty, clay that does not let moisture to penetrate nor does it allow nutrients or humus to get into the soil. This phenomenon develops simply by ignoring the soil while continuing to plant crops. Eventually the ground becomes very hard. Consequently, the only “crop” that does grow and flourish are weeds.

These are interesting facts about soil in Iowa’s heartland. I think there is a principle worth learning: “The quality of the soil determines the crop that grows.” What is the point?  

Is it possible that our conversations with each other are similar to a farmer caring for and managing soil? Do our conversations creatively till the inward places in our humanity that make provision for a greater yield? I believe “Conversation Tills the Soil of Our Hearts!”  Conversation, not simply talking, has its transforming effects to turn over, make rich in nutrients and minerals, manage barrenness and dry places, the soil of our hearts.

What if we realized that the degree of quality of our conversations we experience cultivates the type of heart soil and permits seeds of life, love, and living to take shape and form in our center. Would we engage more deeply with each other? Would we attempt to increase our number of conversations with each other? I invite you to reply by sharing with me your conversation about these thoughts.

Keep the Conversation Going!

How ironic. It has been weeks since I have contributed an entry and I entitle this post, “Keep the Conversation Going.” What happens when we stop the conversation with life?

I was speaking with a client who was experiencing numerous unsolicited events in her life that were causing pain, confusion, and disorientation. She mentioned how all she wanted to do was to simply check out until it all had passed. Her statements were what many of us say to ourselves when we feel overwhelmed, buried, and burdened with events in life that seem to affect our lives in a personal way.

Before I share how I responded to her I would like to mention an observation of four key “attitudes” or “postures” that seem to indicate that she was indeed “checking out.” They are:

  1. disillusionment
  2. disengagement
  3. apathy
  4. lostness

These four qualities are indicators that there was no longer a conversation with the life. In turn, what had replaced her motivation to live life and stay engaged was a detached experience from life that was eroding her ability to actullay live life. Her conversation had ended! She was falling into the abyss of the absence of conversation.

What is the message? I responded with, of course, sensitivity to all of the variables that were certainly affecting her, but more importantly, I responded with this, “What type of conversation are you needing from me?” Interestingly enough, she became engaged, thoughtful, and began describing what she was needing from my participation with her. At that moment, I knew she re-entered “the conversation.” She began to become more animated, engaged, and ended up bring doses of resolution to her circumstances. Life lesson: Stay engaged with the Conversation that is affecting your life whether painful or pleasureable, rainy or sunshine, that is in part how you find your way back to life!

What is Your Conversation with Life?

If someone were to ask you, “What is your conversation with life?” What would you say? Your answer might be, “Oh, uh, my conversation now is with you, what do you mean?” Or they may refer to conversation meaning to talk. Well, as I mentioned earlier, all of us are having a conversation with life. Every waking moment, thought, feeling, relational engagement, or circumstance is in fact a conversation with life.

Conversation comes from the Latin ‘convertere’ which means to turn around or transform. It was a compound verb formed from the prefix ‘com’, and ‘vertere’, to turn. From the Latin ‘vertere’ originated a specialized form ‘vertare’ denoting repeated action. From it came  ‘versari’ and then developed to eventually produce‘conversari’ which means to dwell, live, associate or communicate with others. Conversation got passed from ‘converser’ (French) into English and suggests the notion of dwelling and social life. Conversation never meant ‘to talk’ until the late 16th century.

Why all of this root word analysis? I think it is important to note that the word conversation originally meant something much different from how we define it today. Conversation originally meant to transform or to turn around. It meant to dwell or associate. Imagine if more often we realized that our conversations have the influence and power to change. How would we handle our conversations knowing that they are a catalyst to literally transform others or to be transformed? So… what is your Conversation with Life and how is it offering you and others a place of dwelling?

Conversations with Life!

What a privilege it has been for the past 20 years to engage in a profession where I have conversations all day long. Yes… you heard right! My daily hours offer me opportunities to enter into peoples’ lives on a very profound level, to partner with them in their own personal conversation with life. Sometimes there are conversations filled with wonder, curiosity, and expectation for the fulness of life to abound. Then, there are moments where the conversation seems to descend into the brokennness and shadows side of life.

What I have found is that life is a gift, a gift that keeps on giving. When we are aware of our own life, we are able to receive the gift. When we are numb to our own life we lose or miss the moment and the gift.

By trade I am a Marriage and Family, Child Therapist and then more recently have developed some skills and services in business consulting and coaching. I realize that life is an ongoing combination of various conversations that ebb and flow with our personal understanding of life in that given moment.

Conversations with Life is a blog that journeys deep into the heart and soul of life. Life leadership is an inner conversation with your center as the external circumstances beg for a response. My hope is to engender a deeper awareness and appreciation for life to be lived one conversation at a time. I am eager and look forward to the conversation.