The last few new clients I have had the privilege of working with this summer came to me by “word of mouth” -- from YOU telling the story of who I am and what I do. Thanks to your recommendations, I edited for a new author, have new teens to teach mindfulness practices to, and even more teens to coach for college essays. Lucky me, thanks to YOU!
I am aware that nearly everything I do is atypical, far from mainstream, “out there.” One of the prices to pay for being WOO WOO is that normal streams of marketing just don’t work. Advertising in my line of work requires something more than an enticing logo, compelling tag line or fancy flyer. Capturing what stirs about in Circle or 1:1 in coaching sessions is simply “too big for words,” as my website decrees. When recently asked at a party “What do you do?” a fellow circler rescued me from another imperfect attempt at describing a magical experience by succinctly summarizing her view of what I do. Her words were so beautiful - it was a gift!
Word of mouth. It’s how we spread good news, tell tantalizing tales that texting can't begin to capture, and share what matters most. Verbally communicating with fellow humans first began around the fire, and quickly spread via the town crier in days of old, pushed into print in the first newspapers, and still pops up in backyard bbq’s, at the grocery store, and sadly, more often via texting. More than 90% of our communication requires nonverbal cues texting can't begin to capture. In this era where we are overstimulated by our screens screaming at us 24/7/365, still, the most impactful information comes to us from the mouths of our friends, family, neighbors and even strangers while seeing their faces. Viva Voce Face-to-Face!
And yet we find ourselves listening less frequently across the fence, in the front yard, or on the telephone wire. I often walk for a solid hour around my neighborhood without seeing a single soul. I can go weeks without picking up my home phone. That said, silence is golden, to be sure. (http://quentinschultze.com/speak-silence/)
I recently enjoyed a wonderful “Whisper Zone” at the hot springs of Ojo Caliente in Santa Fe. Have you ever hiked in the desert and realized that the only sound you hear is your own breathing? ’Twas magical for this city mom and her 18-year-old hiking companion. The desert is one wide-open whisper zone. Very little word of mouth goes on there. Between the vastness of the sky and the mountains, the desert filled my soul, wordlessly. It was the perfect place to hike across my threshold turning 50.
In the desert, I was also reminded of the special relationship humans have with horses. I have always loved these wild beasts! Growing up, they represented limitlessness, the wild, freedom from rules and to do’s. Within our backyard there were plenty of chores, it was three acres big after all. Horses were who I spent my time with, when my chores were done. In the hands of a skilled equine therapist in Santa Fe, I was reminded of this deep, soulful connection horses provide. Linking up — wordlessly, effortlessly — with these esoteric emotional beings opened my heart wide, and provided wisdom beyond words.
Wide awake early last Sunday morning back at home in Chicago, I wondered whether my own neighborhood could be “whisper-worthy.” In the wee hours, I tiptoed outside barefooted and still in my pajamas, to sit in my hammock and listen. At that hour, it was just me and the birds. No traffic, trains or thunderstorms. Ahhh! I savored my self-made whisper zone. “Wait for it” I thought. Within minutes, cop cars wailed a piercing alarm. The sounds of the city returned. I later learned that the sirens punctuating my stillness were in response to a deadly shootout not even two miles across town. Word of mouth (it’s 2015 so I mean texting among teens who were apparently the first to know) revealed two dead, three wounded, adding to this year’s mounting tragedies, all at the hands of guns. “The right to bear arms!?!” I lamented, “What about the right to silence and safety?” Chicago has become its own distorted version of a horseless, wordless Wild, Wild West. I have no words to describe how utterly sad I am about the violence that runs wild here.
This week, a group of us gathered with the Anti-Defamation League to learn about inclusivity and how important it is to “Watch your words,” lest we inflict micro-aggressions on our fellow human beings. Our words are powerful, as is our wordlessness.
Thank you for spreading my wild work in the world. Having Circled around for 6 years now (nearly 500 circles - can you believe it?!), I am in transition, hopefully up-leveling to something new and even more exciting! And so I am eager to hear more of your voice. Kindly take 2 minutes to answer a few questions about Circle or just send me an email if you don't like surveys: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GCKP7TG Thank you in advance!
“Let the words you speak be worthy of the silence they break…” Author unknown
P.S. In the category of "watch what you wish for..." On my walk this morning, I witnessed two neighbors, side by side on their porches in Oak Park, T-A-L-K-I-N-G! I suggested they could just text each other -- we all three had a great laugh together. :)