Better Conversations Week

Better Conversations Week Starts Now
 In the US, we are gearing up to celebrate Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this holiday is marketed as a time of celebration and family comradery. In reality, this holiday tends to have people taking more Xanax than prescribed and relapsing on their health goals. In many houses, the focus will be more on football and turkey than the actual living breathing people in the midst. This year in particular, I have heard of more election related shenanigans than in any year prior, such as:

  • I will not be going to Uncle Bob’s house because they voted for so and so
  • I will be boycotting the dessert Aunt Betty made because she voted 3rd party
  • I will be poisoning cousin Richie because he didn’t vote

Aside from being very afraid to mix up my glass with cousin Richie, this hurt my heart.  I am -by nature- a peace keeper.  I don’t like to be in or around volatile situations.  If friends are arguing, I tend to try to mend the fences for them.  I like to make sure the introverts and extroverts are getting along in social situations by navigating the conversations.  This year, the election has given me way more than I can handle in terms of smoothing wrinkles.  So, when I stumbled upon this beautiful topic, I felt the universe give me a hug.

 Folks. It’s time.

 We can still be mad at Richie, we can still disagree with Aunt Betty, and we can even lack total understanding of Uncle Bob’s decision. We can still have all the feelings, but we cannot let the feeling and emotions run the train off the rails. We cannot wait until a eulogy is being read before we realize the importance of those around us. We are better than that.

 Now, more than ever we need each other. We need to connect. We need to be with the ones we love, and even the ones we only tolerate once a year. We need to find a way back to real connections. Connections that are not dulled by prescription numbness. Connections that are not diluted by alcohol and sugar overload. We need to connect, and feel it. Some connection will be warm, soft, and amazing. Other connections may be painful, and raw. In every instance, however, there is a connection and a lesson; something to take with you, and something to leave behind.

 This week, why not begin to allow the healthy connections you already have in place grow by celebrating one another through conversation? Why not take the time to really listen, to really see whom you have with you? Why not take this opportunity to speak. Let those who are with you and for you know their place of importance in your life. Let those who you cannot imagine a life without know that they matter to you.

 Amazing things happen to plants and relationships when they are nurtured; they thrive. Conversation is the fertilizer to your relationships. It enriches them. It brings value and energy. Conversation binds us together. Isn’t that the point? Don’t we want that? Without depth, our relationships are more like a silk plant. While pretty to look at, they don’t bring anything else to the table. They don’t provide anything. They simple exist. Real relationships give as much as they get, just as plants provide us with food, oxygen, and more. 

By nituring and caring for the relationships that matter, you will also begin to recognize the ones you can live without.  That doesn’t mean I think you should cut Uncle Bob out of your life for good.  It means that you need to learn to surround yourself with the necessary so you can avoid, or endure in some cases, the unnecessary.  

 So, let’s honor this week by being proactive. Reach out to your loved ones. Begin to cultivate the relationships you hold near and dear. The rest of the stuff will work itself out. The universe has a tremendous ability to recover, and so do we. 

Push Button Phone Day

On this, my triumphant return to the land of blogging…because the internet and I had a fight.

I bring you: Push Button Phone Day

This holiday actually made me laugh aloud. I was born in the late 70s, so I grew up in 80s and 90s when technology took off. The fact that a celebratory day has been created around the push button phone is comical and endearing all at once. I hold the push button phone in high esteem, as it was the very vehicle that cemented one of my most amazing relationships. It was literally my most valued connection tool.

As a young girl, blessed with the gift of gab, I spent many hours connected to a telephone while growing up. My best friend was blessed with the gift of indulgent listening, which is why we are still friends. Without that telephone, my memories – and the way my youth was shaped – would have been dramatically altered. 
For one thing, that phone allowed me to connect to the one person in the world that I felt truly understood me. She listened, laughed, chastised, and encouraged me with our talks. We sat in silence as we watched the same T.V. shows together connected via telephone. We screeched with indignation when anyone attempted to use the phone while we were talking. The telephone was indeed, the connecting element of our friendship.

In life, I have had the pleasure of meeting and entertaining thousands of people. I have a wide net of friendships now that all mean something special to me. Some revealed themselves to be temporary. Some revealed themselves to be fake. Some have even revealed themselves to be life changing. However, the one I formed in the back bedroom of my home on A Street is the one that sets the bar. My best friend, as I call her, is as unique as the Aurora Borealis. Her personality and calm presence are a remarkable sight. The tragedy is that we do not get to see each other very often. Life has gotten in the way.

Let me be clear, that time and distance does not alter our friendship, for it was formed long ago and has deep roots. However, I would be dishonest if I did not admit that the disconnection is painful. There are times I long to go back in my old bedroom, plop on my pink canopy bed, and let hours of conversation take me away. Unfortunately, that is not a reality right now.

What is a reality, is appreciating her for all the years of friendship, and making sure she knows it. Silent appreciation is very hard to convey. Words, actions, and deeds will always let your appreciation message shine through. So often we are thankful for those in our lives, but we neglect to tell them. Many times we think of all the things we should have said when it is too late. Absence of appreciation or kind words can erode even the strongest relationships. A neglected relationship can sneak up on you too. One day you mind goes back, and you realize it has been days, weeks, and months since you last spoke. Awkwardness ensues, and you leave the sleeping elephant in the room. I say – wake the elephant up. 

Is it better to address the relationship’s need or live with an awkward pachyderm in your space? Call, tweet, email, blog, write, go…whatever fits best. Address the importance of your relationship. Celebrate the past, embark upon the future, and above all – make your feelings known. 

Otherwise we risk having important people become a memory, like the push button phone. We remember when it is too late to appreciate. We wait until the time has gone by. Let’s not do that this time. Let’s relive the push button phone and all of its grand memories with our loved ones. Let’s connect.