“If we as individuals cannot speak to each other, how, then, can we as nations achieve peace?” This is the verse that is paired with the photograph, Invitation of Dialogue.
When I wrote this verse, I was thinking about all the times I have heard people speak to each other in gruff and unkind ways. I have always felt badly for the recipient of those words and nasty tone of voice.
In our search for peace and sobriety, we will find that how we talk to others matters. If we are kind, considerate, and respectful, we will feel much better about ourselves and we will have much better relations with others.
We can invite wholesome conversation or dialogue if we share our thoughts with others. By thoughts, I mean things like how we are feeling, our reactions to what they have said or done.
I am not talking about merely saying hello, and asking how another is doing, although these phrases are what we will say to others when in a quick, passing encounter. Instead, I am talking about the on-going discussions we have with people that are close to us, that we see on an on-going basis.
If we have the courage to tell someone that what they said was hurtful, for example, and why, this opens the way to a more meaningful exchange. If we do this, there is no need to act out our hurt, or to hurt another in retaliation.
Understanding on the part of the other person, with resulting compromise, can be a gift of our honesty about what we truly think and feel. This can occur if we approach the other in kindness, without lashing out. Rather, we can calmly relay our concerns.
A large part of dialogue with another is tuning into what they are all about, what they are thinking or feeling. In other words, we can get out of ourselves and our need to talk about ourselves by showing interest in the other person and their needs, wants, and desires. When we do this, we are being of service to the other person.
Today, I invite you to share with others your true thoughts, desires and needs, without hostility. Notice the resulting dialogue that occurs from this space. Be curious about the other person, determining their wants and needs and desires. Be of service to that person with whom you are speaking. Tell me, doesn’t that feel more satisfying, more fulfilling? Doesn’t that enhance your sobriety and lead you to peace?