All I want for Christmas is to express my deepest appreciation for every person who contributed to a group conversation and to the facilitators who supported them.
I, and I think, many other people, feel there is little we can do in this time of horrific strife in parts of the world, such as in the Ukraine and Gaza. Yes, we can inform ourselves through reputable sources about the conflict, we can reach out to friends and colleagues to offer understanding and support, we can donate, we can sign petitions, we can march in rallies. Yet, this may not feel like it is enough.
One more thing we can do is recognize and appreciate the healing power of meaningful conversation and how we add to the well-being of the world when we talk respectfully and directly with others.
Throughout 2023, I facilitated dozens of conversations. I saw and heard people who cared deeply about their team, their community, their non-profit organizations, their business – and by extension, the world.
To the participants I supported and to every person who contributed to a conversation, I thank you. To my facilitation colleagues, and to anyone who helps to lead a meeting, I applaud you for the work you do.
“Very great change starts from very small conversations, held among people who care.” Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist
Here is my holiday wish to you – the comfort and joy of being with and talking with a person who accepts you for who you are.
“Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person — having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.” Credit: Dinah Craik, English novelist and poet via @DavidGurteen
Finally, as we move into and dream about 2024, here is a call to action by Margaret Mead.
“For the human species to evolve, the conversation must deepen.”
Happy Holidays and best wishes for the deepening of conversations in the new year.