Personal Narratives: Power of Voice
Posted on May 13, 2016
This week we flip the switch from the devastating impact of trauma on a person’s narrative of themselves, relationships, and the world to how we can help clients rewrite and take control of the story of their lives. To start this exploration, I want to examine the power of a person’s voice. Verbal or written expression is something I think quite a bit about as a both an aspiring speaker and writer.
In my work, especially when I speak, I pay close attention to not only what I’m communicating but how I communicate the concepts I’m trying to explain. Trauma in the form of child abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, war, and exploitation are hard topics to sit with for long periods of time especially knowing many in the audience have experienced trauma in their own lives. In describing the devastation of trauma, I know I always need to hold the light of hope that no matter how dark the situation might be and always reaffirming the possibility for transformation if the right variables are set up.
As part of my own growth, I have sought out people whose voices carry passion and wisdom. While wisdom can easily be accessed through journals, books, TED Talks, trainings, and other medias, it is this passion that is rare in my experience. This passion has the power to motivate, connect to the core of the listener, challenges core beliefs, and brings real change to the world’s problems.
I obsessively seek to pull knowledge from wisdom. I actively search and follow those who can connect wisdom to passion. One place where I find this combination in abundance is with client’s who have survived their own personal hell and transformed this suffering into strength and wisdom. I treasure the opportunities I get to sit as a student at the feet of these teachers whose story and resiliency contain a type of wisdom that is not found in many books.
As a student, I have paid deep attention to the power in the voice of these heroes. They have no problem speaking from their soul as every word has meaning and power. I sit in awe of their stories and journeys out of hardship and into the life they could once only imagine.
One of the most powerful things I find about this voice is how starkly it contrasts to those I’ve worked with who are stuck in their pain, suffering, and whose life has become a continual fight for survival. In this reality, the voice lacks power, passion, and much life at all. I could almost hear the spiritual and emotional death which Joseph Campbell described in the words and tone of these clients.
Yet, experience shows, that from this death can come great strength and wisdom. Those that have successful journeyed out of their hell often have a passion to give back to those still struggling. In the presence of these people, one can’t help but to feel a tremendous since of hope for all people.
Over the next several weeks we will explore how to help clients find their voice as part of their transformative journey. I want to provide space in the comment section for you all to tell stories of those that have inspired you with their passion and wisdom. Who has inspired you?