Moving right along

January 13, 2011 |  by  |  Uncategorized

To all those who have been asking:  “When will Conversare gatherings  resume?” you can rest assured that this is not long off. <smile>

With several innovations to make it simpler, easier to access, shorter in duration, a diversity of venues, different times in the week and likely a deep and memorable experience.

And with the strong possibility that the gatherings will soon be held in more Asia Pacific countries – already taking hold in Indonesia.

These innovations have arisen through reflections during the recent Festive Season holiday on:

. what has been experienced and accomplished to date

. insights into the nature of the enterprise and how it compares and contrasts with like minded offerings.

. ideas on how to make it a more valuable experience for participants

. venues and  duration for events

. pruning the content to a core.

As you may imagine much of the above occurred through conversing with diverse people both in person in Hong Kong and through skype and email communication with friends all around our little planet, 3rd from the sun.

Each of these will be explored in future postings.

For now let me say that my personal primary measure of success in any enterprise is that ‘It happened.’

Conversare has been happening for two years in a variety of formats and venues. The stage has been reached at which the reported benefits of participation can and will become more widely available, both in Hong Kong  – its place of origin – and beyond.

For now let me touch briefly on issues to do with what the enterprise is, why it could be important to people all over the world and how this may happen.

Conversare is to enable participants to have intimate conversations with strangers.

Do you have good memories of doing this? At a bus stop, at a shopping centre or – as many people would relate – a very satisfying conversation with a person sitting next to you on an airplane.

This is what you experience in an event. You arrive at the venue, are welcomed by the host and usually others, mingle, and order your food. While this is being prepared the host explains the purpose of the gathering, perhaps a bit about its history and outlines the guiding principles. These may be posted on a wall to have a look at as well as hear about.

Once the food arrives you find a find a person who you have not yet met, or only at a distance, and go to a place within the venue where the pair of you will get to know a bit about each other. Once everyone has finished their meal you come back into the group to share observations and feelings about the experience.

The gathering concludes by everyone acknowledging the presence of all participants – aware that the meeting of the particular people will not ever happen again – bidding goodbye and leaving.

Here now is a context in which conversing with a stranger happens, naturally and easily. For everyone who comes is made to feel welcome and included. And the only thing asked of participants is that they give of themselves.

“Why would I wish to spend time with someone who I don’t know, who is not likely to do anything for me and who I may not ever see again? “

Why indeed? If you actually ask yourself this question you are well on the way to the recognition that there could be benefits – very substantial – both to yourself and to others who you encounter at an event.

Testimonials from previous participants make the point very strongly that they learned much of value about themselves. Perhaps the most dramatic was the report of a person who came to recognize that he had developed a pattern of behavior in which he was paying very little attention to his family. What a revelation he received – and what a shock!

Where else would this kind of illumination occur, given that the person had not been aware of this ‘problem.’

The experience of engaging with someone – no matter who it is – in this manner could reduce feelings of:

.  inadequacy, ‘I’m not good enough’
.  the need to be in control of situations
.  hesitancy about this person taking advantage of me.

How does this appeal to you?

Over and above these considerations are the notions that:

. an encounter with people with someone who we don’t know is like a mirror we hold up to our own true nature. We learn who we are by observing how we respond to a stranger. For we may recognise and reclaim parts of the ‘stranger’ in us. And we also become more empathetic and hospitable to strangers and people closely connected to us.

. it may well be that your listening carefully to the stories of your conversing partner could greatly influence this person’s sense of worth too.  Plus of course you hear things about experiences and perspectives that you could not ever have imagined.

As you would appreciate creating contexts for this doesn’t ‘just happen.’ There needs to be host who knows how to do this well. If the Conversare enterprise is to flourish in many places – nooks!- the host(s) will need to be compensated (paid) for their services.

I wonder if you have any ideas about way(s) in which this may be accomplished to be fair to the host and the participants in any such events?

I will leave you with this thought to ponder on:

“Every conversation is about happiness.”
From the movie ‘Thirteen Conversations About One Thing’

If this is the case would being aware of how to converse well with others and with yourself make a difference to the quality of others’ lives and yours?

Alan Stewart

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