LOVE! Conversations Throughout NYC in February

LOVE! Conversations Throughout NYC in February

LOVE is the subject of conversations throughout NYC during the month of February, leading up to Valentine’s Day on Saturday the 14th and continuing throughout February, in a project sponsored by Conversations New York (CNY) and listed on its calendar at www.conversationsnewyork.com.

Lively-minded New Yorkers are gathering to share their ideas, experiences, and feelings,” says Ron Gross, founder of CNY, who conducts Socratic Conversations at Columbia University. “They are going deeper than the Hallmark hoopla and heart-shaped boxes of candy!”

Throughout the month, individuals, organizations and institutions are exploring the subject from diverse perspectives, ranging from the personal to the political, from the literary to the scientific.

Why not host one yourself – with whomever you like, wherever and whenever you like — to explore LOVE from your perspective. It’s a great way to nurture rapport and understanding!

Many of the Conversations are listed on the CNY calendar– including ones at the C.G. Jung Center on 2/3, at the NY Society for Ethical Culture on 2/4, at the Royalton Hotel on 2/7, at Panera Bread in Queens on 2/2, 2/9, and 2/11, at Senior Planet on 2/11, at Café Philo on 2/19, etc. On Valentine’s Day itself, Love will be discussed in the Times Square area amidst the hundreds of couples who will be there popping the question, getting married, or renewing their vows. Discussions of the CUNY TV series Love is being conducted at Whole Foods on Greenwich Street. Concluding the month’s events will be conversations on February 28th at the LGBT Expo at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.

Conversations are taking place in a myriad of public venues, ranging from welcoming cafes and restaurants, to the atriums of business buildings like CitiGroup, IBM, and SONY.

Among the topics being discussed at these conversations are:

What does love mean, to you?

Is love different for men and for women, for gay and straight folks, and for others?

Does the meaning of love change as we get older?

What have you learned about loving wisely and well?

What the relationship between love and sexuality?

Is love “natural” – or is it “socially-constructed”?

How is love effected by its political, social, and economic environment?

Conversations New York (www.conversationsnewyork.com) is a community of volunteers which has promoted more and better conversations among New Yorkers by such activities as Conversation Day in Bryant Park last summer, and a national symposium on The Power of Conversation at Columbia University.

Holiday Greetings from Conversations New York (CNY)

CNY Montage

Dear CNY Friends, Colleagues, and Fellow Conversational Activists,

We wish you a joyous farewell to 2014, filled with loving, meaningful, astonishing conversations!

THANK YOU for your interest, support, and involvement which made this last 12 months immensely successful for all of us.

We have an even more exciting year planned for 2015, including city-wide conversations about LOVE around Valentine’s Day, our second annual CONVERSATIONS DAY in June, and possibly a second CONFERENCE at Columbia later in the year.

Hope to see you at our first gathering of 2015, at Columbia on Thursday, January 29th, for a Socratic Conversation at 4:00 followed by a CNY Meeting at 5:30.

Gratefully,
Ron  and Your CNY Team

Six Ways to Enhance Your Thanksgiving with Great Conversation!

As you look forward to bringing your family and friends together for the holidays, consider serving up some delectable conversation along with the victuals! Here are a half-dozen plus ways you can spice up your celebrations by adding a dash of provocative, entertaining, and illuminating talk.
What Do You Most Relish in Conversation?:
To start with, remind yourself of what you most relish in conversation. Recollect the most interesting conversation you had in the last week. (If you can’t think of one, get some new friends–fast!)
Ask yourself what made this conversation so enjoyable or valuable. When I ask this question, people usually say:
  • Sincerity/Caring
  • Wit or humor
  • Relevance
  • Charm
  • Originality
  • Clarity
  • Informativeness
Now think: which of the folks you’ll be having over are strong on one or another of these, and how can you give them a chance to express it? Who else might you invite who would bring delightful strengths to the conversation?
Holiday Thoughts:
Serve up some stimulating thoughts about the holidays themselves, easily available for a 30-minute Google search.
Try a Conversation Café:
Want to invite a few of your more thoughtful guests to go deeper? Try a “Conversation Café”, a simple but powerful way to enrich your sharing by passing around a “talking stick” (can be any object), which gives the person holding it the floor to express themselves fully on the topic of discussion. For the easy how-to, visit the Conversation Café.
Turn Your Party Into a Fascinating Salon:
Tap the riches in your circle by specifically asking two or three of your guests to tell the group about something exciting and interesting that they are passionate about: a civic project, a recent unusual journey, a newsworthy aspect of their profession.
Ask them in advance to be prepared to talk about it for 6 minutes, then hear others’ responses and questions. People need to be given permission to take the floor like this, but if they have something of real interest to talk about, others will welcome it. It turns your party into a fascinating Salon.
Really Listen to Your Guests:
Really listen to what your guests are saying when they touch on a subject of strong interest to them and to you, and make a point of asking for more. “Fred, that’s really interesting to me. Could you tell us more about how you learned that…how it works in practice…why you think it’s important…”
Avoid the “Organ Recital”:
Be on the qui vive to intervene when the talk gets turgid. Thoreau said, “We descend to meet.” Often there’s a tendency for people to head for the least common denominator in an effort not to seem pretentious. Nobody wants to be the one to offer a really stimulating, provocative, or informed thought. Some people even get mired in reciting their mutual aches and pains.  I call it the “organ recital.”
Consider it your responsibility as the host to move in at these points with a conversational pick-me-up. Your guests will bless you for it!
The Most Important Part of a Meal:
Conversation is your most readily-available, pervasive, and useful way to stimulate your mind and continue learning and growing. I was interviewed last week by a local talk-show host about how the right foods, exercise, etc. can keep our brains sharp. “What’s the most important part of a meal, for your mind?” the host asked.
My answer, “The conversation!”
Make that true at your table, too, and you’ll add a dimension to your holiday celebrations this year.