Here’s where I am today. Researching and learning more about listening, active listening in particular.

When was the last time you really truly listened to someone else? Without thinking about what you were going to say, next? Without being defensive (defensive listening is a thing)? With really simply just being there, ready to connect, and let someone talk, until they’re finished talking?


According to VeryWellMind, ‘Active listening is a communication skill that involves going beyond simply hearing the words that another person speaks. It’s about actively processing and seeking to understand the meaning and intent behind them. It requires being a mindful and focused participant in the communication process.’


I think this is a very rare thing to get to experience in the 24/7 world. I mean, when do we slow down, really look at each other, really pay attention. Quieting is one way to go into the very comfortable thing that can happen when reflection and pause come into shape.

Active listening is a way to allow others to feel heard, and closeness to develop, from there. Real closeness, not just hanging out, pretending.

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Active listening

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I’ve spent a lot of time during the pandemic with the videos and podcasts that are online that you can listen to, recordings that capture the things that Jiddu Krishnamurthi gave us to think over. Many of them talk about thought being the bad guy, how it got us to feel that we are separate from others. The dividing that happens is where we get into trouble. With each other. Things create conflicts, clashes, and gettings-in-the-way; misunderstandings. I like this video. I like most of them, especially when he talks about coping with the world and co-existing with the whole of it all. Seeing things clearly. As they are, with both sorrow there, and joy, too. When you feel sort of alone in a foreign country because you’re stuck and it’s a pandemic, it’s helpful to have these philosophical pieces to ‘visit’ because it’s like visiting someone cool and wise and whom you can learn from. I had missed this opportunity being far from my other ‘homes’, and the people in those places who used to give me great feedback, imparting words of wisdom, wherever and whenever luck was with me, and I could hear them.

HT PR


When you look at yourself as an ego, the ‘self’, the self-centered entity, what is it?’ Actually, what is it? The name, the form, the shape, the idea, the concept, the image? That is the me… With all the tendencies and all the rest of it. Essentially, it is the product of thought… Thought is the past, modifying itself, all the time… limited, narrow, can never been whole.

 

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Ego: ‘Essentially it is the product of thought,’ J. Krishnamurthi

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I updated the page about Soft Skills, with this. More about it is here.

relationships

Seek first to understand, then, to be understood

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More is here.

space

Soft Skills: A series of conversations in the cloud

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vignettes

‘I’ll meet you there’

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100 Conversations, relationships

Soft Skills

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What are soft skills? Why are they important?

 

Talking about soft skills, the job site Indeed says:

Soft skills are abilities that relate to how you work and interact with other people. Commonly noted soft skills include communication, teamwork and other interpersonal skills. Employers look for candidates with soft skills as these skills are hard to teach and are important for long-term success. Soft skills are different from hard skills, which are technical in nature and job-specific.

 

In their ‘HR Toolkit’ category, the website Workable blogs:

‘Soft skills are general traits not specific to any job, helping employees excel in any workplace. They include communication, teamwork, and adaptability, often termed as transferable or interpersonal skills. They’re essential for professional success.’

‘Essential.’

Let’s explore, then.

 


Soft skills vis-a-vis the conversation salon


I was happily writing my books for these last ten years, but it’s time to bring some of what I’ve learned from memoir-writing, namely, the work required to reflect, and deeply consider, multiple angles and listen for those (even 1:0, this matters), for others purposes, now. That’s why I’m going to invite anyone curious about soft skills to a ‘mini-conference.’ We’ll talk in a forum I’ll host on Zoom voice; no more than 4, because, it’s the way I like to host these open spaces. See more about Open Space Technology at the Wikipedia page for it.

So, whoever comes is the right people. It starts when it starts, it’s over when it’s over, and whatever happens is the only thing that could’ve. In a nutshell, that’s what ‘open space’ means. I’ve adapted it slightly, here and there, over these last 20 years for my conversation salons, roundtables, ‘parties’, and various get-togethers with new and different others convening for the ‘craic,’ as we would have said, in West Cork. There, and other places, like Seattle, Durham NC, Phnom Penh, are where I’ve spent chunks of time in a row (3-10 years), and where I’ve gotten to understand how other people explore, engage, invite, connect, and become part of a conversation that’s elegant, not just there.

 


Making space for ‘Soft Skills’ dialogues


Personally, I think Soft Skills come right into play in parallel with designing space for elegant conversation; that’s what I’d like to explore with HR professionals, this spring. The event is free to participate in, but application is required.

Apply here.

More from there if it’s a fit.


Connect with Kismuth


More there and perhaps on LinkedIn for Kismuth and Kismuth on Facebook. Let me look into how to make the best use of these channels, for 2024’s goals for Kismuth to connect leaders in HR. To be continued, in an empathetic, conversation-led way.

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Soft Skills

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Journal to reflect, and to get to know yourself better. See patterns, over time. You can, and maybe you already do. But what if you could share this journaling and reflection experience with others?

 

Writing for reflection

The Cojournal Project started in 2014. It’s me sending a weekly writing prompt, and then, us talking together about it, over email, in asynchronous and international conversations. There are no more than four people per circle. Several dozen people have taken part, over the years.

I feel this is useful and important for people who don’t know how to find time and space to ‘learn and grow’, in a way that isn’t prescribed like through a class or a course or something that is formal, and usually one-way (or top-down).

Personally, I love the conversations that meander, are informal, and sort of jazzy in style. We talk, and we riff, and something happens in that space. I feel that the beauty is the emergence that’s there to explore, and invite to come to the surface. Words are the notes to the music we make, together.

 

 


Making conversation spaces: in real life, online


Before covid, I used to host conversation roundtables like ‘Make: What is the creative process?’, ‘Origin: What is fromness?’ or ‘Beauty: What is it, who gets to decide?’, and maybe 100 or so, more. All around the world, wherever I was, I’d find people and invite them to convene and connect. Riga, Tokyo, Warsaw, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Oulu… Yes, a great deal of movement, pre-covid. (None, now. I’m quite stationary, and content, where I am).

Still, I recall these moments with a great deal of fondness. The people were amazing. It takes courage to ‘opt in’, I see that it’s harder and harder to do this, given the age we’re in. Many times I had highlights and even more times, it was completely a fail, lol, but that’s okay. That’s how you figure out how to make it better, redesign slightly, retest, keep going. Making conversation spaces that really get people inspired, not recording anything, and never sharing, after we leave, the contents are so personal, after all. That’s why there aren’t any pictures. I’m not keen on ‘marketing’ these things, showing off all the cool photos of all the cool people. That’s just not my style.

I loved meeting and connecting people with one another, before the pandemic. I loved experiencing the gatherings of us, in real life, to see each other, and to investigate and inquire. Even now the (few) people I know who wind up visiting cities in which others are whom I know, I will connect them. So they can meet. In the way I love: meaningful conversations, I’m certain, will come of these initiatives.

Now, though, I’m less inclined to make this effort to go and physically meet people in real life, and get them talking. It’s a lot of overhead.

So now it’s online. I send prompts to those who want to be part of the conversations (you’ll apply, then you’ll register to set up a weekly fee, and we go from there).

Asynchronous email conversations are my way of continuing to host dialogues that advance our ideas together and challenge us to dig a little deeper. Writing isn’t just publishing; it’s exploring, and discovering, too, I feel. Journeying in real life is this, too. The destination isn’t the point: it’s how fun it is, along the way, to move through the world and see what is out there for us to get to know, to understand. More and more, I see that Kismuth was never about publishing books, as much as inviting these kinds of curious, fun, light, and informal conversations. To happen.

 

“A journal is your completely unaltered voice.”
— Lucy Dacus

 

The Cojournal Project, then, is a chance for you to talk to me and others, through our weekly online prompt-led conversations. Who joins? Mostly, people I’ve met personally, as I’ve gotten to know and invite people to read my books in Kismuth, or talk together at conversation salons, or simply connect over the occasional group zoom call. I remember a time when serendipitous encounters were much more common and welcome than they seem to be today (in an era of too-much-info, too any new things can overwhelm). Let me curate this opening for your window into whatever’s next, whatever’s possible, by placing you into a circle with me and up to two others.

 


Journal with me and others: write, share, converse


We’ll meet there when we like, talk together, and expand on ideas that might have been blooming, but remained stuck, due to lack of freshness, inspiration, or a chance to simply share in a way that doesn’t judge and isn’t with people you already know. Originally that was my hope, to build a group of conversation spaces for us to semi-publicly connect (not a group, not a club, not a clique, and not a company). The differently-minded, meeting in the humble, casual, informal spaces I love to convene in, for Kismuth connections.

Be a part of it. Here’s an application form.

 

&Cojournal, vignettes

Kismuth Connexions

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To more conversations of the shape that makes us feel more interconnected, then, for 2024! Happy New Year.

writing

‘Wherever you go, there you are’

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It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re blogging about Kismuth and what things are going on where you are, right now. I want to circle back to the beginning of this conversation with myself to write memoirs. It was 1985. I was ten, and the events of that year led me to where I am now, in a long, winding, blustery, curious, and vitality-filled arc. All this adventuring. All this doing whatever I could. Going and seeing. Crisscrossing the globe.

Living on: but fully. No blinders, no tunnel vision and no denying realities of the fact that sometimes, there is no ‘why.’

vignettes

Kismuth means destiny

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100 Conversations

Zines

These days I’m making small format zines. A5.

I’m publishing them here where I live and distributing them, too, through a local cafe outlet. This is new for me since most of the work from the Atelier S P A C E teams was online work. We collaborated in the cloud. We published there, too. Conversing and talking and connecting and making zines. A new issue, every week.

The new projects are coming into shape for winter. One is the series, Winter 2023/24, ‘An Ecology of the Moment’.

This issue, ‘If we don’t know each other,’ is one of them.

The beginning of that story is online. It’s at dipikakohli.com/if-we-don’t-know-each-other

Checkit!

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