“Whataya know, whataya say?” That was a slang greeting in the 1940s. I don’t know if people used it in real life; I’ve only heard it in movies from that period, usually coming out of the mouth of a gambler or a crook, some kind of Runyanesque “street guy.” But I’ve always liked it because it’s friendly and curious, straightforward and inviting. It’s much more than “hello” or “how are you?” both of which can get you a one-word reply that may not even be true.
As I contemplated the concept of Conscious Conversation, “whataya know, whataya say?” popped into my head, because conscious conversation – whether as a way of speaking in general or as a technique for discussing important issues and trying to solve problems – is essentially straight talk, plain talk, with other people. Not rude or insensitive or intrusive, just real.
Throughout my life and career, I’ve tried to engage in conscious conversation without calling it by that name. I thought of it as mediating, facilitating and mentoring. In recent years, I’ve started calling it connectedness: speaking and behaving with the intention of recognizing commonalities to resolve the conflicts caused by differences. I’ve done this within and between advocacy groups, businesses and governments on opposing sides of an issue. Connectedness encompasses mutual respect, kindness, empathy, and the idea that we are all connected in a fundamental way despite our differences. So, in a sense, conscious conversation is the language of connectedness.
This has heartfelt meaning for me because, along with my other activities, for 35 years I’ve been a senior advisor to Global Citizen’s Circle. It was founded in 1974 in the aftermath of a turbulent decade of assassinations, wars, racial tension, and government upheaval as a way of gathering concerned people of diverse backgrounds and opinions to address critical issues of our time. Its original mission remains: “to foster diversity, discussion, and constructive change in ourselves, our communities, our nation, and our world.” In essence, it is conscious conversation turned into action – and it continues (see https://globalcitizenscircle.org).Download Article 1K Club