Photograph by Justin Rosenberg
This picture of the window I face every day gives life to the idea that your surroundings can influence your creativity. Actually six or seven of us at work look at the window and it affects each one of us differently. But it also connects us and somehow I feel it gives rise to better design and solutions than a normal wall made of cement, wood or painted drywall. What is does is make us kindred souls with the same colorful light and that is why this article from Mark Susnow resonates with me.
Hope you agree…
by Mark Susnow
Sometimes telling a story is the best way to say it. There was that moment. My heart was wide open. I felt inspired. Take a second and imagine that this story is about you.
“You’re on the way to the airport. You get on the plane with a book that you’ve been planning to read for quite some time. As you open your book, you glance at the person next to you. A few minutes later you are asked a question and you reluctantly answer. You lower your book a bit to be polite and after a few minutes you find yourself putting your book down and engaging in a conversation, although with a lack of enthusiasm. And then the person next to you, let’s call him John, makes an observation about you that’s quite perceptive and sensitive. You start to become curious about who John is and in the course of the conversation, he tells you of an experience he has only shared with a few people. You let John know that you have had a similar experience. By now you’re totally engaged and listening to every word he says. You notice every nuance in the inflection of his voice and the way he moves. Time seems to stand still and the next thing you know the plane lands. You say goodbye to the kindred soul you have just met.”
You now know what’s possible. We all would love to have these experiences more often. You feel heard and everything seems possible. It is communication at its highest level and is a lost art. When you integrate four fundamental truths of communication into your life, you can have these experiences more often.
The first truth is to know that what we all want on a deeper level is the ability to connect with another, to touch each other’s soul. Unfortunately, too many of our conversations are just an exchange of ideas and information and we very rarely penetrate the surface. Most of our focus is on how we are going to respond to what is being said instead of listening. When we know that what the other person really wants is connection, there is common ground to build upon. With this foundation, we can build relationships that deepen and empower those involved.
The second truth is to know that listening involves much more than just listening to the words. It is tuning into the energy beyond the words. It is understanding the needs and feelings of the other person. It is about being totally engaged and at the same time being in the rhythm of life. Yes, it takes a lot of energy but you will be energized by what you get back. Imagine living in a world where you are truly listening and fully engaged.
The third truth is to know that you must take responsibility for the quality of your communication. Because we all have long standing attitudes and beliefs we sometimes find ourselves trying to convince the other person of our viewpoints. Being right then becomes the goal of the interaction rather than communication and the next thing you know you are in a full-fledged argument. Just think of what happens when you discuss politics or religion. Is being right more important than experiencing one of those magical moments?
The fourth truth is that communication is a process and an art. Being a masterful communicator doesn’t happen over night but it starts with the intention to experience more connection in your busy life. Just like other art forms, i.e. dancing or music, there is a natural ebb and flow in the learning cycle. As your commitment deepens to this process you notice that you are experiencing frequent glimpses of the magic that is possible in your life. The ultimate communication occurs when you are able to touch each other’s soul and share who you are. This new found magic then becomes the gateway to a more fulfilling life.
At our core, we all have the same human needs and desires. We want to know that we matter and that our life has meaning and purpose. We have the need to love and to be loved. When we accept that we all have the same human needs and desires, we know that we are part of one human family. By working together as one, what is possible in our lives, communities, and the world expands. That’s when we know that we are all kindred souls.