Conversation, Conversation, Conversation!

Conversation, Conversation, Conversation. What a delight to be engaged in heart-warming, uplifting and challenging conversations!

Two friends and I spent a weekend like three peas in a pod. A pod that enclosed us in fraternal, spiritual and theological intimacy. As an introverted listener, it was both a delight and a challenge to play the listening role, yet transcend my comfort zone. 

I felt like Saints Benedict and Scholastica (brother and sister) who unexpectedly spent an entire night in conversation. Hear this funny story. Scholastica was accustomed to visiting her brother once a year. He would come down from his monastery property and meet her outside the gate. On one occasion, they met, talked and ate supper together.  According to St. Gregory the Great’s writings, they would talk about spiritual things. Well, I beg to disagree with the tradition. I can’t imagine a brother and sister, having not seen each other for a year, speaking only about spiritual things.  They must have spoken about mundane, raw and ordinary things related to convent and monastery life.  Anyway, on this particular occasion they went on late, and Benedict indicated that he must return to the monastery. Sad to see him leave, she persuaded him to stay longer.  He refused. She knelt down and prayed. Suddenly, a thunderstorm rolled over. The rain prevented Benedict from returning to the monastery. So, they continued their conversation all night.

Saints Benedict and Scholastica

How does a heart-warming, uplifting and challenging weekend conversation feel? I remember an emotional intelligence (EQ) coach saying to me that “healthy conversation is like mixing cocktails. It produces the hormones oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin.” Oxytocin is responsible for generating feelings of empathy, trust and relationship building. Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. Serotonin stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.  Need I say more!

Three basic wisdom lessons on healthy conversation were my take away from the weekend:

  • Conversation involves sharing and receiving each other’s perspectives.
  • Conversation allows you to be aware of what you don’t know.
  • Conversation motivates you to become more open, expansive, curious and flexible.

I challenge you: Go mix a cocktail drink of healthy conversation today!

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