As Pico Iyer notes in this marvelous Op-Ed piece, The Joy of Quiet, in the New Year New York Times, “We have more and more ways to communicate, as Thoreau noted, but less and less to say. Partly because we’re so busy communicating. And — as he might also have said — we’re rushing to meet so many deadlines that we hardly register that what we need most are lifelines.”

Iyer references our desperate desire for space, physical, emotional, mental, logistical space, to truly engage – with others, with ourselves, with our inner lives and our outward aspirations. Notably, he points to Antonio Damasio’s research, which indicates that deep thoughts requires neural processes that are inherently slow.

“So what to do?” asks Iyer. One solution is available in that ancient custom: Conversation. Indeed, Iyer goes as far as to describe conversation as something that not only makes him feel better and happier, but that also brings joy.

As you look for harmony, inspiration and meaning this New Year, why not make 2012 a year for joy, by slowing down and embracing conversation?