Communication is a sprawling beast of a topic — one that deeply affects every aspect of our lives, and of our businesses.
Communication is at the heart of so much of what we do. And since many of us work online or over the phone with clients and customers, clarity in communication becomes essential.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines communication as the transmission and exchange of information.
To this I’ll add: Communication is an energy, a quality of soul. Like all energy, its effects that can be healing and transformative, or disruptive and fragmenting. Communication can expand your world and your sense of possibility, bring you into deeper relationship, wholeness and belonging, or it can divide and isolate.
This is why communication can sometimes seem so loaded.
We communicate information about who we are and what our lives are about, in a multitude of ways, many of them non-verbal. Your presence — which includes the entire sum of your thoughts, feelings and actions-transmits information constantly. So you are always communicating, whether you realize it or not.
You can feel this. When you’re with someone who knows you well, and who loves, respects and cherishes you, you feel seen and heard. You feel lovable, brilliant, and safe. This is the transformative power of communication.
This is communication that flows directly from the qualities of your being. And it results in an exchange of qualities — your friend’s presence, her love and goodwill towards you, awakens resonant qualities within you. Your own presence does the same for her.
Communication-as-transmission doesn’t just arc across the lives of human beings. The same exchange of energy and information can happen in any relationship — your relationships with Nature, music, art, poetry, food…each of these has the capacity to transmit qualities and feeling-states. Each of these can create changes in your energy field.
At the root of all communication is the quality of your communication with yourself.
When your communication with yourself is clear, fluid and healthy, your communication with others will be clear and healthy too.
Your body communicates with you through sensations and feelings, which are also forms of energy. When you listen to your body — when you tune into your feelings and invite them to move and flow without clinging to them, pushing them away or numbing them out of your consciousness — then your love and attention create a bridge of communication.
All energy wants to move, and once it moves, it changes. So your feelings change as you give them permission to be, and to flow. This is healthy communication, and it’s the key to staying in healthy relationship with your body.
Communication with your soul is communication with that essence that is you, beyond the outer circumstances of your life. It’s the voice of your innermost self, which holds the evolving energetic blueprint for the unfolding of your life.
Communication with your soul gives you access to information in the form of clear guidance, and to the transmission of your soul’s infinite capacities and qualities.
Direct knowing, love, compassion, inspiration, safety, creativity — these are all qualities of your soul.
The ability to move freely across time and space, to travel through multi-dimensional energy fields — these are all capacities of your soul. Clear communication allows you to access them, and in doing so, vastly expands your experience of yourself and the worlds around you.
And then there’s communication with the Sacred, and with aspects of the Sacred that remain in non-physical realms. These include communication with the Soul of the Earth, which is a powerful, complex, infinitely creative and loving being who is the partner and ally of all forms of life on this earth, including yours.
Communication with these beings can greatly enhance your life, your ability to make things happen in the physical world, your ability to help create the world in which you want to live.
We’ll explore each of these aspects of communication in later posts. For today, I’d like to talk about just one for-instance.
Perhaps you find yourself not taking the time to communicate clearly and lovingly with the people who are closest to you — your spouse or partner, your family, your children.
With them, you are less patient, more demanding than you are with your customers or clients.
You love them, and yet your relationship with them suffers because of a lack of communication, or communication that’s prickly, hurried and fraught with misunderstanding.
So what’s going on here?
Your relationship with yourself is the basis for your relationship with everyone else in your life. Whatever the quality of your communication with yourself, it will be reflected in your communication with the people you are closest to.
Do you numb out or disconnect from your body and your feelings? Maybe you do this by zoning out in front of the tv, or by eating to avoid your feelings. Or you get disconnected and isolated from your soul, and start to feel small, alone, and powerless. When this happens, your energy contracts, or else becomes very diffuse. It’s hard for you to be present in your body.
When you’re disconnected from yourself in this way, your communication with the people you’re closest to will become disconnected and fragmented too.
So how do you change this pattern?
Ultimately, you can only create healthy communication through a regular, daily practice of staying in touch with yourself. There are many ways to do this — develop a vocabulary, a repertoire of ways to stay connected with your self, and then create a rhythm that works for you.
Mindful forms of movement like yoga, tai chi, qi gong or dance work well. So does more vigorous physical activity like running, hiking, or climbing. Meditation and self-reflection put you in touch with your sensations, your heart, and your mind. Creative activities like art, music, journaling or writing connect you with your own creative spirit.
You can also spend time each day talking with your body and your inner selves, feeling your feelings, and clearing your energy field. You can commune with your soul, and with the essence of the natural world.
These daily practices will give you a solid foundation from which to communicate with the people you love. When your buttons get pushed, and you find yourself reacting to your partner or your kids with impatience or disrespect, check within to see which unconscious patterns are being stirred up.
Relationships are crucibles of learning and growth. They will evoke childhood patterns of communication-the ones you saw your parents use with each other, the ones you yourself developed, at a time when you felt young and powerless.
Once you develop a practice of conscious communication with yourself, you’ll become aware of these patterns and begin untangling them. You can do the inner work of taking back those aspects of your self that you’ve unconsciously projected onto your partner, and own them as yours. You can meet your own needs and feelings in a kind, conscious, loving way.
You will also realize, from this daily practice, that you are constantly changing. You are not the same person today as you were yesterday. And neither is your partner, your dear friend, or your child. So you’ll be less likely to hang onto a fixed view of them. You’ll meet them each day as they are, not as they were. You’ll respond to the person in front of you, from your own growing, changing, evolving self.
This brings both freedom and love into the conversation between you.
How about you? What challenges do you experience in your communication with others? With yourself?
Let’s talk about why it can sometimes be so hard to communicate clearly. And what we can do to embody the healing, transformative powers of communication.