By Amy Sikalis
The Department’s Transformational Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (TIDE) Book Club met for the first time to discuss the book “Compassionate Conversations: How to Speak and Listen from the Heart” by Diane Musho Hamilton, Gabriel Menegale Wilson, and Kimberly Loh on June 8th.
The collective experience of the evening felt nourishing in mind and spirit as we discussed take aways and experiences of the book. A surprising outcome of the book is realizing that perhaps we hold off on conversations because of perceived or known differences, and the book coaches the reader on how to achieve a shared understanding and appreciate other points of view. The book illustrates the importance of intention in having a conversation and includes multiple practice exercises to gain experience. One person in the group shared their experience of a conversation using skills from the book. They described the experience as not a true success but using the tools had been helpful for them to have the conversation. It was interesting that most if not all in the group had been in situations where we have been marginalized by either a type of discrimination or exclusion. When feeling marginalized, a person tends to move on from the situation, but we talked about what could be done and how to address the situation by speaking up about the behavior and making change through specific actions of understanding and inclusion.
This book deep dives into topics of how to listen, conflict, letting go of ego, privilege, trauma, resiliency, and forgiveness. A quote from the book “There is no battle between good and evil, positive and negative, there is only the care given by the big brother to the little brother” (by Thich Nhat Hunh). We would recommend the book as a tool to build skills; the content is rich and covers many concepts with guides for how to practice them. It’s not a book to read quickly cover–to-cover but is a book to read, set aside, contemplate, put into practice, and use as a resource.
The book itself has a call to action at the end, but we also have a call to action after reading this book. At a time when we are celebrating each person’s uniqueness, building relationships and improving the world around us, we encourage you to: identify a conversation you should have and have it, research a cause or topic of interest and immerse yourself in something new, and don’t be afraid to use your voice and continue to build competency in successful, compassionate conversations.
Amy Sikalis is the Administrative Director of Radiology and Imaging Sciences Research and a member of the department's TIDE Committee.