Monday, July 26, 2010

One hand on the doorknob

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Dorothy Nevill
It was a weekend of lifting spirits, widening smiles and wide open hearts. Every Sunday of Choices, I work in the Purpose Room - it is the last process of Givers 2 -- the second weekend trainees return to complete the 'student' part of Choices. To complete the circle of experience, says Thelma Box, founder and facilitator of Choices, you need to come back and coach.

On the Sunday, trainees are guided through an experiential learning process of discerning their life purpose. It is always exciting to watch faces glow, to hear the catch in someone's voice as they 'get it' or the tears that flow as they embrace the truth of what they 'do' -- every day, and have always done -- in the world that is uniquely of them, their voice, their essence, their purpose.

Before the process begins, there is always a spiritual meeting -- another opportunity to stretch. For some, going to church is part of their Sunday routine. For others, church and religion and spirituality has overtones of the past -- of places they'd rather not visit. The spiritual session is an opportunity to simply stretch in a new direction, to flex muscles not often used, to change glasses and look at life and living through divine eyes.

Yesterday's speaker was Bill Spangler. Bill is one of those people whom, when they speak everybody listens. His words are deep and round and full and juicy. He has a way of touching hearts and opening minds with grace and ease. He creates safety in conversations. Places where each person feels heard and seen and visible and real. Bill is a Choices employee. He used to be a pastor and gave up that role, went through Choices and eventually became Choice's representative in Western Canada. I'm so glad he did.

Bill's talk yesterday was on 'conversations with one hand on the doorknob'. You know, that place where as you're about to leave you turn back to say one more thing, to speak one more truth, to try to connect one more time with the person you're leaving.

Those conversations are often deep, said Bill. Perhaps it is that in the act of leaving we do not want to disconnect from the person being left. Or, perhaps we just want to connect one more time with authenticity before heading off into the not so deeply connected world beyond the open door, he suggested.

I think there's another reason why, 'one hand on the doorknob' can be so profound.

I think the open door is an invitation to cross the threshold into territory never before explored. As we look beyond the place we're at to the possibilities of where we're going, we become fearless. In that moment of stepping across the threshold into the unknown, we connect with our courage, bravery, authenticity to test what it means to 'go deep', to delve into that place of 'knowing' deep within us.

We all carry it, that place of knowing. We all have access to it and sometimes, in this crazy, busy, noisy, chaotic world, our hearing is blocked and we don't take the time to access it.

But, at the door, one hand on the doorknob, we sense the call of the wild rising in our hearts. We feel the lure of the unknown awakening our deepest longings, and we let loose.

I've had a lot of conversations started at that place of one hand on the doorknob. And often, the reason for their beginning is to give me something to come home to. Something to carry with me, some thought or idea or feeling that will keep me open to discovering what is out there, knowing that what is back here, back on the other side of the doorway, is my place of refuge, my serenity corner, my sanctuary.

And then, sometimes, those words spoken with one hand on the doorknob are the one's I've feared speaking while in the room -- perhaps because I feared the other's response and didn't want to hang around to hear it :), or perhaps, because openness is easier when I see the way out isn't blocked by someone else's words.

It is an interesting thought -- conversations at the door. One hand on the doorknob. Where are you feet? Both on one side of the doorway? One in. One out? Both out? Are you standing on this side speaking? Are you leaning back in?

Where are you in those conversations that mean most to you?



Maureen said...

The door is a wonderful metaphor.

It's so interesting to think about what it means to be either the person at the door looking in or the person looking out.

Joyce Wycoff said...

What an interesting metaphor ... the last thing we say before leaving ... possibly the last thing that might ever be said (since life is uncertain) ... what a powerful threshhold between being here and being there ... being with someone and not being with them.


Dave said...

Thank you for these thoughts Louise. I am reminded of a quote from George Bernard Shaw: "The single problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place." I have a tendency to talk for hours but only communicate when I am leaving. How many opportunities are missed? How many experiences are thwarted?

Your reflections inspire me to step away from the door and enter more deeply into the room. I challenge myself to share my being more fully without the option of quick flight. While it may be uncomfortable and it may make others uncomfortable, my presence and authenticity will further expand my world, create opportunities, and possibly inspire authenticity in others.

As always I thank you. Your blog entries not only challenge me to think, they inspire me to grow.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Thank you my friends. Your thoughts awaken mine too!

S. Etole said...

That quote caught a nod from me, too ... some interesting thoughts to ponder.

katdish said...

Ah, to have the courage to say the things we save for those doorknob moments.

Great thoughts as always, Louise.