There is great power in seeking & hearing voices other than our own. Perhaps I am particularly aware of their importance & power because I had so few over the first half of my life – and they were at best disempowering & at worst flagrantly toxic.
Then, at 37, I heard the voice that changed everything – John, who had been trying to get my attention, had forgotten my name but remembered my hometown, shouting across a crowded room, “Hey! Bryn Athyn!” Dear reader, I married him, seven months later, to the day.
That blessed other voice changed my life, much as his countenance changed my wretched sense of being a sub-par self – a lemon. For the first time, I experienced a pretty wow ME reflected from my O Best Beloved’s eyes & face, hearing it in his inflections, his tone.
In her late 80s, my mother’s life changed through the power of other voices. For her, it was listening to audio tapes of Steven Covey & Marianne Williamson, John Bradshaw & Barbara Sher on a 1997 road trip to DisneyWorld – she was 87. I’d brought them along with her favorite music – Willie Nelson, Timlin & Kane, Placido Domingo, The HMS Pinafore, Showboat, Disney Classics….
Asked, as we headed out on our 2nd day, if she’d like to hear something new, different. It piqued her curiosity – “Yes!”
Mom never turned back. From those voices & many others, heard & read, she gained a sense of new experiences, fresh perspectives, even unexpected insights into herself & others. She became KRL 2.0, retaining the best of her earlier programming & upgrading with improvements & enhancements.
Mom was the first to say that she got to where she was in 2000, 2001 because of my influence, of John’s, of counselors confidants – and that her shift from intentionally blindered to emotionally vulnerable started with hearing & reading voices that challenged her comfy sense of established place & status quo. Two quotes she loved to share was Covey building off of Victor Frankl – “Between stimulus & response is a moment when we can choose our response.” – and Marianne Williamson’s, ” We were brought into the world to blow up the status quo.”
Reading IS fundamental. All those blessed voices that touched Mom’s life first touched & changed mine. It was interesting how she responded to different authors than I did – she was big on John Bradshaw & Nathaniel Branden, while I was more Gregg Levoy & Jean Houston. We both loved Covey & we read Ram Dass’ Still Here together. She introduced me to Anne Morrow Lindberg & the Psalms. And she taught me that great insights can come from fiction – she found a stunning description of my oldest brother in a Rosamund Pilcher novel!
Personally speaking, I got to where I am thanks to the scores of voices that showed up in my life. I certainly would not be here without Barnes & Noble, particularly B&N/Jenkintown, where the Personal Development section, then Crafts, faced the cafe’s counter!
Some books & audio recordings were purchased intentionally, while others showed up unbidden. My intro to personality development – an unabridged audiotape of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, was purchased to keep me company on a long drive from home to Woodstock – bought it because of a) its running time & b) it was on sale.
Lines from movies, TV shows, songs – all have made an impact on my thinking feelings perspective. As my circle of friends & pleasant acquaintances has grown & deepened over the past 29+ years, their voices – from wee little to the oldest of the old – help shape & inform me. The more clear & distinctive they are, the more defined & distinct mine become.
I find power from partnering with the Universe – others might not. I find power in partnering with physically departed Mom – others would not. But EVERYONE can find great power through hearing, heeding, learning in some way from the voices of others. Seek them out – broaden deepen strengthen.