Event #9 Digital Deep Talk: Hanging On vs. Letting Go!
|Location||My dining table.|
|Date||Thursday 10th September 2020|
|Cost of ticket||Free - donations welcome.|
From a young age, it's instilled into you to never talk to strangers. But what if, as adults, this is a missguided approach and we're missing out on valuable experiences, opinions and teachings of others because of what we internalised as children? Personally, I tend to look to professionals when searching for sources of empowerment because they usually know best. As humans, we also rely on those closest to us for advice and a shoulder to cry on. But what about the thousands of faces around us? Are we missing out on much needed connections which could ignite our internal fire to feel empowered in all aspects of life? At the start of the month, I did the exact opposite of what my parents told me and opened up my heart, mind and soul to people I had never met before.
How you say? This is thanks to Deep Talks, a platform which aims to 'foster emotional connection, intellectual growth and, contribution to society'. Deep Talks began as a response to the absence of communities that hold moving and meaningful conversations between those who want to speak openly about personal stories and controversial subjects. Founders Julia and Mariana started this discussion dynamic in Berlin in 2018 and it has since taken off in Munich and online spaces. Due to the ongoing pandemic, Deep Talks aims to make social distancing more social and their process continues to evolve as we all come to terms with how to tackle everyday life.
The theme of the evening was Hanging On vs. Letting Go! As prompted, I created a cosy setting for myself. Phone on flight mode, tick. Comfy clothes, tick. Hot tea, tick. I was ready to get deep. Read on for the whole review.
Header image: The Deep Talks.
The main event
To begin with, the pre-event communications were consistent, informative yet not overwhelming. I felt 100% ready for this new experience which is very important given the context of speaking openly to random people. So far, so good.
On the night of the event, people were dialling in from Berlin, London, NYC, Tennessee, Egypt and even the Cayman Islands. It almost felt like a mini United Nations convention. As new faces began to pop up on the screen, it suddenly dawned on me that I was about to spend the next two hours talking with complete strangers. Julia, one of the co-founders, skipped the small talk and asked that we get straight into the deep stuff, to share what is meaningful to us as individuals. Alongside her warmth that radiated through the Zoom call, she cheerfully engaged with every participant for a couple of seconds. She recognised those who had attended previous sessions and all this added to the wholesome community vibe that the event held. Before splitting us off into breakrooms, Julia explained Deep Talks' three main principles: Depth, Respect and Presence. Everyone seemed to be on the same page brimming with excitement and intrigue about what was to come.
The event format was simple. There were two 40 minute rounds and each round, you were randomly assigned with three others. The first topic discussed questions surrounding Letting Go i.e. why we struggle to let go of certain issues and when is it time to let go? The second topic focused on Hanging On sharing stories about what you learnt from hanging onto to something and how you knew it is/was the right decision. I absolutely loved this setup because 1. it gave everyone involved enough time to participate and learn something about themselves and 2. the element of surprise revitalised conversation and gave you a chance to connect with a variety of people from across the globe.
Given the delicate nature of the event, I will not be going into what was shared because everything said came from a place of mutual understanding that what was said on the call, stayed in the call. I will, however, give you a general overview of my experience with Deep Talks (oh, what a tease!). For me, the first round transformed into a really vulnerable discussion which touched on points such as emotional abuse and mental health issues. There were moments of disagreement on how to tackle these issues but still acknowledgement and respect of each other's honest opinions and experiences. The second round, on the other hand, felt more like a flow of collaborative conversation going completely off-topic yet still being just as fulfilling as the first round. It truly was a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone and by the end of the event, there was this huge sense of togetherness and relief which cascaded through our screens, even among the people that you didn't speak to.
One of the most refreshing aspects of the event was that all participants were moderators of the discussions. This felt incredibly empowering to be in charge as a collective whereby the question prompts were more of an invitation than a set agenda. This allowed the conversation to flow organically, taking whichever direction individuals felt comfortable with and unsurprisingly, unearthing the more delicate and sensitive topics that in other environments, one cannot delve into. The event allowed everyone to be their most authentic self, without fear or judgement, because no one had any preconceived notions or ideas about who you are. Individuals were given the power to write their own story for two hours and also receive well-intended insights and reassurance from others. Now how often do you get the chance to do that?!
Before signing off, everyone was invited to say a couple of words about their experience which left the mood feeling light and loved. People expressed their gratitude to each other and their on-going learning and un-doing offline. I still can't quite believe that this particular event was free given how much I got out of it. Having now experienced this, I would be more than happy to pay the usual fee because even then, it would still be a bargain. We have been starved of human interaction and embrace as a consequence of the pandemic therefore, I am thankful for beautiful ideas like Deep Talks who construct (online + offline) spaces for individuals to flourish. If this sort of event sparks joy in your heart, click here! to see their full in-person and online schedule for future events.
Food for thought
What I respect the most about the Deep Talks process is that you have to apply to join the community. You have to show your willingness to get deep with strangers, put in the time to honestly answer the questions laid out and communicate how your involvement will add to the experience Deep Talks is trying to create. The exclusive nature of the community strengthens the safe space for vulnerable conversations and aligns participants on the common goal: to share and support one another.
Thinking about exclusivity, do you have safe spaces to talk through things?
The definition of a safe space could be a physical location, a certain person/people/community or a certain frame of mind, for example. Now more than ever, we as individuals need to find these and utilise them to support one another. We've all been through a tremendous amount this year and don't think, come 1st Jan 2021 at 00:00, everything will return to "normal". You only have one life, make sure you're looking out for yourself by finding what will empower you to be the best version of yourself.
Would I recommend this?
In a heartbeat, yes! This truly was a magical experience and something that I wish I could have joined in with years ago. I felt so light and also heard. The invaluable insights I received from people I may never see again will stay with me forever. Even for the more sceptical among us, I implore you to give it a try with an open mind. I genuinely think you will surprise yourself...
P.S. If I could, I would get on a train to Germany next week to experience an in-person event.
Love Poppy x
Hi, I'm Poppy
Feminism, creativity, exploring the world & having a good time are really important to me. If you liked the above, why not subscribe to my newsletter? This is just the beginning.