“Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
― Franz Kafka
Please don't think me judgmental but I long for real conversation not (as is so often the case) a waspish opinion, criticism or outright condemnation.
At the other end of the spectrum, there's a tendency to play it safe and revert to a time-honoured list of subjects that are designed not to offend anyone.
It's what sits in the middle that attracts me.
I'm sure I'm already out of my depth and likely to offend someone for even suggesting there's something wrong with the status quo but (and this isn't said for effect) I'm sick to death of the same moribund things being said over and over.
And before someone fingers me, I'm as guilty as the next person in not speaking my truth by often reverting to tomfoolery to avoid the tension and difficulty that's bound to ensue if I say what's really on my mind. But I wonder what we're missing — if, of course, I'm right with what I'm trying to say?
As an experiment, the next time you're in conversation ask yourself either of the following:
a) what's the real issue that's not being spoken?
b) is there another, more important conversation that exists betwixt the spaces in the words spoken?
(Don't forget, language is everything.)
As always, as I type these few words, I'm trying to understand the import of what I'm trying to say. Simply this. There's a time and a place for pleasant, social conversation, coupled with graceful, patient listening but perhaps, just perhaps, we need to be prepared to touch upon and engage in some of the bigger issues of our day without fear of being shouted at, shouted down or to endure a barrage of criticism — or worse still. A dialectic if you will. Of course, no one has the ultimate truth of anything but if you feel drawn to express your truth then you should be able in a calm and patient way to make your point.
I realise that I'm surfing a fine line between being drunk on your own ego (and often upsetting people as you descend into another predictable rant) and something more tender of your soul but as I reflect on the plethora of family, work and social conversations over the years, I realise how little we've each said or what's gone unsaid. And I regret that — on both sides.
At the end of the day, in written or spoken word, aren't we all trying to be understood, as much as being loved? Yes, that's it. We all want to be understood and I'm convinced there's a lot more we could do to develop our conversational skills.
Oops, I nearly forgot. It's Monday. Normally, I'd be in full 'suited-and-booted' mode but I've got an extra day's holiday to enjoy. I know, lucky ol' me, eh! I've got a few things to do but at some stage, I'm hoping to go for a wild swim. If my youngest daughter is up for it, hopefully we can go together.
Anyhow, I know Alfie is somewhere in the house, and I'm in the mood for a nice early morning walk.
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