THE BLOG
07/24/2010 05:36 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Igniting an Unspoken Conversation

Are you someone who who can freely and openly say what is true for you? With the best will in the world, do you ever find that your communications are misinterpreted? Do you sometimes have difficulty saying what you want to, in case you are misunderstood or rejected? What is it like to be holding on to something you have been meaning to say, but were never able to do so?

Last week in response to my article, "Can Your Ego Be Your Friend?" Marcus01 commented:

What drives us on a spiritual path? What put us there in the first place?

I am sure there are many answers to those questions. Here are two simple ones. What drives us on a spiritual path is love. What put us there in the first place is lacking it.

Think of love as giving you all the courage and strength you need to address any challenge you could possibly encounter. Think of love that connects you to others, that reassures and comforts you; that gives you energy and freedom to enjoy your life; that builds a family, community or nation.

When the euro was introduced to Europe overnight, our national currencies ceased to be valid. I felt a shift taking place. One day, the ATM served French francs; the next day, crisp new colourful euro notes. It felt like we had become one larger community with a shared currency, even with all of the different verbal languages spoken.

Love connects and love completes. But what about those times when you fail to connect? When what you wanted to say does not get said?

Have you ever felt lost for words in the presence of a loved one, recently bereaved? Have you ever wanted to help a friend, but just could not find the right thing to say to make a difference? Have you ever spoken your mind, and ended up hurting the one you love the most?

A few weeks ago, Jackie Hooper wrote to me having read my article, "Turning Loneliness Into Deeper Connection." Her website, The Things You Would Have Said, offers visitors the opportunity to express their unspoken thoughts. She wrote:

I have been collecting letters from people of all ages and all walks of life, asking them to write about something they have never before shared with someone. I have collected hundreds of letters from schools, jails, retirement homes and various national organizations such as American Ex-Prisoners of War. Whether the person has passed away, contact was lost, or the strength needed at the time was lacking, this is a chance to apologize, show appreciation and ignite that unspoken conversation.  I receive letters from all over the world from writers apologizing to kids they bullied in school, asking a friend why they committed suicide, or telling a loved one how much they were missed after a car accident. Many writers are empowered to share their story and hope it will reach someone going through a similar situation.

I post one letter each day on my website, so that others can learn about the project and become inspired to write. The feedback I receive from writers and readers is overwhelming in how much they discuss emotional healing and gaining a sense of peace. Everyone comments on how therapeutic the activity is and how close they feel to strangers after reading their letters. 

Communication has not always been easy for me. It was often easier for me to write than to speak. These days, whether it is speaking or writing, listening or reading, communicating is one of my great joys. There was a learning curve to get to this place. I am still learning. The most enriching communications for me are those from the heart, that are essentially loving.

You may know the saying: The truth sets you free. The truth said in loving rarely hurts or is misunderstood. The truth connects, builds bridges, fords streams (that might otherwise separate), dismantles barriers (that would divide).

Recently, I have been negotiating a claim for some work that was unsatisfactorily done. In my letters, I was unable to recognize where I had an emotional charge of blame and anger. A friend assisted me to see where I was being strident and resentful. The process was an amazing learning process. How, when I could simply and clearly present the facts, I received a reasonable response and another step forward. I am very grateful for her assistance. I could not have made such progress alone.

Clear communications are liberating. When a person speaks or writes to me from their heart, it never fails to touch and inspire me. One of the greatest gifts a married couple can give to each other is that of open self-expression, with acknowledgment and appreciation towards the other, and a willingness to listen without condition. Such communications can prove deeply healing.

In the new world, into which I sense we are evolving, I hope that we may become proficient communicators. I trust that we may come to see how we all have much more in common, than those issues that separate and divide us. If not the whole world, then I anticipate that there will be many more of us keen to develop our capacity to be at one with ourselves and each other, and relate in that way. With freedom of honest expression, we may enjoy healthier happier and wealthier lives.

Can you think of anyone, past or present, with whom you have an unspoken conversation? Have you ever found a communication to be healing, or liberating? What have you found to make difficult communications easier? I would love to hear from you.

Please feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me at anne@annenaylor.com

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