At last I was able to join an Unhurried Conversation. The idea stems from Johnny Moore, a friend who kindly hosted me and the Man during the Summer of 2013 in his big house in Cambridge. I remember Johnnie talked a bit about this concept of being more unhurried back then, but it was all really new.

The concept is relatively simple:

We don’t specify a topic, rather letting people talk about whatever they want. Apart from briefly describing our idea, we use one very simple device to support the conversation. It’s a talking piece. We pick an object and whoever holds it gets to talk. And everyone else listens. Which means the speaker won’t get interrupted. (And I add that you can hold the object and not speak… you can hold silence until you’re ready to speak.)

Johnnie Moore on Unhurried Conversation in 2015

Since then the idea developed in a whole series of Unhurried Conversations. And a book. And a podcast.

As Johnny’s based in the UK and I’m based in NL, I couldn’t attend any of the meetings he hosted. Over the years more people came on board of the concept and started facilitating these Unhurried Conversations in their own countries. Among them Nadia von Holzen, a Swiss living in NL, who was waiting for an opportunity to facilitate conversations in Dutch. She teamed up with Ton Baan and scheduled a few online meetings (since meeting face-to-face is impossible these days).I immediately jumped on the opportunity to finally experience an unhurried conversation first hand and reserved my spot.

I participated this morning with five others and it was a very pleasant, and indeed unhurried, conversation. The fact that one person speaks and the others listen really creates space and short silences in between the stories shared. This short space in between helps to slow down and listen to your inner voice. What have I just heard? Is there something I want to tell? There is no goal to pursue, there is no outcome needed. Therefore the conversations meanders to wherever the participants take it. Sometimes you share something because someone else triggers a memory. Sometimes you think of something completely unrelated and tell that. And then a few minutes later the stories turn out to be connected in an unexpected way.

We talked about enjoying nature, longing for mountains, being blessed considering the circumstances, social interaction in corona-era, being connected, how to create the same urgency for climate change as we feel for COVID-19, Dutch clouds and other stuff in between. It felt refreshing to be able to just share stories, uninterrupted. There are few moments in life when you get to do that. Unless you join in for another unhurried one.