“What is REAL?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit
The answer the Skin Horse gave was:
“REAL isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you….you become REAL”
I think, when it comes to the kind of communication in which we meet ourselves, and another, & are met by another….that we become again the kind of REAL of which we are made.
The other day, after talking & listening with a friend, I commented that REAL conversation both fills & empties me. She asked me a beautiful question;
“What kind of fills & empties?”
Here’s my reply, which was, I believe, intriguing to each of us. That’s the magic of a great, well-timed question asked with genuine interest & wonder!
A REAL conversation is jam packed with the most profound aspects of the person who's speaking.
It's so rich that I may not fully be able to digest it in one go. It's usually nourishing, even if it might be hard for me to hear (for various reasons)
To express REAL things someone has to come from their heart, their soul, the deepest recesses of their psyche, so what’s shared always has weight, it’s never flimsy in any way, never something crafted only by the brain, but infused with meaning.
It’s like a good book, when you first see the cover your interest is piqued, yet once inside….you can read a page over & over & each time you do something new emerges, either quietly seeping into the pores of your skin or slamming you like a wave. It stays with you, to savour, to cradle lightly or to hold tight as an unexpected but fragile treasure.
Whatever they're saying has often travelled a long way before it gets translated into words. It's evolving even as it's spoken: transformative & alchemic. It's impossible to feel lonely when you're listening to something REAL & the listening is like holding your breath while something magical happens, so subtly it could be the whisper of a flower opening or so powerful it could be a volcano roaring.
So when I'm on the receiving end of a REAL conversation, I get fed & filled. Hearing & feeling what’s said & expressed enlivens my blood; I can literally feel life-giving nutrients bubbling through my body. I’m also emptied out in that I give myself over entirely to the listening to & being enveloped by the wonder of the other & the story unfolding, at the same time so alien & so familiar to me.
When I'm sharing something REAL, I give of myself…..all of me is in it; it’s like opening up a beautiful chest & allowing the dust of magic, mystery, awe, reverence & joy to pour out. So sharing like that, when it’s REAL, empties me in the sense that it cleanses, like going to a spa….leaving my skin & my soul fresh, energised, invigorated & rested even though I may be exhausted.
“The gulf that exists between us as people is that when we look at each other we might see faces, skin color, gender, race, or attitudes, but we don’t see, we can’t see, the stories.” Neil Gaiman.
I love to notice, & to wonder & to journal on the things I wonder about: as the poet David Whyte says ~to "overhear myself saying things I didn't know I knew"