Places in which the lost art is rediscovered

June 30, 2011 |  by  |  Uncategorized

I wonder if you see that connecting well with people around you, those that you know and others that you don’t – yet – is at the core of ‘wholesome’ living?

And that it is possible to do this if we set our minds to it while having a lot of fun.

Sounds improbable and unlikely, given the difficulties and uncertainties that many of us face?

I put to you that this is quite realistic, in spite of whatever else is happening in your life, and that there could be places where this happens. Places in which people meet socially to have lively conversation with someone they may not know, purely for the pleasure of the encounter. Where participants interact with each other in a generous manner, mainly by careful listening.

In this kind of gathering people feel so welcome and included that conversation flows freely and naturally. For the so called ‘lost art of conversation’ is rediscovered as participants find that listening to each other is very interesting and enjoyable.

Why would you even consider going along to such a gathering? Among possible reasons are that you:

. like meeting new people

. enjoy doing something different

. recognize the opportunity to expand your social skills

. appreciate that everyone you meet has fascinating stories to tell

. see that doing this could be a spiritual adventure.

. know that conversation makes life interesting.

. wish to practice your listening skills.

Others that come to your mind?

You may also intuit that getting together in a context in which your role is to give of yourself, while possibly challenging, could be fulfilling and fun.

Sensing too that asking someone a question, face to face, seems to be a magical kind of act – it often elicits a response that the person was not conscious of knowing, or a story of a long-ago experience.

And that in doing this you may get to hear of someone’s experience which is so very different from your own and which you could not imagined.

These kind of observations were made by people who participated in the early development of the Conversare format in Hong Kong.

From where I have recently moved after spending six happy years there to return to my home city of Adelaide in South Australia.

And now, while experiencing ‘shifts and adjustments, I can see remarkable opportunities to make the format known here. Among these are:

. I attended a forum recently on the topic ‘Making Adelaide an age-friendly city.’ This has inspired me to recognize that introducing the approach to diverse places and organizations could help to bring this idea into being.  Partly perhaps through promoting cross generational encounters.

. When he heard of such possibilities the owner of a local pub said that he would be most interested to see how it operated in this place as a novel way of enabling customers to get to know each other.

And so the stage is set for this happening here. Sustainably, by which I mean that the gatherings are organized in a way in which participants can come back time and again if they wish. In doing so get to know each other.

Would you wish to part of such an enterprise? Do you have ideas – and questions – about how to get something going in your neighbourhood or organization?

If so feel free to share what ‘sparks’ you by adding a comment below.

Looking forward

Alan Stewart
Adelaide, Australia

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