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Archive for April, 2010

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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