I am not surprised to find out that words could be considered to be like living organisms, capable of growing, changing, spreading, and influencing the world around us in many ways, directly and indirectly through others. Words have incredible power to continuously propel us through life. It can either motivate us to achieve great things or break us, as individuals or as a society.
As Maya Angelou once said “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning”.
This morning an idea came to mind while I was speaking to a Polish lady called Dana, in my workshop. Although our conversation was not a traditional two way conversation, I was lucky enough to have a Polish friend translate for me. In the mist of our conversation, I was inspired by Dana’s incredible experience and passion for life and at that moment I thought how interesting it would be to capture a single word from all the seniors and all the participants. Who represented 5 different countries which included United Kingdom, Finland, Poland, Spain, and Czech of Republic.
With enthusiasm and excitement I started my quest to collect words from everyone! I successfully managed to ask the majority of the participants to give me a word that they thought truly captured their experience so far. To my astonishment, I was surprised to notice an occurring similarity between the young participants and the seniors (which could be referred to as breaking the generation gap). The similarity that I am referring to is the amount of time each person paused to think about their chosen word. Majority of the people that I spoke to literally paused for about 10-20 seconds and in some cases the conversations led to humorous misunderstandings with the help of Google translator. Watching and listening to how everyone responded to my questions, I became even more intrigued to observe and find out the words that each person selected to represent and capture their experience thus far. This was particularly interesting because majority of the people that I spoke to did not speak English as a first language, which meant some of the conversations I had were translated through body language.
Some the words that I collected from the participants that expressed their experience in Poland (with the training) were:
Joy, Strange, Enriching, Refreshing, Fun, Excitement, English, Brilliant, Imagine, Cool, Juicy, Friendship, Surprise, Beautiful.
With the seniors the words that captured their experience thus far were:
Amazing, successful, Improvisation, Play, Exercise, Photography, Friendship, Happiness, Inspiration.
With these collections of words from the seniors and the participants, I decided to put all the single words together to form a text that tells its own story. As illustrated below!
Imagine beautiful enriching friendship!
Imagine strange brilliant excitement!
Beautiful joy, imagine refreshing cool juicy fun.
Amazing English, successful friendship, exercise happiness, exercise inspiration.
Strange improvisation, strange play, strange photography = happiness.
Referring back to Maya Angelou’s quote “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with deeper meaning”. I experienced this at first hand, as I noticed how words became powerful and how they form deeper meanings. I particularly enjoyed collecting the words because I had the opportunity to interact with people from different countries who spoke different languages from my own. Reflecting back on this experience, it could be said that I was trying to break the language barriers and generation gaps. In many ways I think I accomplished some aspects of this, while at the same time I gained a new profound appreciation for words.