Monday, April 06, 2015

The power of stories

I remember P and I had minor fight before we walked into the YKB show last year. We were running late and according to him I was walking too slow :-). In that semi angry state we walked into the dark room to see a bunch of women sitting on the stage wearing red and black and looking very stoic. We had no idea what we had just walked into. A friend of ours had bought tickets to the show so we had kindly obliged.
What we witnessed for the 2 hours, could not be described in words. I felt like I had just lived the lives of 12 different women in those 2 hours. I had felt their pain, their joys, their judgement and their passion for life all at the same time. I walked out of the show and all I could think is I could never bring myself to do this. Stand in front of an audience and talk about the deepest stories of my life, that was just unimaginable. Somewhere at the back my heart I felt a tug though, I knew that if I ever had the courage to do that it would definitely transform my life. It would open up my heart and help me connect even more with the world.

9 months later, the same friend pinged me asking me to go attend the auditions for the show. I replied back with a sly remark saying I really did not have a story to talk about. What I was hiding behind the remark was the fact that I was just freaking out at the thought of performing at the show. But my life force was way more stronger than my insecure survival instincts, it pushed me to go attend the audition. I do not know if it was the samosas or the kindred spirit in that room, but I was hooked after the first meeting. I decided to give this a shot.

The work shops over the last four months have been an amazing journey of learning and re-discovering myself.  Some of the most important things that I have learnt over the course of these months have been
1. To know someone you really need to know their story. 
 My initial few sessions, I would walk into the room and quickly start making judgments about people. Healthy, not healthy, funny/not funny, caring/distant...etc etc.  I was doing what we are all accustomed to doing, make a decision about someone in 5 mins of talking to them, isn't that what we are all paid to do? As the sessions progressed however and I learnt about people through their stories, my perceptions started breaking down. I know longer saw them as black or white, I saw them as their stories. I realize that we are deeply connected in one way or the other through our stories, we just need to take the time to listen.
2. The only way to grow is to open your heart and share it with the world.
Most of our everyday conversations with friends or at work are about all the things we do well, we are all trying to create a projection of ourselves when we talk to others. What better example than Facebook. In the workshops we were asked to share about stories that impacted us, that we felt ashamed of, times we felt judged and times that we flourished. I realized that the more I opened up my heart and my stories, the stronger I felt both inside and outside. There was less that I was scared of sharing the more I shared.
3. We do unto others as we do to ourselves.
I realized the more we judge and build opinions of others, the more we open ourselves up to being judged. If we are self aware and true to ourselves, that is what we do to others too. Ours is a age of opinions, we read articles about articles and then build our judgments based on that. We never stop to sit down and experience the other person as they are. We dnt stop judging ourselves, so we find it very tough to stop judging others.  We constantly have an urge to know where we stand in the ranking system. I realized that so many precious moments of my life has been missed because I was worried about judgements which did not even come in most cases.

As the day for the show approaches, I feel good about having chosen to walk this path. I met an amazing set of really strong women. These women dnt just talk about empowerment, they are every day examples of it. I feel more connected with my inner self and I believe more and more each day in the power of love and compassion to change the world. 


Shoba said...

You rock, Akhila.
So glad to have met you and yours.

Love how you think so deeply about so many different things.

Shradha Vinayak said...

You go gal! All the best

Niki said...

Nicely written Di :)

Santu said...