Saturday, August 25, 2007

Healing through stories

I've been a fan of Frida's notebook for some time now, and - like a few other blogs - it's become an extraordinarily privileged part of my day in that I can visit so many different worlds from the comfort of my computer. Today's post really hit home though, when Frida talks about how hard it is just to listen to other people's stories, but also how important that listening can be. I do encourage you to start visiting the blog yourself. The photographs are amazing, and there's humour here as well as an insight into what's happening in this desperate situation, but this post is particularly moving. She describes compellingly the conflict she feels about her need to record certain facts as part of her job as a human rights lawyer, and her understanding of how the story needs to be told in order to be part of the healing process (and I do hope she won't mind me using her words):
"Where is the time to simply listen? To listen to the story as the teller wishes to tell it. To let it be, perhaps, for today, explaining that I would like to document this story as a human rights case but that in order to do that I will need to ask more detailed questions. To ask if I could return to do that another day, once the storyteller has had time to think about what he or she wants to get out of telling the story to me. Where is the time to do that?"

I've done a fair bit of listening to other people myself as well as reading and researching into narrative therapy, but reading Frida's words tonight made it clear once again just how important stories are - outside books, as well as in them. And why I need to find time to just stop talking myself and listen more. I don't mind saying I feel in awe of her sometimes - she's doing amazing work.

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