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The Power of Still

So many conversations feel so rushed, comments crammed together like stuff piled into a closet. Rarely is there a moment’s pause to take in – I mean really take it in, as in savor it – what anyone has said. The rule is “speak fast or forever hold your peace.” I’ve experienced this in business meetings, dinner parties, and even walks on the beach.

Slow it Down

I’m trying to slow my conversation down. It’s not easy. Not what I’m used to, and not what most of my conversation partners are used to. Silence is pretty much a no-no in most situations. It’s as if we’re on the radio, and “dead time” is the most deadly sin. I think a little silence can be a delightful gift, and I’m experimenting with ways to incorporate it into my conversation.

The easiest way, of coure, is just to pause before speaking. Stop and breathe. One deep breath is all it takes, and I feel more centered, more able to speak in the way I want to. From the heart, respectfully and authentically. Mindful Conversation.

The Problem is …

That when I slow it down, enough to take that one breath, someone else jumps in. The moment passes, and I’m left holding my thought. It’s understandable. Silence is such a no-no. But I’m not ready to give up on this yet. I’m looking for other ways. Here’s one I’m experimenting with.

Give ’em the eye, but not the word

I make eye contact first. Make sure I have their attention. Then I cock my head a bit. It’s pretty much unconscious, but it seems to signal that I’m about to speak. It slows me down, and seems  to slow my intended recipient down a bit too. We take a tiny break together. Just enough for a breath. A second or two, but a second or two that seems to bring us both back into the moment, out of the head and into the body. Into a common awareness. Into connection.

Give it a try

We spend so much time trying to speed things up, figuring out when and how to mutli-task, how to do more, be more efficient, move faster, think faster. I’m surprised that someone hasn’t developed a way to breathe faster. There’s a time for fast. But there’s also a time for slow. A time for silence. A time for being.

Try what I suggest here, or maybe you have strategies that you’ve tried. If so, I’d love to hear of your experiences.

Savor the power of still. Even in the midst of a conversation. A mindful conversation.