Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Evolution of Fear to Trust...Pause

The past three weeks I have had long pauses versus questions. I sit with my work around me and pause just pause. This is unlike me but I am not resisting the experience. The blog entries have been amazingly stimulating and they too bring me to a pause. Recently I had an experience that steeped me in the pause mode.

On September 9th as I was distributing fliers door to door for the "Grandma! Grandpa! Please Read to Me" project I met Emmanuel Bioh who was in Newburgh on business. Originally from Ghanna, he is a social worker from the Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, NY. I asked him his thoughts about community. In his country of origin raising a child is the responsibility of the village. In America raising a child is the responsibility of the parents. There are ill equipped parents in both countries but in his homeland, the village steps in to help while in America the child must first be abused, abandoned, and then, hopefully, the government steps in to help. Sadly, it is usually too late. I asked why the concept of child rearing is so different. Our conversation became more intense and we widen our circle to then look at the basic negative qualities of humans, qualities that will never change. This brought us to the business of isolation brought about by television and computers, which has resulted in neighbors becoming strangers, and strangers are to be feared, fear of the unknown. In the end, fear is ingrained in humanity so there is no solution. We both laughed at the pessimistic outcome of our conversation, which then opened up the door to optimism because two strangers, one a white middle aged women and the other a powerful black man, on a dangerous street at dusk had a spontaneous conversation that was based on trust. We then vowed to continue this philosophical conversation on how to empower residents by strengthening the family unit and thereby creating healthy citizens for future generations. We had taken One small step for humankind...One small step for developing partnerships...One small step for the concept of Community Cultural Development in Newburgh, New York. Pause...



  1. Hi Susan,

    I love your story and your experience of pauses are wonderful. I do believe that pauses are where all the good stuff or gifts are given to us. I have had glimpses. It is not always easy to pause, so being that the calling is there for you and your listening is great. I admire you for your awareness. Pause and stillness for me are one in the same quality of movement if you will. I do think there is an amazing amount of movement when we pause or are in stillness. For some that could translate to our breath.
    I am responsing to your wonderful comment from the point of view from my training in mask work. I would like to say dance too but the stillness in the training to be an actor that works with masks comes froming inner listening and stillness. This can certainly be translated to life and the human condition as well. Listening and patients is what we as a country seem to be lacking, and I wonder if all the stimulation, media, technology, and information at our finger tips takes away from the pauses in life. As Fran said, technology is double edged, as is life. I always come back to the dance between dulality. I am beginning to think that the stillness or pause just might be the key.
    I am going to be aware of pauses. Thank you, Nancy

  2. What a wonderful moment, Susan. Pauses are amazing spaces for change. I love conversations that come out of nowhere and make us think outside of ourselves. That sort of thing happens often at residency, which is perhaps why it is such an amazing experience.

    Thank you for sharing. :)

  3. Your story brought tears to my eyes. I could picture you standing in the dusk-light, embraced by the aura of trust. Thank you for sharing your story.


  4. Susan your story brought great tears to me as well. How can we, in this country, undervalue our children in the way we do? I believe it is any logical parent's deeply intuitive knowledge that indeed, it takes a "village" to raise a child. Susan, do you remember when Hillary Clinton used that quote? It always stuck in my mind since then. As a single parent, alone in Brooklyn, NY (I was raised a 'small town' girl)
    I was often aware of the loneliness I felt trying to raise my children. My deep involvement with my community remedied just that feeling. But when I met others, I realized how many others, even single people with no children, were feeling the exact same way. I feel it takes a "village to raise a human being", any age. triada