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Satisfying Conversation

Basic Communications Model

Conversation, good solid conversation, real conversation, deep thinking conversation, historic conversation, and fresh and invigorating interpretation was just what I needed this past weekend. I set out to achieve just that at the Pacific Northwest Conference of the United Church of Christ (PNW-UCC) annual meeting in Pasco, Washington.  I was content and satisfied by the conversations I experienced.

Clergy in the UCC church are highly trained to listen, interpret, read, research and are able to communicate well in a variety of arenas.  These individuals are keenly aware of the culture, news, politics, and how people interact and need to understand situations and events in order to live their lives fully and participate in the world as good stewards, leaders and parents.  There is a great deal of attention paid to teaching the youth how to be in conversation, interpret and keep thinking and learning.    There is a curiosity and a freedom to question.  I watched an 8 year process towards change in governance being discussed and challenged right up to the call for the vote.  People truly felt heard and respected.  There was no yelling or shouting.  There were no age restrictions or gender bias.  There was a respectful honoring – lots of contemplation and debate.  I was planning on voting one direction and after the discussion and good night of sleep, I changed my mind.  It was satisfying.

One thing I cherished in the weekend, that there were no “sound bites” except in the humor of the speeches and lectures, which were extremely fun, funny and informative.  It was wonderful to hear folks clarifying what they heard so they could respond to the idea shared and move the conversation in many directions.  It was savory to witness true heart/head and head/heart connections being made.

Now the group was not perfect, no way! Lots of the young folks did not even speak to the elders.  Several groups came together and did not connect with others.  Several people boldly stated that they did not receive an answer to their question even when it was restated.  That conversation went on past my bedtime, and I was heartened to see it had created new friend bonds in the morning, when they had reached a point of understanding that enabled them to disagree and to agree upon their disagreement.

I was hungry for the conversation and the depth.

In so many of my daily interactions, I am being told, “Oh I never discuss religion or politics,”  “I always keep the conversation positive”; “I don’t know”.   These statements assume that discussion or discussing change is negative, religious or political.  How does one improve their society without knowing that there is something different that could be accomplished? Without learning the new?

We know that the brain does not make a decision or a change without new research and having conversations about it.   I have written about how we make decisions and change several times.  If you are just following orders or directions of suggestions and ideas of others – you are just memorizing another path and not choosing; there is no dialogue or integrating of concepts.

I was hungry to have a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.

I have returned home satisfied and fulfilled.

When was the last time you had a heart to heart, mind to mind satisfying conversation?  Do you hunger for these?  Some people are happy on a restricted diet, I know I am weary of conversation these days, I need to establish trust, how about you?

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20 Responses to “Satisfying Conversation”

  1. vered | Blogger for Hire Says:

    “Oh I never discuss religion or politics” – interestingly, when my husband and I first arrived at the US, one of the first tips we got was to never discuss religion or politics. :)

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes Vered,
    I have heard that over and over again in my life. I believe currently people have so few “others” that they trust in their lives that they do not have the human resources to make big decisions or discuss politics and religion.

    I am called to develop trust in others and in themselves so that they can discuss issues, develop and change.

    It is a skill that is disappearing but vital for cultures and societies to get along and progress and change

  2. Patricia Says:

    Here is another interesting post on the same conference

    http://ucucc.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/can-we-talk/

    from University Congregational Church in Seattle Wa.
    FYI
    Patricia recently posted..Satisfying ConversationMy Profile

  3. Davina Haisell Says:

    Patricia, it’s truly a gift to have a meaningful, heartfelt conversation; the kind where each person lets the other speak freely. These don’t come around very often, I find.

    The in-depth connections that you’ve spoke about are treasures. I remember the feeling of being involved in such discussions and how I felt after. Energized. Satisfied. Complete. Connected.

    I’m so glad you had a good weekend!
    Davina Haisell recently posted..A simple explanation about using “that”My Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Davina,
    I was a bit worried about the weekend and it was expensive to go all that way – my vacation I guess!

    I was so pleased to be with 250+ folks who wanted to talk about how to be in the world and care for the world and so many understood how part of the process of dialogue and change is discussion and varied input.

    Yep Energized, satisfied, complete, and connected…well I am still a bit disconnected but moving closer…although many churches in this group have blogs, most still do not understand how to use them to effectively communication – I was still a foreigner there!

  4. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    “I have returned home satisfied and fulfilled.”

    Now that’s a sentiment that would make anyone smile :)

    Patricia Reply:

    Laurie,
    I bet it was close to feeling great about having lunch with the Dalai Lama…
    thanks for sharing that great communications event in your life – awesome

  5. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia!
    How marvelous you had such a communicating weekend! I think that is so much more important than people consciously think it is. (But then, how many people are thinking?) :)
    Hugs
    SuZen
    suzen recently posted..Good – and Bad – Chemicals for Your SkinMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    suzen,
    you make me chuckle – and how many folks know we need to teach our children to think and problem solve?

    There were about 40 teens representing their church communities and packing backpacks with school supplies and toiletries for giving away as their service projects….they talked a great deal about bullying and gay rights and the elections – lots of discussion about the college loan interest rates and the trade off with women’s health care. It was refreshing.
    I only heard one say they thought the event was boring but then they were on their way to swimming and pizza party part of the weekend!

  6. Alison Elliot Says:

    “There is a great deal of attention paid to teaching the youth how to be in conversation, interpret and keep thinking and learning”. This is music to my ears Patricia. It will be so refreshing to have a conversation with a young person that doesn’t strat with “dude – waz up”. Thank you for the inspiration.
    Alison Elliot recently posted..Got Pain??. . . get the download on physical template upgradeMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Alison,
    Our church has a huge commitment to youth and education – huge and part of the faith journey we all take is to figure out our own spiritual beliefs and how we live our lives fully on that journey – then they other side of the equation is what we do in the world – everyone has a call to participate in the world and our conference takes this training and understanding seriously.

    On the whole, our youth are not afraid to take philosophy and comparative religion – groups are extremely supportive of assisting youth in getting the best education they are able to attain and helping /supporting the planning process. I am impressed even though we are experiencing the huge drop out rates as other main stream churches ( which I realize we are no longer mainstream!)

    I think the incredible support given the youth makes them more able to understand themselves and they feel more confident

  7. Sam Juliano Says:

    If you derived satisfaction and fullfillment from this dialogue well then your mission was accomplished. I am one that always sidesteps the traditional “heart to hearts” but will never hesitate to radiate positive energy in daily interactions with friends and family. The right connections are never a given, but good vibes and the positive outlook will almost always put everyone in the winner’s circle.

    So happy it was such a great time and feelings Patricia!

    Patricia Reply:

    Sam,
    Thank you so much for your kind words and support on my venture forth and write up.

    I now feel much clearer on a number of issues and how they related to my faith and actions, because I was able to discuss and dialogue deeply. I feel foundationed.

    We all have different styles and that is what makes the world go round….

    A Week with Marilyn was my reward this afternoon – thank you so much…very perfect discussion on love and connection

  8. Terrill Welch Says:

    Patricia deep conversations leave us questioning and invigorated. And so why not embrace? Your blog seems to fit well with the movie we just watched about Jung and Freud called “Dangerous Method” where these two had lengthy discussions about ideas and some of which were thought to be avoided. It takes time and commitment for these kinds of connections. A person must be willing to be uncomfortable, engaged, reflective, vulnerable and even viewed as contentious or possible even wrong. But a continual diet of light chatter is very thin soup to nourish our heart and soul. To paraphrase Mary Oliver, if there is a desire to truly live and not come to the end of life finding that you have only visited – then I think we need to make room for such conversations. A beautiful post and Patricia I know I always look forward to your thoughtful exchanges wherever it is we connect.
    Terrill Welch recently posted..STORM COMING THROUGH original painting by Terrill WelchMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Terrill,
    I cherish your words as much as your beautiful paintings and photography…

    I put the movie on my list to see and I thank you for highlighting it.

    I am always hoping for such good connecting conversation – I think I went a bit too long without it this past year….

    I am so pleased to have found your words here – thank you for coming by and sharing

  9. Terrill Welch Says:

    Patricia just so you know, the movie does have some nudity and such. I never think to remember to tell people these things, particularly when they are included as necessary parts of telling the story.
    Terrill Welch recently posted..Hanging at the Bennett Bay BistroMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Terrill,
    Thanks for the “warning” I never think of those things either when it is part of the story.

    There is one TV outlet here that seems to just go overboard on the violence and the nudity to tell a story. I would rather read the book…. but there is so much fear building going on….it is good for the warning.

    I put it on my scheduled list for my mailed DVDs and read the review and ratings – looks like a good one to me
    Patricia recently posted..Satisfying ConversationMy Profile

  10. Hearing Calisthenics – WiseEars Says:

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  11. Carol Says:

    Your post is very interesting and it is really an attention grabbing. thanks for posting.

    Patricia Reply:

    Carol,
    Thank you for your kind words and it is nice to find your comments here this morning!

    More good conversation