I sat at the lunch table and listened to two conversations. There was one that was taking place between myself and my manager in real time. And the other conversation taking place in my head with me and my reactionary self in slow motion.
In that moment, we were in the depths of a real conversation. The one that makes you dig deeper, feel uncomfortable, almost squeamish and want to run. And that is exactly the other conversation I had created in my head: my eventual escape. I had it all planned out, we would finish lunch, look at the time and suggest yoga. I would say that I need to think about our discussion and I was going to go for a long walk home. Alone.
Mind you, this escape plan was literally being contemplated in my head while we were in the middle of a spoken conversation, face to face. No phone to hide behind, no Facebook to delve into or an available mute button. I caught myself often, I would snap out of the escape mode and dive back into the muddiness that is real conversations. I would choose to listen, listen, listen and take it in. Talk it out. Let's get to the root of this. Eye contact, go.
However, around the time when it was my turnto speak, Then I would meander back to escape plans. Delivering Short one liners, quick and to the point. I am making big plans over here, don't you know?
And they always know. We, as human beings, always know. There is an escape energy that is so palpable.
So there I was, I could feel the heat on my face. There was some weird bulb planted in my throat and I could not speak clearly. I wanted to cry. But, I so did NOT want to cry. I wanted to quit the conversation. And, I wanted to run fast and far. Honestly, so dramatic, Jacki, really?
I bow to the real conversations, when I am delivering them. The really good, get there, make it through and move the dial forward conversations, they are worth sitting through. On the receiving end, this moment, this interaction is how I grow.
Too often we are too busy making other plans in our own head, carving escape routes and writing another story. Too self involved, or in my case I can say ego bruised, to actually listen and hear what is going on in the present moment. It actually is amazing what we can make up in our head.
Been there before? Work relationship, love life, sibling drama...ever? Just deep in the mud of the real conversation and with absolute ability to rock a choice to be present and listen or cave and seek your escape route?
Don't cave. I said, don't cave, don't run.
Sit down. Quiet your mind. Listen to others, not the reactionary riffraff in your own mind. Give the real conversation a little more time, give them a little more time, so that you can get to the other side. Together.
Because on the other side of real conversations, the grass is so much greener, lush and fresh. Always.
Less mud. More green. Grow. Get there.
Photo credit: EmpowerNetwork