So much of what we say uses other people’s words. Words we have heard. Things we think we ‘should’ think. We’re buried so deep because no one has taken the time to listen. To draw out our own voice. The one that doesn’t sound like anyone else’s.

And this sits on us like a weight. Our own voice deep inside as we repeat things we think we should say.

That’s why talking down or at doesn’t work when the goal is emotional health. Or any kind of authentic conversation.

It pains me more and more how much “talking at” exists right now. Advertising is an obvious culprit. As is politics and the media. And social media. But we’ve taken it on, too. As healers. As friends. As lovers. As parents.

A conversation involves (at least) two nervous systems.

What that conversation feels like depends on the experience of both participants.

One of the richest discoveries in therapy for me has been the joy of conversation. Of talking with someone (a therapist and now so many people!) and putting into words my thoughts based on limited information and understanding but truly mine in this moment and hearing my conversation partner’s response - how they put my words together and make sense of them based on what is happening for them right now.

When someone responds to your self from theirs it takes both of you somewhere new.

This is much more difficult than talking. This is talking and then receiving a response. It is perhaps interrupting a train of thought or an exciting story to check in with the listener and see what is happening for them.

It’s alive.

And it’s this aliveness that gets buried in the sound bites.

But it’s here. It is a fair assessment to say it’s not coming out in the best of ways these days.

But the burying is not all that’s happening.

There is also this - happening and always alive in possibility: We can listen. To ourselves and each other and all the beings with whom we share this planet.

And we can tell them who we really are.

And this will be great.