We just returned from visiting the grandkids in the Midwest for a crisp Halloween adventure full of ghosts, goblins, soccer and autumn foliage. My new book has launched and I am enjoying hearing responses from a variety of people from different stages of life. Here is some feedback I have gotten recently from readers of my practical communication skills workbook.
“ I am enjoying your book. It is easy to follow and helpful with stress and listening.”
(From a busy teacher and parent)
“ I found the chapter on whole messages very useful to motivate my employees and I will recommend your book to other managers at a conference in Silicon Valley next week.”
(From a CEO of a business)
“ I am reading your book, which is great, and look forward to trying some of the exercises with members in the therapy group that I run.”
(From a Bioenergetic psychotherapist)
The purpose of writing the book was to reduce suffering caused by poor communication skills. People are sincere in wanting to understand others and be heard themselves, but do not always have the tools. It is gratifying to me that the book is easy to follow; the examples useful; and that people from different walks of life are finding value in its pages.
I hope this book helps people. But I am no fool. I know that in an era of polar opposites (as in the current political divide in the USA) talking does not always melt hatred, fear, and generations of prejudice. When we feel threatened we get angry or fearful and it is very challenging to communicate effectively from that state. I teared up at the story of the white nationalist Nazi and the black athlete, who worked through their differences and embraced in friendship. And that only happened after they both sat down, spewed out their prejudices, felt heard, took turns listening, and saw the vulnerability in each other that lay beneath the divisive rhetoric. An ideology of hatred and fear was reduced. Ice melts, hearts open, hope is renewed - at least on a small scale.
But on the Big Scale? On the Big Scale the Ice is Melting for sure. But that is due to global warming, a fact ignored by the White House, who is drooling to gouge the earth of all her riches, without her consent of course. So all she can do is shrink and once in awhile cry out in hurricanes and floods. But her voice, her heart, and her soul longing for survival are being drowned by those who will not listen. Whether on the small scale of one-on-one talks at home or work, or on the big scale of decisions of global concern, like the fate of the planet, communication has value.
As they say in the science fiction spoof, Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never surrender.” “Should we give up?” “Give up and we die, Tommy!” answers the captain. So I guess we keep going until we die. In the meantime, we do our best to breathe, calm down, get centered and choose times to speak up: like parents protesting when kids hear adults being racist; like two people sitting down to wade through their prejudices in an attempt to bridge the divide; or when it is time to vote.