Conversare and the alleviation of loneliness

October 27, 2014 |  by  |  Uncategorized

This kind of socialising, getting together in a public place with a host to do the welcoming, is simple to organise and to host, with a little experience. Whoever does this quickly appreciates how much pleasure and fun this can be for participants. And how satisfying this is, for likely diverse reasons.

Among these are the sheer joy of engaging in lively conversation, partly with others who you happen to ‘bump into’ and particularly with the person with whom you have a meal. Likely the prospect of doing this will bring to mind memorable encounters with strangers you have had while travelling or other occasions.

Another realisation which dawns from participating in these gatherings is awareness that it is by giving of ourselves that we generate feelings of human warmth in others – and ourselves. We do this by being interested in the people who we talk to and expressing our interest by asking questions. And doing this in a way that shows we actually care about, and respect inherently, those we encounter.

Do you also believe that such feelings are the key ingredients of a way of being in which we do not feel so lonely, both when living in cities and in rural areas?

For ‘loneliness’ is receiving increasing attention as a feature of modern life. See The age of loneliness is killing us by British writer George Monbiot.

and from American social researcher John Cacioppo:

“As individuals, and as a society, we have everything to gain, and everything to lose, in how well and how poorly we manage our need for human connection…We need to remember not only the ways in which loneliness heightens our threat surveillance and impairs our cognitive abilities, but also the ways in which the warmth of human connection frees our minds to focus on whatever challenges lie before us. Both as individuals and as a society, feelings of social isolation deprive us of vast reservoirs of creativity and energy. Connection adds more water to the well that nourishes our human potential.”

Taking my point above that it is through giving of ourselves that human warmth ‘happens’  would you go along with the idea that each of us is responsible for taking the initiative to make connections with others?

Not easy to do in many circumstances and yet think of the remarkable rewards from doing so!

To reiterate: Conversare kind of gatherings are a space for human interaction – a context in which such connection can be experienced and practised by all who choose to participate. For anyone who shows up is welcome. These events can be held in all kinds of public places such as cafes, hotels, pubs, community centres. All it needs is someone or some group to do the organising and the inviting and ‘voila’ it happens!

What happens? The realisation that:

“In the end, connecting with others in the present moment of life is all that matters.”
Suzanne Daigle

and that it we all have a role to help to bring this about.

 Have you ever heard of a simpler, more effective or more ‘wholesome’ way of bringing people together to enjoy each others company?

Looking forward

Go well

Alan Stewart
, Australia

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