Creating new possibilities
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Creating new possibilities
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Art Installations, Sculpture, Contemporary Art!

Linda Gordon: Throughstones

Linda Gordon: Throughstones | Creating new possibilities |

Linda Gordon: Throughstones - detail, Highgreen Tarset, Northumberland, 2006  ;

Via Anne Bak
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Cultural Trendz!

25 characteristics you may find in those who are awakening

25 characteristics you may find in those who are awakening | Creating new possibilities |

There is no doubt the Earth is evolving spiritually. People are experiencing intense changes within their life, work, behaviors and personal relationships. Many are awakening at a rate that can only be described as phenomenal. So how do we know if we are awakening? Here are 25 common characteristics you may find in yourself and others...

1. Being in public places is sometimes overwhelming. Since our walls between self and other are dissolving, we haven’t really learned to distinguish between someone else’s energy and our own. If the general mood of the crowd is herd-like or negative, we can feel this acutely, and may feel like retreating into our own private space. When we have recharged our batteries with meditation, spending time in nature, far away from other people, or just sitting in quiet contemplation, we are ready to be with the masses again. In personal relationships, we often will feel someone else’s emotions as our own. It is important to have this higher sense of empathy, but we must learn to allow another person’s emotions while observing them and keeping our empathy, but, realizing that not all emotions belong to us. Social influence can dampen our own innate wisdom.

2. We understand our current paradigm, more than we understand ourselves. We see the big picture and marvel and the duality of our world including why polarity consciousness has brought us to where it has today. We no longer see life choices and right or wrong, good or bad, just choices defined by the neutral frequencies that we later define. Unity consciousness is allowing us to spread the message of unity consciousness to all of humanity that will allow us to heal our division and change the misery of our human beings to abundance within a global community filled with love for each other and not fear of each other.

3. We know things without having to intellectually figure them out. Often called intuitive awareness, we have ‘a-ha’ moments and insights that can explain some of the most complex theories or phenomenon in the world. Some of the most brilliant minds of our time just ‘know.’ Adepts and sages often were given downloads of information from higher states of consciousness after meditating or being in the presence of a more conscious individual; this is happening for more people with more frequency. As we trust our intuition more often, it grows stronger. This is a time of ‘thinking’ with our hearts more than our heads. Our guts will no longer be ignored. Our dreams are becoming precognitive and eventually our conscious thoughts will be as well.

4. We acknowledge our imperfection and how beautiful it is to be an imperfect version of our true selves. We thrive on challenging only ourselves, and not through competition at the expense of another, especially since we have no need to judge those who are exactly where they need to be.

5. Watching television or most of main stream media, including newspapers and many Hollywood movies is very distasteful to us. The mindset that creates much, but not all, of the programming on television and in cinema is abhorrent. It commodifies people and promotes violence. It reduces our intelligence and numbs our natural empathetic response to someone in pain.

6. We no longer have a need to attach our love to material things, understanding that it only leads to misery because we are not learning to love ourselves and others. The mentality only leads to further acquisition of more things. Although things too are part of consciousness, they do not allow humans to accelerate the mass consciousness required to change the world. Only love for ourselves and others can do that. Love is knowing the 'deservability' and worthiness of all. We are loved so unconditionally by Creation that we can even choose to believe that we are not loved.

7. Lying to us is nearly impossible. We may not know exactly what truth you are withholding, but we can also tell that something isn’t right. We also know when you have other emotions, pain, love, etc. that you aren’t expressing. You’re an open book to us. We aren’t trained in counter-intelligence, we are just observant and knowing. While we may pick up on physical cues, we can look into your eyes and know what you are feeling.

8. We may pick up symptoms of your cold, just like men who get morning sickness when their wives are pregnant. Sympathy pains, whether emotional or physical, are something we experience often. We tend to absorb emotion through the solar plexus, considered the place we ‘stomach emotion’ so as we learn to strengthen this chakra center, we may sometimes develop digestive issues. Grounding to the earth can help to re-establish our emotional center. Walking barefoot is a great way to re-ground.

9. We tend to root for the underdog, those without voices, those who have been beaten down by the matrix, etc. We are very compassionate people, and these marginalized individuals often need more love. People can sense our loving hearts, so complete strangers will often tell us their life stories or approach us with their problems. While we don’t want to be a dumping ground for everyone’s issues, we are also a good ear for those working through their stuff.

10. We don’t feel the need to awaken every person we see. Within a few sentences we can interpret their level of comfort in discussions relating to consciousness. When necessary, we plant a seed and if it’s meant to grow it will. We understand that attempting to awaken those who are not ready is toxic to their sensibilities.

11. If we don’t learn how to set proper boundaries, we can get tired easily from taking on other people’s emotions. Energy Vampires are drawn to us like flies to paper, so we need to be extra vigilant in protecting ourselves at times.

12. We are all becoming healers. We naturally gravitate toward healing fields, acupuncture, reiki, Qi-Gong, yoga, massage, midwifery, etc. are fields we often find ourselves in. We know that the collective needs to be healed, and so we try our best to offer healing in whatever form we are most drawn to. We also turn away from the ‘traditional’ forms of healing ourselves. Preferring natural foods, herbs, and holistic medicine as ways to cure every ailment.

13. We see the possibilities before others do. Just like when the church told Copernicus he was wrong, and he stood by his heliocentric theory, we know what the masses refuse to believe. Our minds are light-years ahead.

14. We are creative. We sing, dance, paint, invent, or write. We have amazing imaginations.

15. We fully accept that we can only attract what is within our vibrational field. There are no experiences that we can obtain in physical form without attracting them from a vibrational perspective. That includes the most horrific experiences and the most beautiful ones. What we are learning to do is accept relationships and experiences for what they are. People and experiences are serving as reflections to teach us something about ourselves.

16. We don’t question what love is, why it is or how it presents itself. We know it is everywhere, in everyone and everything, all permeating and infinite.

17. We require more solitude than the average person.

18. We might get bored easily, but we are really good at entertaining ourselves.

19. We have a difficult time doing things we don’t want to do or don’t really enjoy. We really do believe life was meant to be an expression of joy. Why waste it doing something you hate? We aren’t lazy, we are discerning.

20. We are obsessed with bringing the truth to light.

21. We don’t live in fear of anything. Any and all changes coming, no matter how much they are perceived as negative or dramatic on our Earth, are being designed by us. We have past the point of no return and the Earth is ascending to a higher state of consciousness. Nothing will stop it now.

22. We can’t keep track of time. Our imaginations often get away with us and a day can feel like a minute, a week, a day.

23. We abhor routine.

24. We often disagree with authority (for obvious reasons). Some people call it “anarchy” without a true understanding of what that word or our governments really are.

25. We will often be kind, but if you are egotistical or rude, we won’t spend much time with you or find an excuse to not hang out with people who are obsessed with themselves. We don’t ‘get’ people who are insensitive to other people’s feelings or points of view.

Via Vilma Bonilla
Vilma Bonilla's curator insight, August 6, 2014 11:56 AM

An insightful read on the experience of waking to higher states of consciousness. Several on the list resonate. Number seven is a good one.


"Lying to us is nearly impossible. We may not know exactly what truth you are withholding, but we can also tell that something isn’t right. We also know when you have other emotions, pain, love, etc. that you aren’t expressing. You’re an open book to us. We aren’t trained in counter-intelligence, we are just observant and knowing. While we may pick up on physical cues, we can look into your eyes and know what you are feeling."

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Tips for Coaching Someone Remotely

Tips for Coaching Someone Remotely | Creating new possibilities |
Getting the most out of each virtual session.

Via Pascale_Masson
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Polarity, Coaching, Thinking, Leading, Collaborating!

How Can Daydreaming Improve Goal-Oriented Results?

How Can Daydreaming Improve Goal-Oriented Results? | Creating new possibilities |
Daydreaming gives internal meaning to the pursuit of external goals.

Via Anne Leong, Jay Roth
Sushma Sharma's insight:

I must have believed in this all my life .. 


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HowStuffWorks Videos "Understanding: Fractals"

HowStuffWorks Videos "Understanding: Fractals" | Creating new possibilities |
Watch this clip from The Learning Channel's "Understanding Beauty" series to take a close-up look at fractals. These fascinating structures are found throughout nature and have heavily influenced art.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from visual data!

How Fractals Bring Imaginary Cities to Life

How Fractals Bring Imaginary Cities to Life | Creating new possibilities |
Artist Emily Garfield maps places that don't exist. "I think that's related to the way cities grow in real life."

Emily Garfield like to say that she grows cities. With pen, ink, and watercolor, the Boston-based artist creates maps of imaginary places that tap into the essence of urban form.

Garfield has long been interested by the presentation of architecture in visual art. The inviting, surrealist arcades and sidewalks of the Italian painter Giorgio de Chirico inspired Garfield to begin producing her own street-level dreamscapes as an art student at Brown University.

But it was when she created her first aerial view of a fantasy city—an abstract web of streets, bridges, and blocks—that she got a particularly positive response from other people. Even without any text, Garfield's drawings were strongly recognizable as maps...

Via Lauren Moss
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from The Jazz of Innovation!

Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits

Creative problem-solving in the face of extreme limits | Creating new possibilities |
Navi Radjou has spent years studying "jugaad," also known as frugal innovation. Pioneered by entrepreneurs in emerging markets who figured out how to get spectacular value from limited resources, the practice has now caught on globally.

Via Peter Verschuere
Sushma Sharma's insight:

That's the spirit , to think out of box . India has umpteen such jugaad .

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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from The Jazz of Innovation!

Leadership and Self-Awareness

Leadership and Self-Awareness | Creating new possibilities |

Leader Beware – ignorant bliss, no matter how enjoyable, is still ignorant. If you’re in a position of leadership and don’t feel you have any blind spots, you’re either very naïve or very arrogant. All leaders have blind spots – the question is what are they doing about them?

Via Peter Verschuere
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All Successful Leaders Need This Quality: Self-Awareness

All Successful Leaders Need This Quality: Self-Awareness | Creating new possibilities |
Self-awareness isn't one of those big marquee leadership qualities like vision, charisma or strategic thinking, but it's a quieter ancillary quality that enables the high-octane ones to work.

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
Sharon Sands's curator insight, December 9, 2013 5:38 PM

As a Coach, one of the best gifts we can give a leader is a mirror.  Giving a leader the opportunity to see their impact for themselves and develop their self- awareness has to be one of the most powerful things we can do. 

Joanne OLeary's curator insight, January 2, 2014 2:35 PM

Sometimes self-awareness is as rare as common sense these days, but very important.  Are you self-aware?

Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Leadership!

Self-Awareness: The Gateway to Leadership - Development

Self-Awareness: The Gateway to Leadership - Development | Creating new possibilities |
Few would argue with the notion that self-awareness is a vital prerequisite for any effective leader. It is a key building block for emotional intelligence

Via Raghunandan SV
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In Our Multiplatform World, Six Storytelling Principles That Cross All

In Our Multiplatform World, Six Storytelling Principles That Cross All | Creating new possibilities |
Long-standing tenets of narrative still hold, but if we’re going to live and work in a m...

Via Karen Dietz
Karen Dietz's curator insight, March 26, 2015 4:01 PM

Every day we have opportunities to share our business stories across multiple platforms. Some days it makes my head spin. Which is why I really like the article Mike Jones, of interactive media company Portal Entertainment, recently wrote that help simplify the chaos.

Jones shares with us 6 principles for writing (I say storytelling) in a multiplatform world. Yay! 

Jones is a wonderful writer and I've been following him for a few years because his approach to writing is right in line with much of business storytelling.

A couple points he makes in this post are:

  1. New storytelling forms always emerge. We've come a long way since early cave paintings. Yet we don't replace new forms -- the previous ones we still use. So don't ignore previous forms -- use them.
  2. Don't get stuck serving only one medium. In other words, I may be a business storyteller, but I'm also a writer, speaker, etc. I show up how I'm needed.
  3. Don't just tell a story. Build a cohesive Story World with your stories.

There are more insights for you here. What I appreciate about Jones' post is that instead of focusing on what story to tell in which way on this medium, he gives us comprehensive principles to guide our storytelling across any platform. 

This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at

Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Polarity, Coaching, Thinking, Leading, Collaborating!

Using ‘polarity thinking’ to achieve sustainable positive outcomes

Like yin and yang, polarities are interdependent values that support each other; here’s how this knowledge can be used to improve health care

Via Jay Roth
Jay Roth's curator insight, February 9, 2014 11:50 PM

Polarity Thinking in healthcare

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Managing intractable problems: the neuroscience of polarity thinking

Managing intractable problems: the neuroscience of polarity thinking | Creating new possibilities |
Linda Ray looks at how some problems just can't be solved, only managed.  What we know about the brain sheds light on the importance of polarity management at a time when we need more and more crea...

Via Jay Roth
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from The Jazz of Innovation!

Four Conditions That Leaders Create For Innovation To Thrive

Four Conditions That Leaders Create For Innovation To Thrive | Creating new possibilities |
Leaders have the ability to create four particular conditions that are favorable to innovation – irrespective of the type of project, or the nature of the team.

Via Peter Verschuere
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Influencing Staff Creativity: How Good Leaders Get it Right | Leading from the ... - Library Journal

Influencing Staff Creativity: How Good Leaders Get it Right | Leading from the ... - Library Journal | Creating new possibilities |
Productive change depends on staff members who are working creatively to develop new ideas for better library services. Leaders can play an important role in helping staff to achieve higher levels of workplace creativity.
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Polarity, Coaching, Thinking, Leading, Collaborating!

Human Capital | Brainwaves For Leaders

Human Capital | Brainwaves For Leaders | Creating new possibilities |
Posts about Human Capital written by NeuroCapability

Via Jay Roth
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Digital Delights!

#CFHE12 #Oped12 Fractals, Community and Openness in Education

#CFHE12 #Oped12 Fractals, Community and Openness in Education | Creating new possibilities |
How would communities develop?  It looks like fractals development on an ongoing basis. Keith says in his post: an alert to Michael Rose’s explainer about fractals in The Conversation.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
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#1-2 Chaos theory, infinity, randomness, fractals and african ...

#1-2 Chaos theory, infinity, randomness, fractals and african ... | Creating new possibilities |

#1-2 Chaos theory, infinity, randomness, fractals and african people. Posted by admin on 2011-06-29 Leave a comment (25) Go to comments. A fractal is generally “a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, ...

Via Dr. Susan Bainbridge
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Innovate Today To Build A Vision For The Future

Innovate Today To Build A Vision For The Future | Creating new possibilities |
In addition to leading an organization, I’m a consumer and stakeholder in other brands.

Via Peter Verschuere
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Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from E-Learning and Online Teaching!

Sneak Peek At The Future: 2015 K-12 NMC Horizon Report

Sneak Peek At The Future: 2015 K-12 NMC Horizon Report | Creating new possibilities |
A preview of the NMC Horizon Report's interim results for its 2015 K-12 education edition - emerging technologies & trends & challenges in education worldwide

Via David W. Deeds, mjonesED, Dennis T OConnor
David Witzeling's curator insight, April 6, 2015 5:55 PM

A look into what may be coming to the K-12 classroom in the next few years. Some of these technologies are already in use in many places.

Dennis Danielson's curator insight, May 6, 2015 7:37 PM

Change or die?

Erin Ryan's curator insight, October 22, 2015 6:14 PM

The students of tomorrow will demand the curriculum of tomorrow. This statement engulfs the idea that education has to change with the times. What used to work, no longer does. We have to make some aggressive changes to education in order to support students in developing the skills that employers expect. I am privileged to work for  district that has many of these new technologies in place. There is a definite awareness in education that our instruction and pedagogies need to be adjusted or revamped to fit our learners needs. The constant news flashes are not new and we are on it folks!

Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Mediocre Me!

Self Awareness: the first step in your leadership journey

Self Awareness: the first step in your leadership journey | Creating new possibilities |
What is Self Awareness? Self awareness is the ability to observe yourself as you go about your day-to-day life. It’s the invaluable knack of dispassionately monitoring your own mental, emotional an...

Via John Michel
John Michel's curator insight, April 3, 2013 6:05 AM

Practicing self awareness has transformative potential for everyone – especially those who need to lead others. It’s so important because by examining your thoughts, as they happen, you can influence how you perceive the world. This makes self awareness the first step, not only in your leadership journey, but also in creating your own reality – rather than allowing life to create it for you.

Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Leadership!

Self Awareness - The Most Important Leadership Skill There Is

Self Awareness - The Most Important Leadership Skill There Is | Creating new possibilities |
We know that we need good business acumen, but we also need to have the emotional intelligence that allows us to effectively serve and care for team members. We also need to be competent, and we need to be able to inspire others with a positive visio...

Via Anne Leong
Center for AI's curator insight, March 23, 2015 4:54 PM

The most important leadership skill according to this article is self-awareness. Are you surprised by this answer? What are your thoughts?

David R. Canales's curator insight, August 2, 2015 10:48 AM

It takes courage to lead with q vulnerable see section of compassion. 

Rescooped by Sushma Sharma from Metaglossia: The Translation World!

Self-Awareness: How Sign Language Interpreters Acknowledge Privilege and Oppression | Street Leverage

Self-Awareness: How Sign Language Interpreters Acknowledge Privilege and Oppression | Street Leverage | Creating new possibilities |
Stacey Storme presented Self-Awareness: How Sign Language Interpreters Acknowledge Privilege and Oppression at StreetLeverage – Live 2014 | Austin. Her talk lead attendees through an exploration and acknowledgement of the impact privilege and oppression can have on the practice and self-awareness of sign language interpreters.
You can find the PPT deck for her presentation here.

[Note from StreetLeverage: What follows is an English translation of Stacey’s talk from StreetLeverage – Live 2014 | Austin.  We would encourage each of you to watch the video and access Stacey's talk directly.]

Hello! Good morning!  I’m thrilled and honored to be here.

My talk today – well, let’s go ahead and show the title first.

Self Awareness: How Sign Language Interpreters Acknowledge Privilege and Oppression

While I was preparing for this talk today, I told myself that while I was standing here, I needed to remember that feeling of sitting down, having a conversation in my living room. That feeling is imperative because my talk today is a conversation I have already had with any number of people who are here in the room today. We’ve had those deep discussions and even though I haven’t necessarily been a part of them with every one of you, many of you have had these conversations, as well. Whether you have them after a conference with someone in the bar or in your hotel room, in your own living rooms, or wherever, these kinds of conversations are happening. While I may not be presenting totally new information today, you may come to a deeper understanding of the topic or have some moments to reflect on your own experiences. That’s my hope. At the root of it, I really just want to share my thoughts. That’s what StreetLeverage is all about. So, I had to remind myself that we are here to have a conversation.

Privilege and Influence

Before I begin, there are two important concepts to talk about. The first is something that is present in our daily life – we see it, read about it, and discuss it. The English word is privilege. How we sign that concept varies depending on the situation, the context we are talking about. [Sign selections start at 1:51 on the ASL video clip.] The fact that there are so many ways to talk about this is indicative of the richness of the concept. One sign cannot encompass the meanings inherent in the concept of privilege. The other concept is influence. [Sign options at 2:14 on the ASL video clip.] Again, this concept can be conveyed with a number of different signs based on what we see while we are working. Both of these concepts will come up throughout my talk today, as will the various signs we might choose for them. It’s important to recognize the complexities of both of these concepts and the choices we make when we are using ASL to talk about them.

Before I get too far, I feel it is important to let you know who I am. I know many of you here. I’m honored to call many of you friends. Some of us may know a little bit about each other’s stories, as well. If we were actually sitting in a living room together, we would know more about each other. With that in mind, I wanted to first show you a little bit about myself, about how I came to be in this world.

My Background

My sister is Deaf, so I chose photos of my sister and I as we were growing up. The one on the right was just taken last week. So, you see my sister there.

My sister is five years older than me. Both my parents are hearing. When my mother was sixteen, she got pregnant with my sister. When she was born, my sister had some other medical issues. My mother had been ill with the measles as was common at the time in 1964. So, they went through all of that with my sister. When she was about two and a half years old, they realized she was deaf. After that happened, they went through a number of things until, eventually, to make a long story short, they did some research and found Total Communication, a prevalent communication system at the time. It was a new system and spreading as mainstreaming was becoming more common. My parents did some research and found a school in Colorado, moved the family there and were on their way. My parents really immersed themselves – I’m so grateful to them for that – they didn’t really know what to do, but they both started learning to sign. At the time, that was the communication system available to them. They started on that path and about three years later I was born.

Stacey Storme
That was my world. My parents had been attending a support group with a bunch of other parents. They brought their children, so I got to be around them when the parents got together. While my parents were in the support group with the other parents, I could play with all the other kids who were there, hanging out with my sister and her friends and picking up sign language as I went along.  I naturally acquired the language I was exposed to by my peers from a very early age.This was just my world growing up. I was born into it. I had access to both worlds. However, at the time I was not aware of any of this – I took it for granted as a natural part of my life. I had access to the Deaf world with my sister and her friends. I saw Deaf adults, went to the Deaf church, went to picnics and potlucks and a variety of other events. My mother was on the board of the Center on Deafness, so I went to those events, as well. I went to my first interpreting workshop when I was fourteen years old – yes, call me a dork. I was determined to go, but not because I wanted to be an interpreter. I wanted to go because a bunch of the people I knew were talking about things I loved, so I wanted to go.

That was my world for as long as I could remember. In the hearing world, I certainly felt at home, too, but I didn’t really think anything of it. I took it for granted that I could move within both worlds at will. That was how I grew up and I never gave it a second thought in terms of privilege. When I was in high school, I started to recognize differences between those two worlds. As a child, all those experiences made up the whole of what my world looked like. I didn’t notice anything different per se; it was just my life.

When I was seven or eight years old, I started going to school – public school, of course. My sister attended a different school. I got to see a bit of both schools and honestly, there were times when I was disappointed that I couldn’t go to the same school as my sister. I didn’t dwell on it – I took the situation at face value and went on my merry way.

Starting in high school, I started to become conscious of some differences for the first time. When I was with my sister and her friends, I started to realize that something was different. That was the age when I started to notice these issues. Over time, I began to wonder what those differences were and why. I started to look within and reflect on things. I felt like I identified with the people in my Deaf world but at the same time, something was different there. I couldn’t put my finger on it and I guess I went through my own identity crisis or something. After a lot of introspection and just simply going through the process, I realized that the only difference was that I could hear. It was really that simple. Sometimes I feel like, “Of course, I could hear.” But that was the first time I made the connection – I can hear and that makes a big difference.

Growing up, I just lived in my world without noticing anything out of the ordinary. As time passed, I started to realize some of the implications present due to my ability to hear. I had access to the hearing world in a different way than my sister did. I started to feel somewhat off-kilter…even within my family – my relationships with my parents, with my sister. Her relationship with our parents and my relationship with them are different. That’s true in any family, with siblings, etc. – those differences are perfectly normal. But I had started to recognize the differences and began to reflect on them. That was really the first time that I realized my life consisted of two distinct worlds.

Sometimes it would be nice to think of both worlds existing separate from one another – in their own right. But, we all know that is not the case – the two worlds are always interacting with one another, overlapping and presenting challenges. Recognizing these two worlds and their unique qualities was a lengthy process. As I look back, I realize I instinctively adjusted to cultural norms when I was in either of my worlds. When I was in my Deaf world, I felt comfort and a sense of “home” – the Deaf world was welcoming and familiar. My family and friends were there and I felt at ease. At the same time, I could also go to my hearing world and feel a similar sense of welcome and home. I had family and friends there, as well. Both worlds offered these comforts. Both worlds offered these things – that concept alone is powerful. That is privilege. Having access to both worlds is an amazingly rich opportunity and I’m thankful every day that I have both in my life. It is also important to consider the kind of privilege this is – how we sign that concept.

The concept is incredibly complex. Sometimes, it is scary to acknowledge this privilege and it is hard to examine. The first time I started to recognize and realize my privilege, I felt guilty. It made me anxious and uncomfortable and I didn’t want to talk about it. But what was even scarier was that I could choose not to talk about it. That is powerful in and of itself. Because sometimes, it is tempting to take the easy route and just brush all that privilege-talk under the rug, to think, “I don’t have to talk about it if I don’t want to.”

The concept of choice is extremely powerful. Later in the talk I will touch more on the concept of choices.

Oops. Not the one with 3. Go back one slide. Great!

Direct Communication

So the concept of direct communication…Well, this morning, Doug Bowen-Bailey talked about community organizers and how interpreters could be communication organizers. That idea really resonated for me.

Now, this is pretty basic, but our work, at the heart of it, is communication. The core function is communication. So now, when we look at our work, at communication…let’s put interpretation aside for a moment. For communication to happen, you have two people. Let’s keep it simple for today. This talk is only 20 minutes long and I only have 10 minutes left, so I’ll keep this simple and to the point.

We have two people communicating – information is flowing back and forth between the two. Each of these people brings an incredibly rich context to the situation – their own set of experiences, their backgrounds, upbringings,  etc. Some of these things may be in their conscious awareness and some may not. These two people come together. In some situations, the individuals may have some awareness of the other person’s contextual offering, sometimes not. It varies greatly from situation to situation. When these individuals come together and start to communicate, each party may pull from their personal context and insert bits throughout the interaction. This is part of the natural flow of conversing and communicating.


Communication via a Sign Language Interpreter

Now, imagine I’m the interpreter. We have our two individuals and the interpreter arrives on the scene. As the interpreter, I have a rich contextual background, as well. We can’t just cut all that away when we interpret. We cannot discard it – it just isn’t possible. We can certainly try, but we can’t eliminate it. This morning, both Doug Bowen-Bailey and Carla Mathers talked about how important it is that we know what is there in our own context. We can manage all those experiences and information when we enter an interpreting situation. If our context wants to show itself during an interpreted event, we can make the decision that it will have to wait.

At the point when two individuals come together to have direct communication, the situation is theirs. It is their situation, whether it is one-on-one, a legal setting, a meeting, whatever it is – it is their situation. When I enter a situation for my own direct communication, that situation is mine. In those situations that are mine, I am the person who controls my context, deciding if and when I will share parts of that during my communication. Now, if I am the interpreter entering other people’s situations, that situation is not mine. It is not my situation. Period. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. Real life situations aren’t that black and white.

Perhaps I enter a situation as the interpreter – I’m entering their situation. Suppose one person makes a comment or says something that I agree with or identify with in some way. I may feel a pull to that individual or to their comments. Like Carla said, we want to or feel we must engage in some way, but the situation doesn’t really belong to the interpreter. The situation becomes increasingly complex as each person’s identity comes into play. Throughout the interaction, the interplay of identity wraps around the communication as our contexts intersect. The concept of intersectionality is at play in those moments when our personal differences and identities come together and those things can color the communication.

We enter situations having nothing to do with us. Our work has everything to do with us.  

I think, for me, the number one reason we must talk about self-awareness and privilege, however you choose to sign that concept, is that slide we just saw. It is pure irony – how a situation can have nothing to do with me yet everything to do with me. We come into other people’s situations. It is their event completely – it is about their lives. The interpreter enters the scene but it has absolutely nothing to do with them – nothing at all. It is the participant’s situation, but now the interpreter is there, not because the participants need the interpreter. The Deaf and hearing parties don’t need an interpreter. Rather, a communication need is identified, therefore an interpreter is present.

So, we have an identified communication need between two parties. That need is the primary focus of the interpreter’s work; however, it is impossible to isolate the communication need from the people involved and the personal contexts in which they bring. So, the interpreter is there and their work can begin. The situation, which existed unrelated to the interpreter before they arrived, now shifts a bit. As the interpreter enters the scene, there is a piece that is related to them now. Their focus is the communication need – that’s the reason they are present. They aren’t there to address any of the contextual aspects of the other parties in any way. This is a critical point.

In order for the interpreter to manage their own personal context and to prevent it from interfering with the communication events they interpret in, it is imperative that they unpack their privilege on a continual basis. We have to know our own baggage. We can’t do it alone. We have to include other people in the process of unpacking – we just have to. It’s important to note that we don’t usually become aware of needed unpacking by way of friendly nudges from others. We rarely do. Am I right? In fact, we are more likely to be impacted when smacked in the face with it – when our defenses are raised. When a person calls us out in a way that we don’t like, we are more likely to take notice. What that means is that we have to be open to those times. If our defenses go up in response to someone calling us out, that is a critical moment of recognition. When that kind of response is elicited, we have to look at it more deeply. Maybe not at that precise moment, but anything that creates that strong response requires analysis at some point.

So, we have to always remain open to the process of unpacking, to looking at who we are and recognizing ourselves as we are reflected back in our interactions with other people. Hopefully, those reflections aren’t coming at us while we are in other people’s situations interpreting, right? We have to engage in this work outside of the interpreting arena so that when we do enter interpreting situations, it is less likely to happen. It isn’t that we will never have those moments of reflection during interpreting events. We probably will. We will. This is why it is imperative for us to partner with others. We have to continue to enhance our ability to recognize and acknowledge privilege in all its forms, and to partner with those who would help us to do so. We need to maintain a willingness to partner with people who will discuss these issues and then have those discussions – with other interpreters, with the Deaf community, with people outside of our profession who bring their own diverse intersections to the conversation. We can’t limit the conversation to Deaf or hearing. We also have to include race, cisgender, religion, etc. We have to be willing to open the conversation. That concept – I told you I would come back to the concept of choice. That concept is powerful. The fact that we can choose. That is a huge responsibility.

Privilege of Choice 

Leading up to the conference, as I was talking about and thinking about privilege in all its forms, I realized that the heart of this conversation is choices. When I examine an area where I have privilege, it is also an area where I have choices. Sometimes, multiple choices and other times there are few, but there are still choices. Also inherent in the ability to choose is the fact that, often, the consequences of any given choice are not terribly unfavorable. Choosing one option over another may be of little consequence. If we go back to my two worlds, growing up, I could go into the Deaf world and do my thing. If I were to become frustrated or upset, I could choose to exit that world in favor of the hearing world for a while. I had another place where I was afforded the same access and comfort, where I felt welcomed and at home. Powerful.

Personally, when I recognized and acknowledged this privilege of having access to two worlds, it gave me chills. I was also moved to tears because I know what a privilege and a benefit this was. I also realize what a significant responsibility it is to own that privilege. I must acknowledge and constantly be willing to recognize the choices I have. I’m not implying that there is fault or blame to be placed. These privileges simply require acknowledgement. The work we do outside of the interpreting arena will present itself while we are interpreting. So, I think, again, back to our living room conversation…We have an enormous number of privileges – as many as there are ways to sign the concept. It is important for us to acknowledge that and to share that in our conversations with others.

With that thought, I thank you with one final slide.

Thank you!

And now, it’s time for your part in this conversation.

Via Charles Tiayon
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