Conscious Conversations: Community Takeaways
At the end of each Conscious Conversation session at Interfusion 2020—participatory discussions that focused on connection and chemistry, loss and healing, and evolution—we asked our participants to share a reflection. Below is a snapshot to honor what was shared and learned with our wider community.
Silence can say a lot.
Reflecting on the gift of listening, one member of our community noted that “presence is the greatest gift and an honor to share.” Another stated:
“I learned that sometimes we just need to show up and listen in the most silent, supportive way possible.”
Linked to the role of generous listening is the importance of maintaining curiosity about our conversation partners. As one participant put it: “Learn more than you teach.”
We’ve all got something to forgive or let go of.
The theme of forgiveness dominated all three conversation spaces.
Regarding chemistry and connection, some noted the need to let go of our illusion of control and honor that “people are responsible for their feelings and behaviors.” Reflecting on loss, one person wrote: “Honor it happened and let go of the dream of what could have been—to be open to life as it is.” And in our conversation on evolution, letting go of what does not serve us—expectations, judgment, social stigmas—came up just as prominently as what we want to evolve toward.
For many of us, forgiveness starts with our relationship to ourselves:
“Forgive myself for not being able to be what she needed. Releasing perfectionism.”
“Forgive myself. Listen to myself. Be kind to myself. Love myself.”
Or, said another way:
“Stop being a dick to yourself and get out of your own head.”
We’re working on the delicate balance of vulnerability and boundaries.
Throughout all of our conversations, our community noted the importance of “embracing vulnerability,” exchanging judgment for compassion, and embodying “courageous, vulnerable presence.”
Being mindful about vulnerability also includes setting and expressing limits, or, as one person put it, “creating space for intentional, constructive communication and boundary setting.” After our conversation on relationships and connection, one participant reflected on rising confidence around setting boundaries:
“I can say ‘It’s just a dance’ if someone I’m not interested in wants more than dancing.”
In our evolutionary journeys, we honor where we are right now.
Much of our community’s reflections are oriented around the need to accept and honor not only where we aspire to be, but where we are in the present moment:
“Don’t get frustrated with where you are. Make space for your evolutionary journey.”
“Be ok with whatever I’m feeling.”
“Talk about it. Be open. Don’t feel ashamed. Feel every moment of it.”
“It is ok to not be okay, and to feel what you are feeling. You are loved.”
Sometimes we have to “bow down” before the mystery.
In a reflection on grief on the six-month anniversary of her partner’s death, writer Elizabeth Gilbert said: “This is the job of the living—to be willing to bow down before EVERYTHING that is bigger than you. And nearly everything in this world is bigger than you. Let your willingness be the only big thing about you.”
Her sentiment was echoed by several members of our community, who acknowledged that “life is bigger than us,” and shared goals such as “evolving toward a higher spiritual awareness.”
When we try to speak about the unspeakable, we have an opportunity to marvel at the shared mysteries of life—death, loss, birth, love—and accompany each other in them. Sometimes connection is not about solving the enigmas of life, but about witnessing one another as we collectively “bow down.”
As we adjust to a new context—with ample uncertainty and limited in-person connection—now is an apt time to reflect on how we can retain and reimagine our relationships. The below resources offer a few starting points for creating honest and meaningful conversations with others, both off and online:
Interfusion Festival’s Conscious Conversations Guide
The People’s Supper Guidance on Gathering Across Difference, and Story-sharing and Listening Guidebook for Virtual Gatherings
On Being’s Listening Generously and The Difference Between Healing and Fixing with Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
About the Author
Ms. Lindsay Jean Bigda is a social communicator who has spent the last 7+ years working in the nonprofit space, with a focus on documenting stories related to gender and environmental justice, indigenous rights, migration, and human rights. She is the Conscious Communications Director at Interfusion Festival.
Her movement background centers around dance and gymnastics, and she has participated in movement-based healing ceremonies with communities in the US and Latin America.
Lindsay holds an M.Ed. in Community Education Leadership, and is passionate about fostering connective spaces for learning and the authentic expression of both our strengths and our vulnerabilities. Most recently, she co-created alongside Jonelle Lesniak the Movement for Healing (MFH) Project—a community space based in Washington, DC dedicated to exploring the roles of movement and connection in life after loss.