Crucial Conversations

This article title mirrors the name of a compelling book - it fits for the wonderings moving through me having recently returned from a program with the poet David Whyte. Before attending the program I had already started a different article; but upon my return and having steeped in - well yes, the conversation, it became clear that this is the offering for December. My heart, mind and body are awake to conversation.

What are the crucial conversations of life? Is there a menu to peruse to whet our appetite? Every connection is a form of conversation and they come in many flavors and colors... information, directive, generous, opening, connecting, content driven, self-revealing. Make your own additions to the list from your life experiences.

Now, pause, really reflect. What conversations are you having? How intentional are your conversations? What is happening during the conversation? What results? Who is impacted? We are called to become masters when tuning in to the crucial conversations of life. Ask yourself, how would I rate my present day conversations on a scale of 1 to 10? (10 being transformative and 1 being non-existent.)

Before listening to David Whyte, I would have rated my conversations fairly high. I mean, I really dig connecting and understand the importance of communicating. But there is a radically real conversation quality that is calling us, reflecting capacities of pacifying, enriching, magnetizing, and destroying. Actions calling forth these capacities reflect warrior behavior and require practice. Yes, of course, practice.

In situations where the mind is unsettled and agitation moves, pacifying restores tranquility, fosters peace. These conversations may be held in silence.

Where the heart hurts, the chest and throat ache, enriching cares for the heart, encourages expression. These conversations may be a warm embrace.

Where doubt, ignorance, and fear pervade, magnetizing opens possibilities, illuminates shadows. These conversations may be keen insights offered from an open palm.

When these loving embraces fail to open the space in a situation that is closed and unseen, skillful warrior destroying cuts confusion, shreds doubt, and shines light on B.S.

Aspire to gain competency in all of these ways so that when you are in the crucial conversation you meet the situation with precision, love and wisdom. In the Financial Planning arena, you may think conversations are only related to money and investing. That belief is false.

Certainly conversations about money and investing are relevant to this process, but equally important are conversations about other capital, such as, human capital: how are you investing your "body energy" in work in the world? Or social capital: do your beliefs, behavior and actions align with the social fabric of current needs? Or, your legacy, what lasting imprint will reflect your participation in the world? Are you leaving this world a "better place"?

Speaking of leaving, none of us inhabit a body that will last forever. Clarifying your end of life wishes and planning your estate - your last Love Letter - is a crucial conversation. I mentioned wealth and investment planning; wealth includes relationships, health, aspirations, leisure, milestones, and money... what has been defined as that which makes life worth living. Additionally, practical conversations concerning risk management and protection, along with cash flow and resource allocation fill in the gaps and provide flexible structure from which to thrive.

Don't defer your crucial conversations.
Dig deep.
Speak your truth.
Feel the divine in completions.
Spread the love.

Expressing truth through conversation,
Be Moved...
Sometimes the most crucial conversations are with yourself. David Whyte writes, "the marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering. Nine years ago, I wrote a poem called "Sometimes" in which I talked about the "questions that can make or unmake a life ... questions that have no right to go away."

Here are David Whyte's Ten Questions that have no right to go away.

1. Do I know how to have real conversation?
2. What can I be wholehearted about?
3. Am I harvesting from this year's season of life?
4. Where is the temple of my adult aloneness?
5. Can I be quiet - even inside?
6. Am I too inflexible in my relationship to time?
7. How can I know what I am actually saying?
8. How can I drink from the deep well of things as they are?
9. Can I live a courageous life?
10. Can I be the blessed saint that my future happiness will always remember?