Tagged ‘Growth‘

Conversations of Courage

In amazement, I find myself moved by the conversations that I am privileged to share with people who are attempting to “connect the dots” of past and present experiences in their lives. Not only are these conversations earnestly seeking for truth, they are conversations that draw upon courage. I classify these interactions as “Conversations of Courage.”

These are not average conversations where common rhetoric or talk are merely exchanged to convey information back and forth. I am talking about the type of conversations that require vulnerability in the “guts” of a person and on a profound level make a decision to no longer hide from the truth of an experience.

I suppose a story or example would help illustrate what I am trying to convey. Perhaps in future blogs I will submit one for your perusal. For now, I wish to explain what I am trying to say first.

A choice must be made for “life” to continue. Courage is revealed when the vulnerability of a person’s situation evokes transparency and decision-making. Another way of saying this comes from author Gerald May, “A person must learn to become willing rather than wilful.”  Willingness actually leads to a more open space available for transformation. Wilfulness has within its make-up the attitude of being closed to secure a more immediate and self-focused aspect of interest. Willingness creates an attitude open to learning and growing. Wilfulness postures control and possible dominance where inwardly there is insecurity and fear.

For a time, the late Joe Batten from Des Moines, Iowa was my mentor and friend. He gave me an illustration that spoke to this point of willingness versus wilfulness. He would say, “Matthew what material is stronger,  leather or granite?” Naturally, like many who answered this question, I would say, “granite.” He would go on to state, “If you were to take a hammer and hit a piece of granite it would shatter. If you do the same with leather it dimples and still holds its shape.” The point: leather is actually a stronger material because it is flexible and open to change. In the scheme of life, leather is better.

Courageous conversations, I have found are: open and flexible. They require something of us, include vulnerability, and promote the refreshment of an other’s impact to develop and change who we are capable of becoming.”

I challenge you; be willing to have a conversation of courage. Take note whether you grow and develop as a result of your conversation.

Photos courtesy WordPress, Flickr, stephenK1977 & maxcady808

Conversations that Create

Once again, I was blessed to have another engaging conversation of depth and discovery. I was traveling with a friend to meet with a consultant who shared some mutual interests. Of course, as we drove to our destination, we conversed. What I realized was the incredible enjoyment of our interaction and the manner in which it helps each of us create something new.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, What is Your Conversation With Life, we were not simply talking. We were actually creating as the conversation was happening. I found that our conversation included these qualities:

  • conversation is creative
  • conversation is life-giving
  • conversation grants permission for uniqueness and expression
  • conversation promotes authenticity
  • conversation helps us to understand and move towards wholeness
  • conversations teach us how to listen
  • conversation lends itself to discovering “the other as a true other”
  • conversation deepens intimacy (knowing of self and another)
  • conversation invites God to be involved

In future blogs, I am sure that I will be elaborating on these qualities that lifted from my conversation with a special friend. This was my conversation with life and I was sensitized to the beauty of giving consent to the conversation. What are your conversations creating today? Have you reflected much on the qualities that seem to emerge from your conversations? I encourage you to continue to deepen your Conversation with Life!

Conversation or Condemnation

We all have an inner conversation that is taking place whether we are aware of it or not. Some call this conversation “self-talk” some simply say, “I was thinking about…” I tend to call it our inner conversation.

The other day I was having a conversation with a woman. She was sharing with me the events of her day, her thoughts, feelings and opinions about all of it. The conversation was flowing quite well until she began to feel  bad about something that she had done. Automatically, she entered into this self-loathing, disdainful attitude toward herself and the conversation was over.

Her conversation ended with me but also with herself. I found her shutting down, unable to process, and grappling with words to rescue herself from what appeared a pain producing experience. What happened? Where did she suddenly go? One minute she was present and available, the next she was absent. Here is what I discovered.

There is a vast difference between  conversation and condemnation. Conversation is interactive, dynamic, engaging, and full of life. Conversation creates wonder and curiosity. Condemnation produces judgement, guilt, hurt, and deathlike features. Where conversation opens, condemnation closes. Conversation permits the opportunity for growth and discovery, condemnation ends all learning, avoids possibility thinking, and leaves a person in the ruins of  feeling inadequate.

As you reflect, ask yourself, Are you having a conversation? Is it leading to discovery and growth? Are you entering into condemnation, therefore closing opportunities to learn? Conversation or Condemnation, that is the question!

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?