1 February 2016
1) The action of living or having one’s being in, among.
2) Consorting (with); intimacy.
3) Behavior, mode of life.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
“Your highlighted quotes on your most recent blog post seem to suggest a failure of people to enter into what you call ‘the real conversation of life,’ and also an unhealthy attachment to information and the search for insight. Isn’t the exchange of insightful information the conversation itself? I don’t get what you’re after here. Also, ‘all forms of personal evolution and growth in all schools of thought are built pretty much exclusively on this’ (conversation) seems to conflict with what I know of those schools. Isn’t serene stillness, the contented being in the moment, the destination and ultimate sign of ‘satisfying, relieving, healing and fun’ as you put it?”
Man, you guys can be demanding. But I like your critical exigence.
“Isn’t the exchange of insightful information the conversation itself?”
You can move through Facebook pages or blogs for five minutes and collect enough insightful information for a lifetime. Then what happens? Qualitatively, how is your day different? Do you feel satisfied, relieved, healed and having just had a ball? And with a clearer, more resolved sense of direction and meaning, like, “Okay, it all makes sense now and life is great!”?
I think a real conversation (read authentic, more completely invested in) is one that evolves by entering into unknown territory very quickly. And that territory is noticeable through direct sensation of full-bodied “illuminations,” compelling experiences of mystery that don’t just sit in the head as two-dimensional bits and pieces of interpretation of reality. Versions that can lead to this in the schools of thought I mentioned include, for example, piercing compassion in all forms of therapy, attentive non-judgmental presence, confession or expression of gratitude in religious rituals, bursts of creative inspiration, unique appreciation and care in intimate communion, and forms of meditation, prayer and contemplation.
These frames or platforms are for the most part formal, synthesized versions of what can take place organically within any good, spontaneous personal conversation. There are many different moods or colors to such conversations, but they all produce real discovery, relief and resolution —visceral fulfillment — often completely transcendent of any information or even insight.
I almost want to say that a great conversation is one that you don’t even recall what was specifically said, just the excellence of the company kept.
A side note to the above… It’s sometimes suggested that all the above is too “deep,” which, frankly, directly contradicts the consistent experiences others and I have in such conversations, which almost always includes more fun, joy and laughter than anywhere else. The point is, I’m not arguing for more depth to make a conversation real. One only needs familiarity with depth so as to access more of the person or project in front of you. Once that’s accessed, you can put whatever you want in there — “a smile, a song, a tender kiss…” — and it will get in more completely. That is, entering into some kind of exchange with someone, something or oneself such that there is discovery of previously unknown freedom. Getting out of the inward-spiraling ordinariness into the experience of being closer to a child again in a universe of wonder with infinite possibility.
Information and insight don’t lead to that. Take any one piece of insightful information, any one, and craft it linearly into something that is itself the actualization of that insight, and now we’re onto something. A great writer and dear friend recently wrote me as part of a long conversation we’ve been having over decades, “it takes both proclivity and application to look beyond what is given into where it came from and where it might be taken…” Simply, yes. Practice this in conversation and eventually you become capable of being a source of freedom for others in their aching, “Would someone pleeeaase listen to or tell me something I don’t already know, help me experience something different?!”
“Isn’t serene stillness, the contented being in the moment, the destination and ultimate sign of ‘satisfying, relieving, healing and fun’ as you put it?”
Probably. But as that’s been described in all kinds of mystical writings by those who suggest they’re there, this is communing in conversation with the divine. The ultimate real conversation, as it were.
But, even so and in any case, isn’t the point and purpose of finding “contented being in the moment” so that we can expand it out to include those around us who could use it…lean whatever exchange a bit further toward something divine? That’s the real conversation I’m suggesting. And one has to listen and look very carefully to make sure that something truly satisfying, relieving, healing and fun is being had in that conversation.
~ Darrell Calkins
18 January 2016
“You’ve got some great stuff throughout your website and blog. Still, I’m trying to understand how what you offer is different from, say, any number of social media pages with wise or insightful quotes, or blogs with specific advice for personal struggles and questions. It seems as though the world, especially the web, is just filled with “Think about this…”.
Now that’s a comment I can work with. Thank you.
I don’t know about effectiveness in difference, but my intent and hope, as stated in my first sentence on this blog, is that it “provides some compelling resources.” Hopefully original, more carefully researched, chosen and timed, too. Every link here, for example, opens out into a number of directions for exploration, all of which I’ve personally explored, support and find worthwhile, with different angles on and unique voices about what I consider to be key parts of what one might call “the real conversation of life.”
Like for any conversation, a statement or question is offered that can be ignored, extinguished immediately, disappear into the mass of background noise, juggled with competing incoming stimulations, or engaged with sufficient conviction to take it somewhere unique. Much of the intuitive thread throughout all my work, including here on this blog, is “Why don’t you try taking this somewhere unique?”
Few things, if any, are as satisfying, relieving, healing and fun as a good conversation, whether that be one conducted with words, touch, silent heartfelt presence or caring consideration from a distance. Indeed, all forms of personal evolution and growth in all schools of thought are built pretty much exclusively on this. These produce our most fulfilling, enlightening and resolving experiences. They are also where and when we find ourselves liberated from the various cages we squirm and fidget within.
Specifically concerning the internet and everything we have access to there, but also including the world in general as most of us relate to it, I tend to lean toward…
We do not need more information, not even insight, but a new determination to sidestep rampant consumption of miscellanea, seize upon one or two intuitive illuminations and make something from them.
To illustrate, below are a couple links I’ve been wanting to include on my blog here, as examples of sublime precision, a compound quality I highly value and believe has real worth as specific tool in pretty much anything that anyone engages. But my hope in offering these is that they don’t just make one think or feel for a second or two but generate some conscious inspiration and intent to “make something from them” in our lives today, finding and integrating our own feel and sense of sublime precision into our chosen projects, endeavors and conversations…
“This is just fantastic, and relieves some nagging issue I couldn’t even put my finger on. Talk about sublime precision. I agree completely with your emphasis on conversation and also honing attention to create from one or two primary threads. Instead of stuffing ourselves with endless consumption and distraction, however temporarily appetizing. Bringing something worthy back out into the world, into the real conversation. Also love your quiet addition of the Simon Critchley article. Someone is listening to this most excellent conversation!”
Ha. A voice out there somewhere. I thought I was just howling into empty space. Thank you for your enthusiastic response, much appreciated.
12 January 2016
“J’apprends la nouvelle du départ de David Bowie et mes pensées et mon coeur se tournent vers toi… Vous êtes liés à jamais tous les deux…sa musique et ton travail…main dans la main… Les moments magiques, intenses, sacrés lorsque nous l’entendions vivre ses chansons, lorsque chaque note, chaque mot, chaque fragment de sa voix nous guidaient et nous invitaient à le suivre… Merci à lui… Je pense à toi, à la profonde tristesse que tu dois ressentir en ce jour… Et je suis profondément triste…Sound and Vision… Station to Station… Never get old…”
“Music has gone into the dark age again. RIP DB.”
“Massive waves and waves of emotional-spiritual power coming out of a place I don’t know, but one I could see you occupying with this great artist… Such a profound, mysterious intuition in Bowie. I don’t know what to feel or think right now after such a loss and end of an epoch…”
“David Bowie has been such a part of my life, thanks to you. So many songs with such powerful experiences intertwined… And wanted to reach out with an embrace… And gratitude…”
“David Bowie, with all great visionaries…his full out engagement was always unnerving, always made me look where I was afraid to go…more real, raw and uncontrollable, alive…to live a greater life, a larger life, more inclusive with life, and more solitary with life. I feel your presence in his music, there’s no way to separate the two of you…this morning it helps me to empathize and feel his loss with you.”
Very kind. Thank you.
“I breathe real deep when the movie gets real, when the star turns ’round… And I’m awake in an age of light and living it because of you…”
“Think about my soul but I don’t need a thing, just the ring of the bell and the pure, clean air…”
6 January 2016
“Laughing is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Borge
“Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” Leo Rosten
“Laughter is carbonated holiness.” Anne Lamott
“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.” Margaret Mead
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” Herm Albright
“Life is short. Kiss slowly, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.” Paulo Coelho
Thank you, Carter
27 December 2015
“I strongly believe that we need beauty in its many forms, and that when it is missing from our life, we are in trouble: we feel irritated, nervous, uneasy, or even panicky or depressed. The need may be so deeply buried that we are unaware of why we are so upset.
Much of my time as a psychotherapist is devoted to helping people to treat themselves better. They need, for instance, solitude and silence, or nature, or time for play, or greater appreciation from others, and the chance to express themselves. And they need beauty.”
Photos by Eli Buren and Paul Mc Grane
14 December 2015
“Perhaps the most important life skill is the ability and willingness to learn.
By learning new skills we increase our understanding of the world around us and equip ourselves with the tools we need to live a more productive and fulfilling life, finding ways to cope with the challenges that life, inevitably, throws at us.
Learning involves far more than thinking; it involves the whole personality – senses, feelings, intuition, beliefs, values and will. Learning occurs when we are able to:
- Gain a mental or physical grasp of the subject.
- Make sense of a subject, event or feeling by interpreting it into our own words or actions.
- Use our newly acquired ability or knowledge in conjunction with skills and understanding we already possess.
- Do something with the new knowledge or skill and take ownership of it.”
I really like this website, especially the underlying tone of simple, clean “Here you go,” with no in-your-face “If you pay more, we’ll give you all you need!” It’s a nicely assembled puzzle of the various directions, categories and specific life skills that one can explore easily, presented with an honest, pragmatically guiding voice. Just a basic tour already provides a solid introduction for looking more sanely at the human landscape of personal engagement.
Continue reading on the Darrell Calkins CobaltSaffron Blog