Dialogue for Our Times

I have been working with numerous groups this month and all are expressing deep dismay and defensiveness as we are inundated with stories about the new administration. People are talking about losing relationships over the election and the constant barrage of uncivil discourse. Some are seriously wondering if they will ever have a relationship with someone who voted for another candidate or has a different position on some of the hot button issues.

This is the time where the Dialogue practice can be most helpful. A few invitations:

1.      We might be proactive in preparing ourselves so we are not triggered. Get in touch with your body, mind and Spirit: what is your quality of Presence, do you need to limit contact with potential trigger places, can you put some boundaries around media contact, social media, etc.? 

2.      Remember to simply breathe—long deep cleansing breaths before, after, during any interaction.

3.      Be curious. The biggest trap in many of our conversations is to get sucked into increasing or supporting the polarization. How about asking questions—that help you see what is under the other person’s position—what are the values, the stories, the concerns, the hopes? Forget about your position for a bit and truly explore the other.

4.      Repeat above. Maybe sometime later share your perspective—remember this is about the practice and not about the particular issue or dilemma. 

If we do not practice learning more about the “other”, we and our country/world will remain and increase the polarization that leads to violence. We will continue to objectify each other and lose touch with the sacred worth and value that each of us has. We will forget that we are interdependent which means that we impact and influence each other for good and for ill.

Hard work, eh? We know it is. We are offering workshops to reacquaint or introduce you to the practice. We are working more and more with groups that want to learn and experience Dialogue in a variety of settings. If you do not see the type of offering you need or you want to explore the possibility of us offering this work in your area or organizations, please let us know.

We are completing our Open Public Dialogues that have at times gotten emotional or tense. And we worked through that while continuing to invite the different perspectives to arise. We can do the kind of engagement where emotions arise and stay in relationship. Let us help you do this too. 

We want you to practice the skills and tools and we want to support you to do that. Keep in touch. Let us know how we can help. We are preparing to offer another 2-year Practicum, maybe July or September—if you are interested please let me know so we can find dates that work for you! 

Thanks for being a part of this great dialogical journey.