A Conversation

A Conversation by Janis Dehler

Recently I happened to encounter a woman who had been a dear friend from forty years ago. We had parted as we began to find different paths and without meaning to, we hurt each other. A spark of joy was felt and seen in the other as we briefly met at a crowded event with an exchange of email opening the door for the two of us to later sit together and talk.

We remembered when we were young, new babies, marriages that began to feel the first frays of time, longings in our hearts that we could not yet understand, a sense of self that was still developing. We shared stories about our children, grandchildren, my spouse, the marriage she left, the adventures of a lifetime, as many and few we could name in this first visit. Then sharing what we each remembered of the hurt we felt. Both of us feeling and exclaiming, “I am so sorry, I did not know!”

Two women at peace and content with the paths chosen. Two women who, as we looked at the other, remembered a time that was rich, challenging, filled with hope and longing, fresh, alive, looking toward the future. Two women, who could also talk now of end-of-life thoughts. What will be let go of now, what has meaning now, and for the generations after.

The trees formed a canopy
a safe place to reveal
what was shrouded in 
the shelter of the heart.

With the new shoots of spring
the Goldfinch, Cardinals, and
Chickadees asking for our attention,
we two old friends opened.

Sitting within her cadence
my heart opened to her song,
and she to mine. A trek through 
mountains and valleys that challenged. 

Births of joy
Losses grieved

No bird, nor new spring flower
compared with the miracle
Of listening, without worry, 
no words to plan.

Attentive, quiet,
the chapel of nature offering
absolution while gently moving us 
along life’s way.

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.

David Whyte

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Courage and willingness to just go for it, whether it is a conversation or a spontaneous trip or trying new things that are scary – it is a really attractive quality.

Alanis Morissette

Ongoing Resource List – Reading for the Heart and the Mind

  • The Four Agreements: A Toltec Book of Wisdom by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Mindfulness and Grief by Heather Stang
  • How We Live Is How We Die by Pema Chödron
  • The Bhagavad Gita, Translated by Eknath Easwaran
  • St Francis of Assisi: Brother of Creation by Mirabai Starr
  • Wild Wisdom Edited by Neil Douglas-Klotz
  • Earth Prayers From Around The World, Ed by Elizabeth Roberts & Elias Amidon
  • The Tao of Relationships by Ray Grigg
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom by John O’Donohue
  • Unconditional Love and Forgiveness by Edith R. Stauffer, Ph.D.
  • Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Art & Fear by David Bayless & Ted Orland
  • Quantum-Touch by Richard Gordon
  • The Van Gogh Blues: The Creative Persons Path Through Depression by Eric Maisel, PhD
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris
  • Forever Ours: Real Stories of Immortality and Living by Janis Amatuzio
  • Personal Power Through Awareness by Sanaya Roman
  • Violence & Compassion by His Holiness the Dahlai Lama
  • Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Devotions by Mary Oliver
  • To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue
  • Meditations From the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison
  • The House of Belonging: poems by David Whyte
  • Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain and Illness, by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit
  • Soul an Archaeology Edited by Phil Cousineau
  • A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
  • Listening Point by Sigurd Olson
  • I Sit Listening to the Wind by Judith Duerk
  • Dancing Moons by Nancy Wood
  • The Soul of Rumi, Translations by Coleman Barks
  • Keep Going by Joseph M. Marshall III
  • Arriving at your own Door by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
  • The Hidden Secrets of Water by Paolo Consigli
  • Conquest of Mind by Eknath Easwaran
  • Color: A Natural History of the Palette by Victoria Finlay
  • Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t) by Brene Brown
  • Practicing Peace in Times of War by Pema Chodron
  • When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
  • On Death and Dying by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Unattended Sorrow by Stephen Levine
  • Joy in Loving, Mother Theresa
  • The Joy of Living by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
  • Let Your LIfe Speak by Parker Palmer
  • Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • The Essence of the Upanishads by Eknath Easwaran
  • Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chodron
  • Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
  • Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through The Ways Of Animals by Jamie Sams and David Carson
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