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Conference afterglow

When you take MDMA, you may experience a strange state of mind the next day that is being referred to as afterglow. Right now, I am feeling something similar after organizing the 6th International Conference on Dialogical Practices.

For me, conference as a whole was far from being as pleasant as MDMA but it seems that at least for some participants, it had the effect. Anyway, although my responsibilities and duties did not allow me to enjoy the conference fully, there were lots of moments when I felt „high“.

When Jaakko Seikkula showed a citation of Patterson who was – through analysis of Bakhtin – making connections between dialogue and love, I had immediate flashback 10 years back. Jaakko was having a workshop in Brno two months before I became father and his words „When we are born, we start breathing and we enter the dialogue“ were still resonating in me when I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. Hearing his words again now, in Olomouc, was beautiful.

After Tamaki Saito introduced the concept of middle voice, I was just blown away. Yes! What a nice way how to express that we are not the sole initiators of our actions. Sometimes we also take part in processes that are beyond us as individuals. But also, there are things „in us“ that can initiate a new process.

Similarly, listening to Ivana Markova´s presentation on inner dialogue was amazing. She not only simply emphasised that inner dialogue has crucial importance for us as human beings but at the same time she brought many evidence and examples for why this is the case.

And I could go on and on. Human touch of Wilma Boevink, the healing power of community introduced by Adalberto Barreto, playing with habits and assemblages of habits in my workshop with Tanya Mudry, as well as, with Jakub Černý at our working group, intimate exploring of potentials in psychedelics to enrich our inner and outer dialogue.

In summary, ideas of dialogical practice are really important and exciting for me as a person so whenever I am involved in elaborating on them, whenever I can listen to a new perspective in this field, I am high. And, a well-known fact is that this is also the state of mind when deep learning occurs, so I learnt a lot. However, some of the learning was not so easy-going as listening to plenaries.

Network for Dialogical Practices officially stands behind this conference but there was another network that was established just for the purpose of organizing this conference. Participating in these relationships was an opportunity for us to learn about dialogical practice too, through direct experience that was not always pleasant but strong emotions and deep learning also occured.

I could definitely experience moments when not all voices were heard, I could bodily feel how is it when trust is not on maximum, and I got many lessons regarding self-care and mutual-care, too.

In our therapeutic work, we are used to end every network meeting with a final discussion about „where to go on from here“ and it was also the case in the Olomouc conference. Sitting at the stage, with Jaakko and Peter, also felt „high“.

Although we did not reach any conclusion about where to go next, I am relieved. The fact that there already are at least three or four possible places where the conference could take place next, is a message that we hopefully managed (again) to co-create the atmosphere that helps us realize every aspect of our humanity. My friend and colleague Ladislav Fabián just wrote me that he felt tingling (with MDMA, you have it too).

Afterglow is not bad, it is not a pathology. On the contrary. It is a proof that you experienced something strong, deep, beautiful. And it is also a signal that you need to have a rest.

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