August 3, 2020
Communication: Connection, Collaboration, Conversation, Compassion, Constellation
By Amba Gale
The prefix, “co,” can mean so much. It is, as something I read on the internet said, “endlessly productive.” The same internet article said, “The prefix, co, is an old Indo-European prefix meaning ‘together, collectively.’”
Another definition said that the prefix means “with” or “thoroughly.”
Let us be “together, collectively, with and thoroughly.”
Before you read on, stop, and think of the meaning of each of the words in front of you.
Connection: often so missing, in normal times, and, especially, in these times, where our inter-relatedness, our authentic connection with one another, if you will, is not only not promoted, but dis-avowed, denied, for safety reasons, AND so sorely missing, and therefore, needed. What does it take to truly “connect” with others: where you are in their world, and they are in yours?
Stop, and think about that. I will say: it takes an extra, special invention, an effort, a willingness to “go beyond yourself”, as poet David Whyte so often counsels us.
Collaboration: what does it take to truly, collaborate, where your voice is heard, and another’s voice is heard as well, and what comes out of a conversation is so much more than what could come out of a conversation if there were only one of you?
Stop, and think about that.
Conversation: “converse” means to “to turn with.” Can you believe that? How meaningful!!! “Verse” as in “turn,” “con” as in “with.” What is it to be authentically in a “conversation” with another, where you are “turning with them?”
Stop, and think about that.
Compassion: oh, my gosh. Endless books, many of them Buddhist, have been written about compassion. Let’s just take a few “stabs” with compassion at initiating the dialogue, “with passion.” How about: Feeling emotionally moved by another’s suffering. Or: With empathy for another’s suffering. How about: with an intention to release another from suffering?
How about expressing kindness for another, even in small acts, “random acts?” Acts like opening the door for another? Acts like wearing a mask, even when it is uncomfortable and too hot? Acts like extending yourself by appreciating another? Acts like showing or expressing gratitude, and taking the time to think of to whom to show gratitude and how to authentically, from your heart, express it? Acts like caring.
And “Constellation.” What a word!
Stop and think about it. Look it up in the dictionary, and see where it takes you. Here’s a question: with whom are you in a “constellation?”
That is a BIG question.
This is work for a month!
The word, “communication,” as well.
Let me say something entirely radical, and leave you with it: Communication lives in the listening, not in the speaking. People think that if they bat ideas back and forth, like in a ping pong game, they are communicating. Let us say, that is not communication.
You know this. I know you know this.
“Try on” stopping. “Try on” shutting your constant internal chatter to a minimum, if not a stop (at least, don’t pay it any heed), and get into the world of another. “Try on” their point of view, just for a second. Get curious. See what opens from there.
You may be surprised.