Right now, it seems that the world is so confusing and divided. I don’t understand much of it. But, in the midst of the chaos, we gathered last week as a community to be informed, inspired, and ignited by stories from some extraordinary people.
I wrote this Seed Story below, from the perspective of a participant in last week’s event. This one story comes from a collective of stories shared with me from many who attended last week’s human trafficking event and were impacted – deeply. We hope you enJOY this glimpse of the evening’s happenings and find yourself in these stories. xo, -sdt
Friends, click here to see some film clips, connect with and learn from our remarkable storytellers, along with some ideas for inspired action. Here are a few pictures of the night, taken by the extraordinarily talented Amy K. Wright:
January 23, 2017 | Denver, Colorado
Oh, what a night! I am fired up! It’s late, but before I go to bed, I want to write about my experience tonight. I was able to have some rare and quiet moments to reflect, sit, breathe, learn, be inspired, and to see myself, my story, anew. I don’t really think I’ll ever be the same.
Among a cozy, tight-as-sardines room of strangers, this group collectively had this vibe, this vision of togetherness, of connection, that was most extraordinary! The premise of our time together was to learn about human trafficking – in the United States and globally. I was drawn in by this photo they shared in their event invitation and curious about these beautiful girls from Nepal.
I know a bit about human trafficking. I know it’s a serious and dire issue. I’ve heard news stories and seen book titles aplenty. But, to be honest, I often changed the channel or shifted my eyes to another book. I think I did this in part because it scares me, a lot, but also because I cannot take in any more tragedy or heaviness. My own life has enough of that of its own. I don’t know – it’s also just so sad, so unimaginable, and – until tonight – seemed so distant.
There were a handful of storytellers, each fighting human trafficking in wildly diverse ways and their backgrounds were each so unique. I was moved by the movie clips, dance, music, and photography that were part of the evening. That alone would have been pretty incredible, but I was captivated tonight in the most beautiful and surprising way.
I discovered my own story tonight.
Not only do I now see my story in a new light, but I sense new value in it. Through what I experienced, heard, and discovered tonight, I now have some glimmers of ideas of some ways in which I will be able to weave more of my passions into my life and bring these gifts to the world in service. It’s not that I have it all figured out, but I don’t feel like I need to – I’m just going to take the next step. This is stunning and liberating – and I am on my tiptoes with anticipation of what the days ahead might hold.
I think much of this comes from fact that this night was not about issues or causes. It was about people – real women and men. Some had been trafficked and some were fighting human trafficking. Throughout it all, there was this thread … pulsing with love and glimmering with hope. I felt it, was beckoned by it.
Looking back, I see that it wasn’t a perfect night, flawless in its organization. We were squeezed together, with not quite enough chairs for everyone – some friends sat together on pillows, while others stood in the doorway. The sound and video had issues here and there. But, I really loved being in a room full of these people, exploring stories and life less about perfection and more about purpose.
And, then, I was struck by the force of this thought: If they can do this, I can too. They aren’t perfect – they’re fierce, committed, and real, but not perfect. Me too.
The storytellers were each powerful and magnificent. Yet, they each spoke of the questions, fear, and challenges they face in their work as entrepreneurs, artists, students, non-profit leaders. They pulled back the curtain and shared moments of weakness, fear, and confusion, alongside strength, courage, and commitment. I connected with them, they were both relatable and inspiring. I am infused with a sense of renewed vision that is not solely about someone “out there”…but is about me, my story, and my purpose.
At the beginning of the night, one of the speakers spoke with tears in her eyes and a tremble in her throat about a friend of hers and many others in the room from Ethiopia. Fatouma is a treasured sister to many of us and her son, Anwar died, just two days ago. Right now, she is at the mosque, burying her beloved boy, and we are lighting this candle to remember, honor, and love her. And, then, she continued, This candle is not just for Fatouma – it’s for all of us who need a bit of extra light and love this night. We are with you and for you in the flicker of this light.
They call this community the kula – and shared that it comes from an ancient Indian word for village or tribe. In it, there is a gentle, cozy, safe sense of belonging – and also a trumpet call to rise, to be inspired and ignited from within and by one another, to say YES. I love this – both invitations. I long to use my gifts in the world, to have a deep sense of purpose to wake me up each day with joy and anticipation. I heard each storyteller speak to this. They all have it.
At the end of the night, they did this simple and significant exercise in which they invited all of us to reflect on and write down three words to express what we were feeling and thinking. Candles flickering, sitting among a new group to me, quiet and not doing anything for a moment, it felt good. So good. Truth be told, I’ve been working so hard, non-stop, really. I needed this pause tonight, to be reminded of happenings that matter to me beyond the day-to-day of my life.
The next gathering is on February 13 and is about Africa – I will be there. I don’t really know much about the countries of focus: the DRC, Kenya, and Ethiopia. But I am excited to learn, to be inspired and ignited, to find my story in theirs, and to say YES to something new.
Yes, the world is crazy right now. But, these people – rooted in hope and building a movement of purpose, connection and dignity for all? I want and need this kula. I will return. Because I know I belong here.
Amy K. Wright is a Photographer + Marketing Coach who believes “We All Have a Story to Tell. Tell it Well.” Learn more about her “Tell it Well” sessions here. Thank you, Amy, for the evening’s photography + social media event support.