Conversation is its Own Brass Ring

Conversation is its Own Brass Ring

I haven’t been patronized in a good long while. Maybe I don’t get out enough. Or maybe my vibe is such that no one dares. But it happened a while back and it brought me up short. I was concluding a phone conversation with a successful East Coast business owner. He generously shared resources and his perspective on ways to market Picture a Conversation™. I told him 

“Well, I hope you make a million dollars,” he said.

“A million dollars would be nice,” I replied, “but what I really want is to change some lives.”

After a moment of silence he chuckled and replied, “Change some lives? How…how sweet.” Were this not a phone conversation, I imagine he might have reached out to pat my head.

Admittedly, I’m reading snark into a comment where none was intended, but his words rankled just the same.  Sure I’d like that brass ring to fulfill my want list of million-dollar fantasies, and yes, I continue to work, host conversation workshops, brainstorm and network. Every week I read more articles and book reviews whose message attests to what is happening to society as face-to-face conversations continue to dwindle. What I’ve created, what I’m doing, matters. No brag, just fact. And chutzpadik hope, too.

The truth is I’m doing this because I felt compelled to create something of value and once created, it merited exposure. We all need to text less and talk more. I trust in the power of Picture a Conversation.  Period. People tell me of the wonderful experiences they’ve had using these conversation prompts. A counselor recently wrote that he uses them with a group of couples he meets with regularly. In his latest note he shared that the group spent their entire evening — two and a half hours! — discussing the three questions on just one card! That’s a brass ring right there.

ABWA members got into the conversation one-two-three.

Another brass ring is watching  people beginning a conversation during one of my workshops.  There is this moment of uncertainty and then the room explodes with the sounds and gestures of conversation — laughter, lulls, more talking, head-nods of agreement, hands waving in expression and emphasis. Every workshop validates how deeply people enjoy talking with one another and how deeply they need it.  

A partner and I have just begun to offer Convo-Motion workshops that weave together conversations and creative movement. The first one was a revelation to us all. More are planned.

It’s hard putting myself out there, laying myself bare to throwaway comments that mean little but sting much. Yes, a million dollars would be great. But I haven’t reached sixty plus without recognizing that I’m already blessed with life’s true riches — health, the love of my husband and children, a delightful daughter-in-law and our first grandchild, a wide and deep circle of friends, roof, clothes, heat, food. (All of you Jews out there, are you now doing the old country ppp ppp ppp thing to chase away the Evil Eye? Me, too.) If the dollars come, great. Better, much better, will be thousands of people continuing to use our cards to spark meaningful conversations of their own and drawing closer with one another in the process. Every time that happens, it is very sweet indeed. 

So here are some questions to start conversations with friends, loved ones, co-workers:
• What’s your own brass ring?                                                                                                                               • What about this obsession that money, big money, is synonymous with success?                                  • How do you handle do you do with patronizers?

And here’s your call to action. Purchase a set of Picture a Conversation.  With Christmas and Chanukah coming up, you’ll be giving what no one else will — real face time, offline. Intrigued by the idea of our Convo-Motion workshop? Email me — debra a pictureaconversation dot com — and schedule one. Thank you.

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