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  • Gary Borland

#17 Creating Space

Creating space for another person is happening whether we’re intentional about it or not. But what kind of space are we creating?

What happens when people connect and begin a conversation? What if the conversation that starts is about a subject where the participants have very different interests, views or beliefs? There are many ways it could go, but I notice at times that I’m keen to then point out some way in which I disagree, or that they could perhaps look at it differently. While that may open up a conversation, it’s my experience that it’s not always one in which people relax, listen well, feel able to share their views, or find enjoyable.

On our road trip round Scotland, we stopped in a town and came across a small museum with lots of information on Scottish history, including pilgrimages in Scotland. This led to some interesting discussion with the museum curator which culminated in a great conversation about faith. We shared that we were Christians and he shared that he couldn’t accept that the bible was anything more than a book of good stories, some of which may or may not have happened, but none of which were the word of God. He was warm, engaging and had a great knowledge of aspects of history, so the context for our conversation was already off to a good start.

We exchanged views with everyone seemingly listening carefully to the other. No one tried to argue each point made by the other because none of us were actually making ‘points’. There were lots of questions that opened up further discussion which led to more questions. We came away richer for the experience having learned things we didn’t know, got to better understand why someone who didn’t share our beliefs thought the way he did, and I think were you to ask him, he would probably say the same.

In the last blog, I talked about listening and how powerful it was to create a space in which people could really be heard. Every encounter and conversation offers the opportunity to create a space for the other person/people to show up. If I’m a bit cold, ‘off’ or argumentative, it’s unlikely that anyone will leave richer for the encounter. Conversely, being open to hear what others have to say – even when it differs from our own beliefs – can create the space for extraordinary conversations. If less of life was spent trying to be ‘right’ (and in the process making others ‘wrong’), we would experience more rich conversations, build relationships, learn loads and love a world so desperately in need of love.

What space are you creating?


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