We have come so very far with today’s technology. We can send a message to millions of people at the click of a button, but we have a hard time looking each other in the eye and saying hello. We have little cartoon characters to show that we are smiling and abreviations to say we are laughing, but we have difficulty smiling with our own lips at a cashier or a waitress. I believe that we have forgotten how to have one-on-one conversations and these conversations are so very important in saving ourselves as a society.
From the beginning of my dream for the cafe, I wanted to create a place that people could gather, to rest, to un-plug and to re-connect with our fellow humans. I am very proud to say that the Alley Cat Cafe has become a meeting place for important conversations. Throughout the week I look out over the tables and can see conversations happening. Conversations about Occupy Quincy, about creating a sustainable community, topics like; “What can we do about the possible closure of some of our precious schools?”, “What can we do to keep important offices open during difficult economic times?” Sometimes these conversations die out before any sollutions are found, but often times wonderful outcomes happen as a result of a few people talking over a cup of coffee.
In her book Turning To One Another, Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future, Margaret Wheatley says, “I believe we can change the world if we start listening to one another again.” I absolutely believe this. However, it takes courage to start these kinds of conversations. We think, “What if people don’t like what I have to say?”, “What if they don’t want to hear what I have to say?”. I have often times thought these thoughts, but being the person I am I take the risk to speak out. It has gotten me into trouble at times. Usually when the people I’m telling the truth to don’t want to hear the truth. More often than not, though, I find out that other people wanted to say these things but were afraid and held back. My message to you is, do not hold back, please share, please engage in important conversations…… you just might help save us all.
In the aftermath of 9/11 the concept of the Conversation Cafe was born. People who didn’t have a church or other type of fellowship needed a place to process their thoughts and feelings about what had happened. Conversation Cafes popped up all over in places where people gathered; cafes, barber shops, libraries. Now they are World wide. A Conversation Cafe is a gathering of people who want to converse. There is a topic, and everyone gets a chance to share their thoughts. It lasts about one hour, so it’s not too big of a time committment. They’re are only three rules:
1. Don’t come to promote anyone or anything.
2. Don’t try to convince anyone of your rightness and their wrongness
3. Be a good listener.
The Alley Cat Cafe hosts a Conversation Cafe every Thursday at 3:00. Come speak your truth with us.