The Power of Our Words…

Today I am reminded that my words are powerful.  I can be loving, caring and my words can be a catalyst for love, peace, joy and happiness.  Or, I can be upset, fearful, irritable and my words can be harsh and do harm.  Today I found myself overdone- in a frenzy of getting ready to go somewhere with the family.   It was hot, I was frustrated and just plain over it!  In the midst of all of it came a disagreement with my partner and, I hate to say it, I lost it.  I blamed and yelled.

Looking at it now I am remorseful and even right after I felt regret as we traveled in the car not speaking much, however justified I still felt I was.  😉  I can laugh as these arguments do happen in any relationship, but the result was toxic for half a day.  Was it necessary to shout?  Use harsh words?  Blame?  This brought me to think of mindfulness and the loss of spirituality in that moment.

The Buddhists call it “right speech” or “mindful speech”, Don Miguel Ruiz calls it “being impeccable with your word”, and I am sure there are others that have touched on this topic.  Oftentimes I have spoke with my clients about buttons that can get pressed that take us to that space where we are not being impeccable with our word.  The idea, to me, is to unhook those buttons.  But how???

In terms of mindful speech, I believe it is finding a way to pause and bring my thoughts and feelings into my awareness.  Then, I ask myself some questions about what I am about to say.  There are many quick inventories to choose from.  Here are a few…

From Buddhism and Thich Nhat Hanh~

1.  Speak truthfully

2.  Do not speak with a forked tongue, telling one person one thing and another something different.

3.  Do not speak cruelly- do not shout, slander, curse, encourage suffering or create hatred.

4.  Do not embellish or exaggerate.

Dennis Merritt Jones on “being impeccable with your word”

1.  Is it true? Do I know beyond a shadow of adoubt that what I am repeating is accurate and true, or is based on hearsay and assumptions that I or others have made without gathering all the facts from an impartial and reliable source?
2.  Whatwill I gain from repeating these words to others? Will what I am going to say be life affirming, productive and helpful to all involved and will the world be a better place because I uttered these words? If not, why would I want to repeat them?

3.  Is what I am about to say about another person something I would have the clarity, courage and commitment to say to their face, and, if so, why don’t I do so?

4.  Will what I am going to say be using the power of my word in the direction of truth and love?

Not sure where this one came from…

Any of these questions can bring some assistance to any situation.  Although, if you just try to bring it up to yourself in a stressed moment, I believe it would be impossible to utilize.  Daily reminders by reading something can keep it current.  The simpler the better.  The “think” one works for me, and reminds me of how my words can affect others.  My habits create the scenario where I resort to old coping skills that end up making me compromise my integrity.  I feel bad for the way I treated my partner, but even worse the way I disregarded myself by becoming someone I do not want to be.

“Before we speak ,or hit the forward and send button, it would do us well to pause and become witness to our thoughts before they become our word. I invite you to join me in using the power of your word in an intentional and conscious manner. Not just because speaking with integrity is the right thing to do, but because the world needs and deserves the absolute highest and best that we can bring to it.  When we gossip and spread rumors–when we speak less than impeccably about others–we are affirming to the universe that hears our every word that we feel separate and apart from the whole of life–we are declaring our own lack of wholeness. When we are not impeccable in our word we participate in creating pain and suffering forothers and that is not why we have come to earth.  What we think and say matters, so being impeccable with our word seems like a great place to start”  (Dennis Merritt Jones)

I know the power of intention, so this week I am going to intend to be impeccable with my word.  I know that my world will shift with this one simple idea.

Don Miguel Ruiz- The Four Agreements

Dennis Merritt Jones

The Power of Our Thoughts

Our thoughts and views are very powerful forces in how we feel and how we interact with others.  Honestly, I feel it is the foundation to whether or not we are able to feel happy or sad, depressed or angry.  How we perceive things and what we make of them equals how we feel.  Our history creates the template for dealing with current situations.  In psychology we look at how our childhood, relationships and life experiences may be influencing the present and the cognitive distortions we experience as a result.  Don Miguel Ruiz, who wrote the four agreements talks about the agreements we carry from our childhoods as a book of law.  Thich Nhat Hanh discusses the idea of “habit energy” and the sources of our suffering.

I feel it is very important for us to become observers of our thoughts and views.  Often it is hard to do this.  I think the best way to become this observer is to try to quiet your mind and see what pops up.  Just observe/listen to the thoughts in your head, your inner chatter.   You can write it down or just observe it.  Is what you are giving time to for good.  Thich Nhat Hahn talks about a garden and what seeds we water.   Are the seeds we are watering growing positive thoughts and feelings or taking us in direction of obsessive thought, negativity and decreasing our self-esteem?

Perception= Deception  This concept is a huge one for me.  Often I am considering some situation or relationship with someone and I see it in a certain way.  I ruminate over it, feel sick to my stomach, maybe even lose sleep over this; only to find out that what I thought to be true was actually false.   I liken it to looking up at the clouds.  If many people look at a cloud they may have many different interpretations of what they see in that cloud, based on what is on their mind, their day, their favorite animals, etc…  Same for all the rest of the interpretations we make.

“We may praise, blame, condemn or complain depending on our perception, but our perceptions are made of our afflictions cravings, anger, ignorance, possible wrong views we hold and any prejudices we have,” (Thich Nhat Hanh).

Some questions to ask yourself to help with clear, healthy thinking…

“Are you sure? – Have you checked it out and are absolutely sure it is true, based on fact?  Or are you making assumptions? Reality checking.

“If you are not sure, is this a pattern of perception and thought that is habitual and unhealthy? – If so, don’t judge, just know it and try to release it.  It is often important for us to understand where our patterns come from so we can have compassion for ourselves and to allow for us to accurately see whether or not is healthy today.

“What are you doing right now?” – Bring yourself to present moment by paying attention to your current environment and what you doing.  Mindfulness.

“Is there anything I can do about this right now?” -If not write down or schedule a way to take care of the situation and then try the present moment idea.

You can transform your thoughts by replacing them with a more positive ones and by not developing unhealthy thoughts.   For example if we have an initial thought that someone does not like us or is mad at us.  If we have nothing to support that thought, and we are “not sure”, we have a choice to check it out with that person, or if we are not in good space we can “develop” that thought into a billion other thoughts such as- Why is this person mad at me?  Maybe I should have done “x” differently, or I don’t like that person either, etc…  We can even ruminate about our interpretations to the point we drive ourselves crazy.  At any time we can choose not to water the developing thought through reality checking, positive thoughts or distractions, including trying to be in the present moment and utilizing mindfulness exercises.  You can state to yourself that you are losing present moment by continuing to give your time to something you cannot do anything about.  Often that helps to spark you to try to focus on something different.  Honestly, we often spend too much time ruminating on something that we have no control over or cannot do anything about in our present moment.  Let it go!  Move out of fear based thinking into faith.   For more on faith or fear read… https://serenityinspiredliving.com/2012/08/16/some-exploration-into-regaining-serenity/

I think it is important to observe ourselves and then water the seeds in our gardens that nurture and support us.  Before we can do that we have to know ourselves well- being present with all that is within us both good along with our old habits and ideas that no longer support or serve us.   When we become aware and take corrective actions we can create new pathways of thought that change how we perceive things and we can handle our thoughts in a more healthy way.

Remembering

I was out with my daughter one day, after struggling with work calls on my day off and feeling the pressures of work and the mommy guilt that goes with being a working mom, walking in the rain. It was in that very moment, when my daughter and I were walking hand in hand, our umbrellas up, my daughter singing a made up song as we splashed puddles, in that moment I remembered….

You may ask, “remembered what???” Well. for each person it is different, and words do not do it justice. I just remembered to “be”. Children do it all the time and many a guru write and talk about it. I have heard it a million times in a a million different ways… mindfulness, present moment, grounding, etc…

Honestly, I have struggled to bring myself back. My goal since then has to bring myself back to it as much as I can. It is what I have treasured in my mentors. That true sense of peace. I cannot even begin to imagine a life where that is the norm and perhaps that is part of the problem.

I think focusing on positive, present moment and what we want to bring into our lives is the most effective approach, and seems simple…. until it isn’t.

For example, recently I have been struggling with this idea in my professional life due to a colleague who, I see, as consistently working against me. It is true, on the surface. I found myself wanting to “right” the situation by pointing out the facts of the situations, she isn’t following through on her end and mistakes she has made, despite the fact that doing so would further exacerbate the situation. My ego was wounded and I wanted to heal it through pointing out the “truth”. Seemed somewhat justified as it would be the truth claiming my part in terms of issues. However, it would not do me or my company a service in the end. I have been asking the universe to rid me of this obsession, as I have been over and over it in my mind. What I would say, what she would say, what I would say to staff, etc…

Today I read the following, “being impeccable with your word is not using the word against yourself. If I see you in the street and I call you stupid, it appears that I’m using the word against you. But really I’m using my word against myself, because you’re going to hate me for this, and your hating me is not good for me. Therefore, if I get angry and with my word send all that emotional poison to you, I’m using the word against myself,” Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.

Brought me back as I realized that I would, in essence, be hurting myself by stating anything that was pointed or hateful. So true. The power of her statements melted as I read that. She herself must be suffering, and in the end her statements will hurt herself, more than me or anyone else. Another lesson for me in looking at the “essence” of a situation instead of surface content.