About Conversation Kindling

The purpose of this blog is to share stories, metaphors, quotes, songs, humor, etc. in hopes they'll be used to spark authentic and rewarding conversations about working and living fruitfully. There are at least three things you can gain by getting involved in these conversations. First, you'll discover new and important things about yourself through the process of thinking out loud. Second, you'll deepen your relationships with others who participate by swapping thoughts, feelings, and stories with them. Finally, you'll learn that robust dialogue centered on stories and experiences is the best way to build new knowledge and generate innovative answers to the questions that both life and work ask.

I write another blog called My Spare Brain. This is where I am "storing" ideas for use in future books, articles, blog posts, speeches, and workshops. There is little rhyme or reason for what I post there. I do this to encourage visitors to come as treasure hunters looking for new ways of seeing and thinking vs. researchers looking for new or better answers to questions they already know how to ask.

14 March 2014

Perhaps You Have Things to Unsay?

Benjamin Zander is the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, author of a wonderful book on living a full life titled The Art of Possibility, and one of the most inspiring speakers in the world today. In the photo above, he is shown in the process of delivering the final address at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He closed that presentation by relating a story he was told by a woman who had survived her stay in Auschwitz - the most notorious of the Nazi death camps:
"She said she was brought to Auschwitz when she was fifteen and her brother was eight. On the train that took them there, she saw that her brother had no shoes. She told her brother - 'Why are you so stupid. Can't you keep your things together - for goodness sake' - the way a sister would speak to a brother. Unfortunately, that was the last thing she said to him in her life. Her brother did not survive. Once she came out of Auschwitz, she made a vow and it was: 'I will never again say anything that can't stand as the last thing I will ever say.' "
In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, there is an encounter between Gandalf and Saruman in which Gandalf says:
"What have you to say that you did not say at our last meeting? Or, perhaps you have things to unsay?"
  • What is something you need to say to someone important in your life, but haven't? Will you do it? When?
  • What is something you need to "unsay" to someone in your life, but haven't? Will you do it? When?

"The bitterest tears shed over graves are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone." - Harriet Beecher Stowe

"If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?" - Stephen Levine
"You can't do a kindness too soon, for you never know when soon will be too late." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If there's any good thing I can do or any kindness that I can show to any person, let me do it now, let me not defer or neglect it, for I may not pass this way again." - Traditional Benediction:

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