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The Girl Who Silenced the World

December 7, 2011

Tears filled my eyes as I listened again to the girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes speak to the UN. Her name is Severn Cullis-Suzuki, and her speech was given at a U.N. assembly in Brazil when she was twelve years old.

She is a wise woman leader who cares and found the courage to speak from her heart. Powerful! Even though I watched this before – a year or two ago – today I found myself moved in a new way.  After the video ended, I asked myself, what is mine to say and am I expressing it? Suddenly I am curious – where do I lack the courage to speak with this kind of forthright honesty and care? Where do I hold back what I know to be true? What uncomfortable questions do I keep myself from asking?

In my desire to keep things “nice” and peaceful I know that sometimes I do all of these. While I believe in right timing and right dosage for any communication I also want to be sure that I am speaking up and saying what needs to be said in my life and work. And, I want to say it in such a way that they hear me and it begins a dialogue that helps us make a change or take the next step.

One time a colleague gave me a great suggestion, “speak in such a way that the other person will be thrilled to hear what you have to say.” That’s a hard assignment! To blend what needs and wants to be said with saying in a way that is caring, compassionate, in connection, and moving us forward instead of inciting a reaction. whew. I have some learning to do.

I appreciate the authentic communication from this young girl. What do you most want to say? Are you saying it?


5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2011 7:53 am

    What is frightening about this video is that it was filmed in 1992… 19 years later and nothing has changed. That girl could be speaking today…. I wonder what happened to her?

    • December 7, 2011 2:22 pm

      That is exactly why I posted it again. i’d love to know what happened to her as well. Let me know if you find anything.

      What else should we each me doing to create change so that we don’t say this again in even 5 years?

  2. December 8, 2011 12:40 pm

    Thank you for this!!

  3. December 8, 2011 4:54 pm

    I think one thing that is key is understanding why we don’t speak up and speak from our heart; our old wounds from times when we did speak up and were shut down by someone who was entrenched in their own fear. When we continue to live out of those wounds, I think we stop even being able to listen to ourselves, or at least I think that is what happened for me. I never trusted that I would be heard, and I believed that the people who shut me down must have been right, so I stopped listening too. We need to heal those wounds in order to even know what it is we need to say, and then be able to be present and trust in the vulnerability to be able to say it. I had a powerful experience of this for myself last week when someone introduced me to speaking circles. What a gift; a small group of people, listening with complete positive regard, not having any expectation of what I should or should not be doing, allowing me to be completely there, in the relationship, and see what wants to come up. It opened up possibilities—of being able to heal the wound of not being heard, finding what truly wants to be said through me, and receiving the support that is out there if we are open to it to be able to say it.

    • December 27, 2011 10:07 am

      When we stop listening to ourselves….this is painful. It’s the core of paralysis, the kind of fear that keeps us stuck for years, and decades, repeating the past. Thanks for sharing so beautifully your own process!

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