The POWER of RECOGNITION


Imagine all of the meaningful events of your life which stand out to this day.
Imagine the touchstones, the turning points, and moments of remarkable courage, strenght, and love, you have already lived through.

What common element was present in you and the world around you at that time, which helped to make this a profound and transformative event?

In hearing thousands of stories -- as a Playback actor & conductor, and as a therapist-- I have heard, over and over again, audience members cite the same key factor as crucial in helping them to:

- gain new understanding & wisdom,
- heal painful or confused recollections,
- find compassion for themselves, and
- move on with their lives.

This key factor is the most effective and powerful response to a basic human need which every human being -- no matter race, status, age, creed, or sexual orientiation -- seeks until it is adequetely met.

This is the simple and profound power of ...RECOGNITION...

Imagine yourself graduating from a school which has nurtured you into an adult ready to fully realize your talents and dreams,

Imagine the birth of your first child,

Or living through a terrible catastrophe,

And imagine this same event with no space and time taken to enjoy, savour or process its relevance. Nor anyone there to see you go through it.

The fact is, that many of us, live such remarkable moments every day. Events which shake us, move us and possibly disturb or inspire us.

We may not slow down and recognize the effect this has on us nor on our loved ones. Yet, the effect is still experienced and the experience is held, like a frozen image locked up inside of us.

I have seen many times within myself, and heard countless times from the testimony of audience members, what happens to all of us when a moment is left UNrecognized. Like the song by U2 exclaims, we end up feeling "stuck in the moment, and (we) can't get out of it."

Until we get recognition for some frozen and forgotten aspect of our lived experiences, sadly, we end up repeating and reliving life events like a nostalgic day dream or a horribly invasive nightmare.

This is completely unnecessary. As, when a child's begging is fully recognized and responded to with the necessary and often brief moment of attentive recognition, the pain and frustration of feeling misunderstood and ignored quickly melt away. The child who is seen and heard, feels like one whose experiences have value. And so, they continue onwards boldly, taking risks, exploring and sharing what challenges and treasures they may discover. Observing children and adults alike confirms this simple phenomenon.

So,... where does this powerful form of recognition come from? And how do we give and recieve it?

The power of recognition is a power intrinsic to each of us. It is also one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another. A gift beyond material value, which can release one from feeling invisible and unloved. A gift, when unwrapped, which can open doors to greater awareness of one'se self and connection with others.

Playback is often called a "poor" type of theatre: without reliance on staged sets, fancy lights, or publicity hypes. Instead we spend most of our resources excercising one important muscle: the heart. With the heart we are able to listen and hear what is unsaid. We are able to see what is most important to others and why they feel what they feel. And with the heart we are able to give and receive the gift of recognition.

At every show, no matter who we play with, (child or elder, corporate leaders or low-income students) and under whatever conditions (in luxurious hotels or hospital basements) we come prepared to share this very precious, powerful, and lasting of gifts with you.