Sunday, January 29, 2012
Opening Yourself in Your Personal Writing WILL Transform Your Relationships and lead to Greatness
One of the biggest challenges I experienced while living in Israel for 20 years before returning to the States in 2007, was to say what I wanted to say in Hebrew. Since the Israeli culture is voiceferous and direct and most usually will tell what is on their minds right in your face at any given moment, I had to be prepared for this. In New York City where I grew up for example, I was used to "silence" and very easily could be as "anonymous" as I wanted to be, but this just wasn't possible in Israel.
Silence on the Kibbutz
While I realize that our kibbutz, a communal way of living, had undergone privitization, that process didn't stop people from entering our torn down structure and examining it at all times. And if that weren't enough, they would talk about what they saw and asked us questions, made comments - some unwanted! I felt our privacy had been violated many times over. Truly, this was the Israeli way - we just happened to be on a kibbutz. Surely, this wouldn't happen to the extent that it did in Pittsburgh! Our house was the subject of talk at our kibbutz for months and months to come. When we hired a kitchen designer for example, it seemed as if everyone was copying the same designer - nobody said "wow! What a great kitchen you have.." Of course, that again, was the Israeli way!
Silence as a Teacher
Another form of silence that I talk about in my story, "Getting Out of My Way," for the Pebbles in the Pond anthology (to be released in May 2012) is the teacher silence which still painfully resonates with me until today. At the beginning of my High School teaching career, I looked to my Israeli colleagues for help, advice, to tell me what I was doing wrong and right about my teaching. But my mentor at that time had said, "It's very hard to elicit feedback from people, especially positive feedback and especially from Israelis who are very self-centered and concerned about themselves.
Concerned about themselves? Self-centered? Huh - did I miss something?
NOW I understand why I was never taken seriously at teacher-meetings and why I always felt the need to be quiet even if my ideas were super-important.
Listen to the Voice that Allows You to FEEL
There are times when silence can be a very good thing - quiet and stillness to create and ponder thoughts and meditate. But maintaining a silent voice in a new culture can be life-changing and not always for the better.
If you can write about these events from an emotional perspective, you will also come across as very transparent or as I call it, "sincere" to your reader.
What it boils down to is... how you listen to the voice of that experience as your "take-away" point and how it allows you to FEEL. Capturing these feelings is what helps your readers resonate with you, your story AND your emotional perspective.
The Power of Transforming Relationships
In retrospect, none of these events were random and they all served a purpose even if I couldn't understand "why." Perhaps, as a "silent New Yorker," I needed to experience silence from a deeper cultural perspective, in order to come full-circle.
Now that I am in the Diaspora, rereading my mentor's words put a "time stamp" on what I was feeling at that moment in Israel. All I really genuinely wanted was to feel a sense of belonging and connection. Why did it take so long for me to finally understand the pain of my own silence?
I have come to realize that by "not stepping into your truth" - aka "staying silent" and ignoring the voice of your life story, you are actually doing your readers a disservice.
When I visit blogs for example, one of the first things I’ll always do is visit your about page. You see, it’s really all about investing in relationships, right? You want to know if I’m the type worthy of investing your time and energy (relationship). I want to know the same about you.
Let me tell you about a relationship I have with my Pebbles in the Pond friends, Doreen Fulton and Ann White. I love them both. Doreen always has something positive to say as her way of giving voice to voiceless in the type of work that she does. Ann White is this amazing giving healer that you just can't help to fall in love with. Because they are both so wonderful with their comments on the Pebbles Facebook page, I made it a point to find out more about the them. When I went to their sites, I discovered that we both had something in common and I loved their websites, but I also knew that with the "miles" they travelled emotionally and spiritually, there was much more that also needed to be expressed. Then they shared their chapter stories here and here ...whoa! I resonated with their "silence" and "pain stories" on so many different levels. You hear their stories, the "emotional perspective," which I'm referring to when you write your about pages.
Through this process of communication, we have a relationship. I’ll work to help them any way I can and I know they’ll do the same for me.
In my opinion, this is where sharing our life stories can help in the way of building strong relationships with others. And through the process, we don't need to feel we are alone and be silenced. We fulfill our purpose of using our special and unique life experiences to also help and heal and serve others.