"...to rehabilitate and affirm the dignity and personhood of those who for so long had been silenced, and had been turned into anonymous, marginalized ones. Now they would be able to tell their stories, they would remember, and in remembering would be acknowledged to be persons with an inalienable personhood" (Tutu, p. 30)
Tuto, D. (1999). No Future Without Forgiveness. New York, NY: Doubleday.
"I hear the torment of the soul, for it was once mine (Ferch, p. 50). I believe that our purpose in life is born from us first learning the opposite of what calls to our hearts. We make the suffering in our lives matter and give our tragedy purpose when we live the opposite of the pain it brought. For example, one cannot know hope until one has first known the depths of hopeless. Because I know the feeling that my voice is not worthy of being heard, I can hear those who struggle to speak. Because I spent a year in "seasons of wood and stone, seamless, nearly conscious, no foresight or even alarm, only numbness and the cold feeling that all is one, all things arranged to capture and keep [me] in sleep and wakefulness, dark, day [my] thoughts disintegrating and re-collecting" when I journeyed with depression, I can sit quietly beside others who travel this darkness, gently reminding them light does appear again (Ray, p. 60). Because I learned forgiveness can be found after death, I can guide others to heal through the space that separates those we love no longer in physical from from where we physically stand on Earth.
I believe my gift of empathetic listening would be of service to those who have experienced a traumatic event and are in need of someone who will hold the silent space without judgment and will let the sacred stillness whisper you are not alone. One emergence for the future is to be that listener through the process of story-telling.
Ferch, S. (2012). Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity: Servant Leadership as a Way of Life. Lanham, Maryland. Lexington Books.
Ray, S. (2011). American Masculine. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press.
"As a culture, we so fear dying and we so fear aging" (Ferch, Spears, McFarland, Carey, p. 111). I think one's fear of dying can beget one's fear to live. What I conceptualize is to find ways that I can aid people in integrating death into life so that death - literally or figurately - is not seen as goodbye or an ending but as purposeful for inspiring how we live.
Ferch, S.R., Spears, L., McFarland, M., Carey, M. (2015). Conversations on Servant-Leadership. Albany: State University of New York Press.
If you have read my first book, To the Moon and Back to Me: What I Learned from Four Running Feet, you will learn that I do not see death as goodbye. I view two kinds of death; death can be literal and the other figurative. Figurative is when a life changing event leads us to a profound sense of loss, and then provides the opportunity for us to transform, much like a caterpillar freeing itself from a cocoon into a beautiful monarch butterfly. Literal, of course, is the physically leaving of Earth. Yet, in this loss, too, is the opportunity to give purpose to it happening.
My vision is to inspire individuals to find that purpose can be found in the traumas and sorrows, that we make life matter through the choices we make to live going forward, and that we live so much more when we are not bound by the fear and / or grief of death and profound loss. Yes, life has such significant moments in which living becomes before and no longer the same. I desire to inspire individuals journeying with anxiety, depression, profound grief, pain, trauma, sorrow, and despair (PTSD) to find trust in life again and to find trust within themselves. You may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them. – Maya Angelou
This second emerging future will continue to unfold and reveal the hows.
"The heart stores energy and information that comprises the essence of who we are, and sensitive persons who have received cardiac transplants are capable of revealing the often-invisible heart's code of the donor's organs living inside them (Sipe, Frick, p. 112).
Sipe, J., Frick, D., (2009). Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.
In this program I learned about a concept called Theory U. Think of the bottom of the U as the unknown. Traveling down the left of the U towards the bottom is the journey of opening the mind, the heart, and the will by letting go of fear, judgment and cynicism, so that when the bottom of the U is reached, there is a complete welcoming to that unknown. The right of the U is the steps up towards the future that is whispering this way. This is the concept of Theory U on paper. The learning of this was profound in that we were taught through body gestures with no verbal communication just how powerful our hearts are in speaking to one another and the depth of wisdom our bodies also communicate in congruence with our minds and hearts. We learned that words are not necessary to speak volumes and connect with other people in very meaningful ways.
I have a perspective that individuals journey with PTSD (pain, trauma, suffering, and despair) might feel as if they have been thrust down or are falling to the bottom of the U, without a choice to willingly travel down the steps of opening their mind, heart, and will as they go. An individual is now at the bottom, in the unknown, frightened, and equally scared that traveling up the right of the U (the future) is no longer an option either. I aspire to meet people at the bottom of the U and accompany them to the ladder rung at the right of the U, spotting them from falling as they start to climb up. A third emerging future is that I envision creating a mentorship process and/or training methodology for people to find the ability to hear what the heart is speaking when words cannot be found, both for those who feel their own words are leaving or have left and for loved ones who are feeling the same of the one they are struggling to hear. I envision the solution(s) meet people at this bottom, where trust, faith, and hope feel elusive. In that bottom, we can gently hold the fragile until they recognize the strength that has been their essence all along.
"The soul is generous: it takes in the needs of the world. The soul is wise: it suffers without shutting down. The soul is hopeful: it engages the world in ways that keep opening our hearts. The soul is creative: it finds a path between realities that might defeat us and fantasies that are mere escape. All we need to do is to bring down the wall that separates us from our own souls and deprives the world of the soul's regenerative powers" (Palmer, p. 184).
Palmer, P. (2009). A hidden wholeness: The Journey toward an undivided life: New York: John Wiley & Sons.