Listening to the stories of others…
Helena Dea Bala, professional listener, former lawyer, and Storyteller and Listener at Craigslist Confessional, joins Julie Chan for a discussion about the privilege, impact and price of listening to others so they can share their stories. Chan also shared an intuitive reading (profile). Recorded at the MouthMedia Network Studios in New York, powered by Sennheiser.
From Albania to Slavania, peace and strength, and a homeless man inspires
Bala shares her upbringing, moving from Albania to Slavania with a lot of moving around and instability, working as a lawyer and lobbyist in DC, and listening to people tell stories they never told anyone else, hoping to provide everyone the idea that whatever they are going through there are others who have as well. The peace and strength in sharing that story, not following a linear path, following a gut feeling instead. How the work is scary but fulfilling and a growth experience. How Bala wanted work that felt more like flow than work. And the way a homeless person named Joe reminded her of how people want to ignore difficult situations, and inspired her to listen to other people to help her figure out her path.
The Craigslist ad, the floppy gray hat, and the one exception
How Bala started using a Craiglist ad to find new people to share their stories, with the invite that she would listen to anything they wanted to get off their chests, with the condition that it must be their story. The floppy felt gray she wore to be identified, why people answer the ads, something that goes along with experience of being an anonymous face in a mass of anonymity desensitizes people, telling a story helps people get away from the now of their lives. People reach out to break out of fear and isolation which helps to know there are other people out there who may also be going through the same thing. People don’t want to see the person they confess to again. And, the one exception.
An intuitive reading, ocean waves, and the knowing it will happen
Chan offers an intuitive reading of Bal, including serenity, waves crashing in, a moment in time, a memory, peace and longing. Being, watching, observing, staring at the waves that will always reach her feet. Inevitability, reflecting on rhythm. The sense of inevitable reaching and connection. Finding the meaning of home, the feeling of the need to do more, the need to recover, the need to give the people who tell her stories the feeling of home. How Bala is at a tipping point right now, which leads to despair. She heard in the reading that that it will happen for her, with patience. The lack of regularity to her days, the need to strive for rhythm, structure. Being a vessel for people to pour their hearts into.