From the forthcoming book, How to Talk With Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace, about Anything … and Enjoy it. The Art of Mindful Conversation.

Conversation.

Some love it. Some fear it. This for sure, you won’t go far without it. Conversation feeds the soul. Or starves it. Maybe it’s the conversation in the car pool on the way to work. Or around the BBQ at the family picnic. Maybe it’s over dinner with a friend or meeting a stranger in line at the DMV.  Or a tired wife telling her husband about a day at the office. So common, conversation is like the nose on your face. Not worth much thought. But without that nose, where would you be?

Conversation can be the glue that holds us together. Or the chasm that splits us apart. Conversations are where friendship are made and deals are sealed, where careers begin and where love blossoms.  A conversation is an invitation to learn and explore, to share who you are, to connect with one’s self and with another, to heal the wounds of life and to enjoy the dance of being alive together. Conversation is more like play than work. It is not about what you know, but about who you are. More about being, less about doing. The best conversations are spontaneous, open-ended, growing out of a desire to connect with others, not to convince or win.  Common language not necessarily required. Some of the most delightful conversations I’ve ever had came about when my conversation partner and I, through grunts and points and flapping of arms, and letting go of fear or attempts to impress, created a common stage, where we performed our own impromptu play.  We met as travelers with nothing in common but our souls and a willingness to enjoy a moment together.

“Sure,” I hear you say, “But ‘Anyone.’  How to talk with anyone?”

 “Yes, anyone,” I say. You may not want to talk with anyone, and anyone may not want to talk with you, but if you both want, then it can happen.
A shadow of skepticism falls across your face. “And how can I talk about anything, topics I know noting about?“

“It’s not about knowing,” I say. “More about being. You need to be open and curious and engaging. That’s the essence”

Some walk away in disgust at this point. Some nod and say, “Oh, that should be simple.”

My turn to shake my head. “Simple but not easy,” I say.

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In a small town on the west coast of Scotland, five-year-old Peter Gibb trades his soul to the devil in a futile attempt to win the approval of classmates, teachers, and parents. Follow the story of Peter's humorous but desperate struggle to find a way out of the dungeons of doubt. An insightful tale of lost and found, King of Doubt grips you with tension as it warms you with heart. Anyone who has ever struggled with self doubt -- and who among us hasn't? -- will see themselves in these pages. This moving story, one man's journey from doubt to wonder, will fill you with hope and promise. The story rivets your attention to the final word, while the beauty of the language still sings long after the reading.

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