Conversation as an Essential Activity

This is a reflection that was recently shared with us from our partner in Oaxaca, Mexico. 

This afternoon we found ourselves again in the field of sunflowers in a plot of land approximately 20 x 10 meters. It is the first time that the owner planted flowers, something of an experiment, a test of which species would be appropriate for this area. This place is an expansive area to share conversations for those things that matter, as says writer Margaret Wheatley.

Being in the field is a way of receiving hope, observing the beauty of the beginning or the end of the day, which is always full of colors and sounds without equal.

In the midst of a pandemic, when in Mexico we are in phase 3.

There is stress, fear, illness, many people with insomnia, worry, anguish and it is not for nothing. We have been in quarantine since March 20, 2020, exactly a month ago. My son Toño’s profile in the family location app says : “at home since March 20”.

So we have found that talking can relieve stress.

Conversations have also been essential among the groups we serve, we have found different ways of connecting that maintain our faith and hope that we will see each other again soon. So going back to the sunflowers, this afternoon we had a conversation with one of the women members of the Servant Leader group (it is worth mentioning that our meeting is one on one and with social distancing).

My companion was very excited about this visit, she loves sunflowers.

When we arrived, I let her get close and observe, respecting her first thoughts or reflections, while I watched the birds fly free in the blue sky and listened to the sound of the water in the irrigation canal. The farmworkers continue their work, doing their routine with some normality.

After approximately thirty minutes Gaby started the conversation, saying that when she looked from a distance, all the sunflowers were beautiful, but when she got closer she could see that there was a group that had withered, others were dead and she focused on that.

Why look at that? Why did that thought trap me?

Do I sometimes feel like this?

Why, if I watch them wither, do I want to be there?

What does that mean to me?

I really wonder what does that have to do with me?

I think these are the conversations that matter.

As Gaby brought up her own reflections, I also thought of mine, and not precisely as an answer, simply by listening to her questions and bringing them to my consciousness.

And of course! I said to myself.

When there is death around us and nothing flourishes, we need to turn, just like the sunflower that seeks light and follows it.

Each of us can also look up or perhaps expand our gaze or maybe turn…to see more beyond what is dead, what is wilted.

Our movements could be left, right or curved, or maybe jumps, I don’t know.

What have been the movements that need to be made?

What kind of movements do we make to get out of circles or withered places?

Where are those places?  Where are there places that nurture and give life?

We took a turn and saw a sunflower with a strong stem, beautiful, with an extraordinary yellow color, upright in the field, truly showing all its beauty…splendid, beautiful, but it was alone, with just a small one to the side looking for its own growth; they did not share a stem.

We took another turn and observed a group of 5 sunflowers bunched together. It was interesting to see them sharing space, stem, branches, individually they were beautiful but noticing them together brought a feeling of being held, each one turned in different directions shining with its own light, but they were united with the same stem.  One was beginning to die as part of the natural cycle, but it was still sustained, it was still there.

That brings me back to the word Community.

As a place of life and nutrition, of care in times of darkness.

A place to share space and shine with your own light and also to die accompanied.

Adela Toledo