What do we communicate when we communicate?

I’m smack dab in the middle of a weekend-long course on communication offered by Landmark Forum. (And yes, I have done several Landmark courses over three years, and yes, their sales pitch is a little overbearing, but no, they’re definitely not pitching any cult stuff. And so far everything I’ve gotten, which is quite a lot, has been a combination of cognitive behavioral psychology and zen Buddhism, and everything can be found in the bible. In fact, it’s surprising how often they make some profound statement and I find myself thinking, “Jesus said that!”)

 

The thing I’m struck by is how our communication not only impacts our relationships with others–it also impacts others’ relationships with each other. This sounds abstract, but I think of a conversation where my father encourages me to work harder for a good cause, I say that some accuse me of being a workaholic, and he says, yes, you should take care of yourself and not work so hard. When I point out the logical inconsistency of this, he laughs. Then I realize we’ve had variations on this conversation since I was 20. And then I realize I have this conversation with my boss, with my co-pastor, with my nonprofit colleagues, sometimes supplying my father’s side of the dialogue and sometimes my own. And then I’m surprised when that conversation and culture show up around me? We speak realities into being. We are more powerful than we realize.

 

I’m keeping this short, because I have to get back to class and I’m typing this from my phone, but I want to ask two questions: what has your conversation (in repeated patterns) created that you’d like to change? And what would you like your conversations to create?

 

For me, I’m done creating the culture of “do more! Stop working so hard!” I want to create a culture where we work joyfully, not heroically, and we rest restoratively, not self-indulgently.

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