Sept. 25, 2016 NY Metro Focusing Notes
Lynn Preston: The Inside Life of Real Conversation: Focusing & the Powerful Potential of Focusing Dialogue
Lynn began by speaking about her own love of real conversation. She believes that real conversation includes all the voices, both between people and within each person, even those voices that we do not welcome. She quoted the philosopher Hans-Georg Godamer, who said “the highest principle is this: that we hold ourselves open to the conversation.” She also referred to Gendlin’s view that a genuine conversation is one in which there is room for a pause and where people are asked to say more about what they are trying to get at. Lynn herself believes that we areconversation, just as we are interaction. The interaction of self with self and with other are one process: the vertical dialogue with oneself and the horizontal dialogue with the other.
Lynn asked the participants to enter a focusing space and, from within that space, to recall a significant conversation, either recent or long ago. People provided an array of moving examples. Lynn reflected the essence of each and brought out the way in which each illustrated the elements of a genuine conversation, including coming from a feeling level, being personal, taking small risks of saying what is arising in the speaker, being open to the unexpected, being vulnerable, responding to the deeper point of the other, and being able to listen to what you disagree with.
In addition to actual recalled conversations, there were examples of conversations that had not happened. Even when a conversation feels missing and can no longer happen in real time, there can still be meaning and growth. Others might still happen when the right circumstances arose. Lynn was welcoming of everything, even the example of shutting down, which she characterized as deeply human. She mentioned that she would like to do a future workshop on the myriad ways that we prevent real conversation, such as our tendency to judge ourselves and others.
Notes prepared by Susan Deisroth and Diana Kirigin
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