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This has nothing to do with yoga

I don't think so anyway, but I could be wrong.... Last week I went to a conversation event. It was advertised as a social evening for people who want to have more meaningful and in depth conversations and connections.

These monthly events really well organised and hosted with insight and a bit of a sense of humour. 50 or so strangers meet in a gallery, we have a drink, we start to relax. So far is a pretty traditional evening. But it is not until they introduce and hand out the conversation menus that things start to get interesting.

It being January the theme for the evening was "Resolutions". The introduction touched a nerve straight away, "Resolutions have a bad reputation, these are something we say we are going to do in January and give up in February, like an expensive gym membership".

We were then skilfully guided along a path of quite difficult conversations and thought processes with specific questions to discuss. First we had to find some one we didn't know or hadn't talked to before, and then we were off. I won't let anyone's secrets out by telling you what the questions were. But what I found most interesting was how easy it was to share things about yourself with a stranger, the format seemed to give us permission to go to places that you wouldn't dream of going into with a close friend or relative. Disappointing relationship histories, challenging family expectations, career pressures nothing seemed off limits. The topics were wide ranging.

I find that whenever I get into these situations I'm just so surprised how much we have in common at a deeper level, in spite of age, gender and nationality differences. It is refreshing to have someone really listen to you without any history between you, expectation or interruption (that's in the event instructions), and to hear them reflect back to you on some of the things you say. I'm constantly surprised by how much I still assume (incorrectly usually) about how other people are going to react.

It feels increasingly like these experiences and insights are coming to me at just the right time. Its been a few months since I went to one of these events, and the theme of Resolutions didn't really appeal to me - any more than the thought of going up to central London on a cold windy January night. But I am so glad I went. In a few short hours I met some fantastically interesting people, heard some really great and inspiring stories and feel a bit more fired up to pursue my intentions not to allow myself to be limited by my, generally irrational, fears this year. As our host reminded us, "here we believe that it is possible that setting long term resolutions such as being a bit kinder, more patient, allowing yourself to take a small step towards achieving your dreams, can lead to lasting change in the way that short term resolutions, like giving up alcohol for a month, just can't". And yes, there was plenty of wine and beer being served at the time...

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