One of the key principles of Generative Dialogue is that of natural rhythm. This can be quite challenging to achieve as many of us are accustomed to using checklists and agendas in our meetings. With these checklists and agendas comes structure and within that structure, we tend to get attached to specific outcomes. If you are looking for Synchronicity or have interest in attaining Flow, you will need to let go of any connection you may have to any specific result. It is as simple and as difficult as that!
Synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection — an awareness of the rhythm of seemingly coincidental events occurring in perfect timing – meaningful moments beyond our own planning when positive things happen in an unforeseen way. Synchronicity happens when we are in a greater state of Flow.
When they occur, it feels as if these synchronicities come together outside of our own personal efforts – being at the right place at the right time with the right rhythm. When you try to make Synchronicity happen — it simply doesn’t. Synchronicity has its own natural rhythm.
This is also true of Generative Dialogue.
Dialogue — like Synchronicity and Flow — has a natural rhythm – an effortless unfolding and enfolding that leads participants to new understanding. Prepared agendas, attachments to outcomes and expectations of solutions are the very things that obstruct Flow. It is only when you are completely present, suspend your assumptions, and listen in a way to fully understand another that Flow can be achieved. The key is to practice recognizing – to be aware of and trust those moments when the Dialogue group is in Flow – those moments when things align flawlessly and effortlessly – when the group feels as if it is of one mind. It is in this natural rhythm of the unfolding that new realities are created and we can receive the magic of Synchronicity.
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Finding Meaning in Natural Rhythm
Like Dialogue, life has a natural rhythm – an effortless unfolding and enfolding that leads us to new understanding through meaning.
When I was a little girl, I spent most of my summer months “down the Shore” in Ocean City, New Jersey. Every single year, it was the same thing: after breakfast, we would go to the beach until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Then we would return to the house we were renting for the week; take a frigid outdoor shower; nap; have dinner; and go to the boardwalk at night.
The smell of the Jersey salt air mixed with aromas from Bob’s burgers, Johnson’s hot caramel corn and Mac & Manco’s pizza – the best pizza in the world in my humble opinion — have stayed with me to this day. As have the sights and sounds. There’s nothing like being on the boardwalk at night. The clickety-click of the roller coaster slowly making its way to the top of the track only to rumble down the other side along with the bells, whistles, rings and dings of all the other amusements and arcades, coupled with the screams and laughter of children while in the background, waves roar and seagulls screech overhead.
Most years, we went down the shore with my grandparents who lived in Baltimore. I have fond memories of walking hand-in-hand with my grandfather, as we zigzagged between blankets and umbrellas to the shore line. At the water’s edge, my dad would then take the hand of a slightly hesitant child, guiding me into the water just high enough so that the waves could splash up over my thighs without sweeping me away. Later, as I got older, I would try to jump over the waves as my father tightly held my hand. And a few years after that, I was strong enough to be in the water without the need for my dad to hold me up.
Decades later, I brought my own children to Ocean City. The sights, sounds and smells were the same as was the rhythm of the day. The difference was that my father was now holding the hands of his granddaughters as they excitedly squealed and howled with each oncoming wave. Beach by day; and then the boardwalk at night — my own children riding some of the same amusements I rode as a child.
Just last month, I had the privilege to take my parents on a 16-day trip. This was an exciting moment for me, as my father has been very ill for quite some time. To present an opportunity for Mom and Dad to get out and see the world a little bit came with both a sense of adventure and some trepidation, as we were driving by car on a journey of more than 3,000 miles.
From my home in Hilton Head, South Carolina, our first stop was in Danvers, Massachusetts where my youngest daughter graduated from High School. Then it was off to Cleveland for an event hosted by the Conscious Capitalism Chapter for Northeastern Ohio.
From Cleveland, we traveled to Baltimore for a long overdue visit with family. And from Baltimore, we drove to – you guessed it — Ocean City, New Jersey to celebrate my parents’ birthdays before heading back home.
Prior to June 15, I hadn’t been to the shore in ten years. Yet as soon as we crossed the bridge, it was as if I had never left. We arrived in the afternoon and as I got out of the car to check into the hotel where we were staying, it hit me all at once. The smell of that Jersey salt air; the roar of the waves; the sounds coming from the boardwalk where I knew I would be later that night – all of it – brought me right back to being that excited little girl from years past.
And the next morning…as my dad and I zigzagged between blankets and umbrellas on our way down to the water on his 76th birthday, this time it was he who was hesitant to stand in the waves. So I took his hand and held on tight as we inched our way into the ocean.
And there we stood looking at the horizon – for what seemed an eternity — thigh high – waves splashing.
Only this time…it was I who was holding on to my father so that he would not be swept away…
And in that eternal moment – with the ebb and flow of the tide – came a glimpse of a deeper understanding.
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Natural Rhythm … and more
Your blog is beautiful, and although I cannot comment on Dialog, having not truly experienced it, I can comment on Natural Rhythm and other lessons you learned during those summers “down the shore”. I’ll also tell you a couple of things you didn’t know about, until now.
One of the things you were not aware of, was at night, the evening before we were leaving, I would go to the boardwalk, alone. It was after everyone had gone to sleep, so it was my time to take in all the marvelous things we had experienced that week.
But it wasn’t until many years later that I realized the foundations of many lessons you all had learned.
As little girls, you and your sister held my hand as you moved into the water, with the waves splashing gently against you. Somehow, you knew that you could trust that hand you were holding; that nothing would happen to you, and that hand would be there when you needed it.
Then as you got older, you wanted to ride the waves on the raft. At first, that hand was there to pull or push you as the waves came in. And your confidence in yourself grew, you knew you could do it “all by yourself”, but that hand was still nearby.
You later became independent, knowing there was no longer anything to fear. And this was not only in the water, but on the rides, going from the ride on the carousel as I stood beside you, to the kiddie rides, where there was always someone you could see.
You moved on to the more exciting rides. Your independence was evolving. Walks on the boardwalk with only your sister, no parents or “old folks” needed to “look after you”. And all the while, taking in the sights, the sounds, and the wonderful aromas as the natural rhythm of the waves breaking on the shore played in the background.
I didn’t know that I was helping you grow in all those ways, but it now shows. My only purpose was to take you to a place that I had enjoyed so much when I was a child. I wanted you to experience similar moments and adventures as I did, in a place where nothing else mattered than the enjoyment of life; away from the hustle, the trials, and the problems that may lay ahead.
It didn’t matter if mustard from your Taylor’s Pork Roll was too much, or if you spilled your birch beer. The Kohr’s frozen custard that melted and dripped on your shirt was of no consequence.
And decades later, I had the privilege of doing all this again, but this time with my grandchildren.
I remember how I took a walk in the ocean with my first granddaughter, who was apprehensive about going into the water. But by the end of the stroll, she was enjoying the exciting adventure called “jump over the waves” while holding Pop-pop and Grandma’s hand.
I think about that merry go ride I took with them, where I was the one to grab the brass ring as we rode by.
I saw them drive the bumper cars, and hoped that it would not be considered by them as part of a “drivers education” course.
And Pop-pop was the only one who could make the “Tilt-A-Whirl” go faster and longer than anyone else.
I am grateful to the Universe that history does, in some way, repeat itself.
So thank you once again for that wonderful birthday present. It looks like we have both learned many of life’s lessons while “down the shore”
And when you held my hand, as we stood in the ocean together for that eternal moment, you were holding onto the man who had just turned 76. However, I was just a man of 29, with 47 years of experience, holding on to my little girl’s hand.
The next time I take that walk to the boardwalk at night, you can come with me and hold my hand as we listen to the waves gently roll in, kissing the beach; and perhaps the moon will shine it’s silvery beam across the ocean as we share the wonderful journey we have taken here.
And now for the other thing I never told you about; when I snagged the brass ring, which would have given me an additional ride, I never turned it in. I still have it to this day.
I keep that brass ring to remind me that I still have at least one more ride on this merry-go-round. And I’m hanging on to it!