The simple act of communication appears to be a hot topic these days. In many articles that I read, it seems the one consistent talking point in having a conversation with someone is that the person initiating the dialogue wants something. The skeptics argue that very often it’s something the person cannot get on their own so that they would like the other’s help. I take this attitude to be part of the overlying fog of negativity that seems to be everywhere these days.
It’s also reported that more than we care to admit it, we engage because of a conscious or unconscious need to feel a part of a community. I’m more in line with this presentation.
Having moved away from a community where we lived for twenty-five years, my wife and I purchased our first house in a working-class neighborhood in East Los Angeles. Our new neighborhood is made up of many different ethnicities including Chinese, Koreans, African Americans, Nigerians, Salvadorans, Mexicans etc.. Suddenly we became very aware that the French or Spanish classes that we slept through in High School were not going to help us in our new neighborhood.
I was encouraged by the smiles that were returned by many of my new neighbors, and sometimes a raised hand in greeting. Some of them were incredulous in asking us why we purchased a house here? This was never done in a mean spirited way, but with a curiosity that I’ve only encountered in my travels in parts of the world where English is not the first language.
Through the years that I have lived here, I’ve noticed that I need to communicate on a daily basis for my own mental health. I have learned to do many things in isolation, which has its pros and cons. My A.D.D tells me that I get more done by myself. My extroverted self dies a little every day if I don’t reach out and start a conversation with someone.
Perhaps it’s the extrovert that’s made me periodically share the yoga that I’ve been doing for over thirty years. Taking Tango lessons, joining writing groups etc. also mark periods of my life where I’ve been the happiest. Summary: No man is an island.
John Shinavier, MA, Life Coach, 600 hr Yoga Instructor