Thursday, December 17, 2009

Authentic Moments

In one of my Writer's Notebooks, I have a place to record my most authentic life moments--those moments when I was doing something that made me feel most aligned with my authentic self. I entitled it, "Butterfly Specimens." It was a place to collect those rare, fleeting, but beautiful specimens.

I used to obsess over finding and cultivating those moments.

I had one of those authentic moments tonight. Matt and I went to a party (at 9pm on a school night). I reconnected with an acquaintance I met a long time ago and could immediately tell we should be better friends. And, luckily, her partner seemed completely awesome (and got along really well with Matt).

And then I joined two people I know but don't talk to very often, and we got into an amazing conversation about race, socio-economic class, hegemony, choice, passion, identity, and the role education plays in it all.

Normally in social situations like parties, I satiate myself with food. I snack on chips and artichoke spinach dip and cookies. Tonight, I satiated myself with conversation. I realized the primary difference was that the conversation was generative rather than regurgitive. We didn't just sit around waiting for a break in the conversation so we could outdo each other with witty stories about our own lives. Instead, we listened to each other's insights and used them to think new thoughts. Thoughts of revolution. Thoughts that make me feel really alive and inspired.

And I don't get enough of those conversations. Rather than feel sorry for myself or wallow in despondency, I'm going to work hard to cultivate those conversations and those authentic moments. I'm going to:

  1. Invite Bonnie and Mark over for dinner in January, so we can get to know them better
  2. Call Phil to go on a picnic or walk or something that will open up lots of space and time for good conversation
  3. Be spontaneous and go to other things that come up (even if they start late in the evening on a school night)
I also need to:
  • Spend some time reading through all my Writer's Notebooks and looking for patterns
  • Get a new Writer's Notebook for the new year

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1 comment:

Leigh said...

Thank you so much for this post! It's really come at a good time for me as I've been feeling a little stuck and almost helpless in my shyness and it's so encouraging to read this. I've come to this blog via your wedding blog, which was very helpful and inspirational to me as I was planning my own wedding. Now that I'm married, I find that you continue to inspire me in many areas, but most notably to be a better person. Thank you again!

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