The Risk

I was drawn to dialogue because I lived too much in a world of function. I was full of longing for deeper connection, for meaning. Yet, I paused a very long time. Function is “safer” where I can manage and guide outcome. Dialogue is full of risk.

So tell me how to do it. Give me a prescription that will make it work.

No, it is not possible. To prescribe dialogue negates its essence. Dialogue in the Buber and Contextual Therapy meaning is to come toward another as oneself, alive, open, aware, and present. And then to wait, ready to receive the other in who they are.

Dialogue is something that emerges when each is present to the other. It can’t be planned or willed, but it can be invited. We can live in ways that open us to its possibility. Buber said it is a grace. Like a butterfly that lights upon one in a most unsuspecting moment.

Why fuss with dialogue when it is ambiguous and risky? People are full of jagged edges. I don’t want to get caught. I want to maintain my finely manicured boundaries.

Because I can’t become fully me, without you. And you can’t become fully you without me. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, it takes being there, engaged, being present with another to become real.

“The forces of the soul allow themselves to be measured only through one’s using them.” Martin Buber

Janet Stauffer