We were walking in the woods on the weekend. The path was deep in fallen leaves, which rustled with each footstep.
The talk turned to planning a winter vacation, but we couldn’t seem to agree on a destination offering the right combination of climate and things to do.
So, with the fear of approaching winter in mind, I said somewhat desperately over my shoulder, as we shuffled along in single file: “Maybe we could just go to a nice resort.” (I dislike resorts and couldn't believe I said that.)
“Sure, that would be great,” said my non-resort-loving partner.
And I said with some wonderment, “You would like to go to a resort?”
“I love New York and so do you,” he said.
I stopped, realizing ‘resort’ in my head had become ‘New York’ in his ears due to the natural static of rustling leaves and huffing breath on a hilly path, overlaid by the interference of expectations and preconceptions.
And we had a good laugh about it, imagining the misunderstandings that might have followed had things been cloudier between us.
The miracle of communication
As we walked, the talk moved on to a recent theme of mine: The absolute miracle of achieving clear communication.
So much gets in the way of clarity and understanding, even on the simplest of subjects.
Barriers include the varying expectations, states of mind, and biases of the people on either side of the conversation. Assumptions or preconceptions. History. And the interference of static, no matter what the source.
I wish I had a prescription to offer – in regard to the saying and hearing sides of the conversation – but don’t.
What I do have to offer is this: If you, like me, believe that clear communication is somewhat of a miracle, then we won’t take it for granted.
And you have to work at it, even if the subject is vacation.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.