Posts Tagged ‘words’

“They can be like a sun, words.
they can do for the heart
what light can
for a field.”
Saint John of the Cross

Words did that for me yesterday as the weather outside shifted between grey skies and breakouts of a gentle, blue sky with the sun shining down upon me.

Editing, revising, and reconstructing awkwardly worded sentences is the same kind of mixture of sun and cloudy murkiness. And that was what I was doing. But when the feeling of “just right” begins to appear, so does the light in the field that Saint John of the Cross speaks of in this quote.

Then later, in a welcome period of rest, came the kind, gentle and inspiring words of a friend, responding to me in email. She had read and appreciated the words I had sent her in a few chapters of the book I am working on. Enough energy and blessing in her own words to bring me to the next pages of creation.

This is a time where our news media seem fixated on the next annoying, obnoxious, and inflammatory TWEET issued by anyone who has an axe to grind, or just feels a streak of mean-ness coming on. Where is the sunshine here? How much better could the world be served by the worldwide net if it blanketed  the globe with words meant to heal; to build up; to enlighten; to build up hope in the existence of goodness.

These words do exist. I have found “my creative, educational, and spiritual tribes” who bring them forth in poetry, song, prose, and good will. With freedom of choice, I relish this sunshine and share some of the sunshine I found in the Alps five years ago with a friend.






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Words Matter

Christine - SeashellPhotograph by Christine Whitelaw

I love words. I love to write them, I love to read them, I usually love to hear them.

But for quite a while now, I am not so much loving to hear them….the way they are being spoken…..fiercely, disrespectfully, blatenly, accusingly…..with malice and often hate within their context.

Words rising quickly in disagreement, innocent discussions or brief remarks taken in ways that respond in firery rebuttal. Not just once in awhile, but often on our news shows and “entertainment”, offered up like a tee for golf or batting tee for ball, awaiting the first strike.

So I am working on this, watching my own quick judgments or rapid disagreement to the sounding of words. I do not want to increase this harmful pattern in myself.
I want to agree….or……disagree, but I don’t want to speak with intent to harm. I can put my mind and heart to the task. Words matter and the ways in which they are sent out into the world matter more.


Thich Nhat Hanh
Yesterday at 8:38am ·

“We have lost our capacity to say things calmly. We get irritated too easily. Every time we open our mouths (or write), our speech becomes sour or bitter. We know it’s true. We have lost our capacity for speaking with kindness. We can train ourselves in the art of deep, compassionate listening and loving speech. The Fourth Mindfulness Training can be our guide.

“Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful speech and the inability to listen to others, I am committed to cultivating loving speech and compassionate listening in order to relieve suffering and to promote reconciliation and peace in myself and among other people, ethnic and religious groups, and nations.

Knowing that words can create happiness or suffering, I am committed to speaking truthfully using words that inspire confidence, joy, and hope. When anger is manifesting in me, I am determined not to speak. I will practice mindful breathing and walking in order to recognize and to look deeply into my anger. I know that the roots of anger can be found in my wrong perceptions and lack of understanding of the suffering in myself and in the other person.

I will speak and listen in a way that can help myself and the other person to transform suffering and see the way out of difficult situations. I am determined not to spread news that I do not know to be certain and not to utter words that can cause division or discord. I will practice Right Diligence to nourish my capacity for understanding, love, joy, and inclusiveness, and gradually transform anger, violence, and fear that lie deep in my consciousness.”

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This is my framed butterfly art poster that hangs above my writing desk. It has moved with me to our many abodes and usually found its honored space in my creative room.

I saw this poster in a PBS Signals catalogue long ago and yearned after it in many issues before I plunked down the change and made it my own. These letter formations are actually contained in the real wings of butterflies and the poster is great for up-close brief or lengthy meditations!

I think of the absolute grace and privilege any of us have to create a word that soothes, inspires, warns, captures, embellishes or sends another’s imagination soaring, just by using these shaped letters.

I think of the hours of peace, even during writer’s block, I may count up on my yearly calendars, that still thrill me when I come across a piece I had written long ago. I can hold the paper and bring myself back to the exact moment and feeling I had at the time of its creation.

I think of the power, grace and beauty of the butterfly’s wings and truly our own words need to possess the same.

I think of the courage of the caterpillar in the darkness before it knew (maybe it always knew) what its creation would be, but it kept on doing what it was to do……..the same as a writer often does.

I think of flight and presence….for who can ignore the butterfly, no matter how busy one is. Words have flight and take up presence in the souls and hearts of others. How beautiful, then, are words powered with love and intention.

How fragile, both butterflies and words,…once released, neither can retract into the cocoon, nor the unspoken or unwritten world…so how sacred are both.

How bright and shiny, wondrous and brief is the flight of the butterfly and the reading of a word, yet both possess the power of eternity in our memory.

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