This powerful piece came to my attention this morning. It’s Australia Day and psychiatrist Professor Patrick McGorry has been named 2010 Australian of the Year acknowledging his work in the field of mental health.
The poem byElspeth Murraycuts across all disciplines for all communicators. It speaks for itself.
Patti Digh‘spost Write to them goes to the assumption many of us make that someone we don’t know personally would not respond to acknowledgement of how their work has inspired, touched or made a difference in our lives.
It reminded me of a friend’s story. Years ago, she attended a function. As the event commenced, she was invited to join the official table. She started chatting with the man next to her. Before too long, they were laughing and sharing stories about their children. Among other things they talked about the joy that small boys get from all manner of embarrassing things.
As the meal concluded, the guest of honour was invited to give his speech. My friend’s jaw dropped as she realised that she’d been speaking to the guest of honour, the head of state of a newly emerging country.
After he returned to his seat, he said to my friend, “You didn’t know who I was, did you?” “No”. He smiled. “Would you have shared those stories with me if you had known?” “Probably not”, she responded honestly.
What is it that stops us connecting with people who’ve found some level of fame in their lives through their work? What are they missing from not having honest and regular conversations with others of us having the same human experiences?
We let so many things get in the way of us hearing each other – the need to be right, fear of change, our adversarial political systems. These words of Pema Chodron inspire a way of being together and discovering new things about others and ourselves.
“Instead of making others right or wrong, or bottling up right and wrong in ourselves, there’s a middle way, a very powerful middle way…. Could we have no agenda when we walk into a room with another person, not know what to say, not make that person wrong or right?Could we see, hear, feel other people as they really are?It is powerful to practise this way…true communication can only happen in that open space”
Lynn Walsh – workshop and meeting facilitator – Sydney