From words to silence: a journey of self discovery through others

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It all started with words.

“I want to tell you a story”, I said standing in front of a semi circle with 26 pairs of eyes staring at me. These 52 eyes belonged to people from ten different countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia,Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Rumania, Slovenia and Spain.

There was a circunstancial curiosity aura floating in the room, and I was equally nervous and excited to continue with my narration. I knew that what I was about to do was a coin flipping on the air. Not just for the purpose of the shared momentum and activity, but also for my own purpose. Yes, the one I lost on the way years ago and I came here to re discover (or so I expected).

But before going into the detail of how my trembling voice was about to start breaking the edges of silence around the room, I will explain to you how I got there.

From the 11th to the 17th of June I put up on my calendar: “Me, myself and I”. Refering to a training course organized by the Baltic Regional Fund in Riga, Latvia (organization in which I am currently doing a year of European Voluntary Service) and funded by Erasmus+. The main objective of this Project was to adress personal evaluation and self growth approach tools and techniques to raise the quality of youth work and the professionalism of youth workers.

So it turns out that all these people coming from ten different points of Europe were appealed by the idea of improving themselves in order to be better role models, trainers, facilitators, mentors and more for others, specially for youngsters. Amazing.

When I heard about it from my boss, Ginta Salmina, and received the invitation to come along I was absolutely convinced that it would be far more than interesting, and a perfect opportunity to also explore myself, develop my own tools, narrow my plans and objectives. I was very motivated to work hard with me, myself and I.

But things took a slightly different direction after that “I want to tell you a story” moment, during the second morning of the training.

You see, since I have memory I have been writting,  nothing special, just random thoughts, journal entries, short stories, essays, articles, whatever my heart would feel the urge to put in words at the time.  It has always been an inner call, but never a crystallized action in my path search. Why? Mainly because I am shy, I have scenic panic and because I think that these stories have no particular importance in a world full of information, happenings, ideas, and probably everything already written and said.

Some years ago, nevertheless, I started blogging  as a mere act of technological journaling. In a way this sent some of my stories to the public gaze, and little by little I started thinking: oh maybe I do want to do this: write. But never before took it very sereously, until this happened:

“I want to tell you a story”, I said in that semi circle setting, my voice felt absolutely shaky inside my head, but I was able to not show it much. And for around ten minutes, I shared with all of them one of my stories, one that talks about a little girl from México, her community and the connection they have with forest preservation and the water that supplies a big city everyday. When I finished reading it, I felt absolutely thankful for them to have listened to me, and I felt a little fire was turned on again inside the middle of my chest. A little flame that had been almost extinct for several years.

So even when I expected this experience to be an individual pursuit of self understanding and improvement, it was not until I opened myself to the others, than my self was actually transformed; and for the next 6 days around these fantastic people, I completely forgot about the first squared plan that my mind had prepared to be much more productive, advocated and goal oriented. And I found myself marveled by the work the others are doing, by their ideas, their fears, their own stories, their traditions, their hopes, their smiles.

We huged, we danced, we shared three meals a day sitting by a big table, we cried, we laughed, a lot, we really laughed a lot. We opened to each other, we recognized the beauty, the weakness and the strenghts in others and in ourselves. In summary, the Project was a week of wonders, an understandment of how there is a gap between the expected and the unexpected; because beauty is in both, but magic is mostly in the second.

And then, it all ended in silence when the 27 of us, sitting in a circle, completely ran out of words for the final comments, and found ourselves immersed in a wave of gratitude, appreciation and love. It was one of the longest silences I have shared with people, and certainly the most beautiful one until now.

And you know? today; after this experience, I believe these stories I write will lead me somewhere.

Somewhere I am starting to walk towards.




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