Monday, November 26, 2012

Immortal Words

For centuries politicians and poets, orators and others have been immortalized through eloquent quotes and passages that conveyed their wisdom and depth of character. They have left their mark on the world and, to a degree, changed the world simply by speaking profound and thoughtful words purposely linked together in a sentence.

Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, Roosevelt and JFK are but a few who have contributed beautiful sentiments that impacted the way many Americans think and behave. Many in the public eye have had the fortuitous opportunity to help shape the future for the better.

While not every word or phrase spoken by every living being is "quotable" each one of their words has been expressed and is, therefore, immortal. Both the spoken and written word is capable of changing a person – a situation – a life. This occurs millions of times on a daily basis.

When we use the term "immortal" it signifies two concepts: words that impart greatness, intellect and profound wisdom, and words that last forever: a legacy of sorts.

Words are energy. They are uplifting and glorious when praises are sung as they are putdowns when waging verbal battle. They can heal and they can harm. Because of this, words can be salve to a wound or the dagger that inflicted it. It is energy that forms according to plan.

Contrary to the childhood chant, "Sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never harm you," nothing could be further from the truth. The injuries inflicted on the soul by sharp words can cut deeper than any flesh wound. As sound can travel through plasma, the unborn (in utero) hear what you say. In fact at 20 weeks old babies have been recorded turning their heads in response to external noises during routine sonograms.

Whether the words are merely thoughts in your mind, quietly spoken, written on a page or magnified over a microphone, they carry the same energy – the energy of the words' intent.

The harm that they cause when less than truthful or flattering is a double-edged sword. The recipient as well as the speaker is injured, but it is the speaker that carries the greater burden, for no matter if an apology follows, there is no way to take back what was spoken. If only there were a word repository to seal away the injurious sentiment. A vacuum to suck up the uttered impetuous phrase, for sound is not capable of traveling though a vacuum. Unfortunately for the spokesperson, there is not. The deed has been done.

As harmful as these spoken and written words are, the words expressed in our minds as thoughts are just as powerful and potentially dangerous. How many times a day do you talk to yourself through thought, sending the wrong message to yourself?

We must be as mindful of our thoughts, the messages we send ourselves, as those that we send to others. Filtration systems should be installed in the thought process just as they are when choosing the right words to speak to others.

When talking to yourself, use positive words, when speaking with others choose your words wisely, and no matter to whom you speak, remember the immortal words of Nathaniel Hawthorn, "Words, so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Reflection of an Election

The last ballot was cast yesterday evening and the 44th President of the United States was voted into office. Today millions of Americans are either happy or disappointed. Yet today millions of Americans still went to work, school and the gym. Today millions of Americans traveled, went shopping, chatted with their friends, visited the library, walked in the park and texted one another. They ate, did laundry and tried to balance their check books. They lived their lives.

Life goes on.

Reflect on the past months as both candidates battled it out. As they came out verbally swinging it appeared as serious and life altering as a showdown at the OK Corral. Last night marked the end of the road for one and the start of a new journey for the other. Only one would win and only one did.

Is life now perfect for the winner?

The momentary exuberance of the win is magnificent but short-lived. The work may be more challenging than ever before as the President is pressed upon to prove to the citizens that they elected the right man. There is no free ride.

Is life now over for the defeated candidate?

Not at all. The disappointment of losing is as temporary as the winner's exaltation. Life continues and, as we all know, when one door closes another opens. The one not chosen will go on to experience other achievements.

Try using the election as your springboard into the pool of understanding life – drink deeply of its metaphorical juxtaposition of good and bad, right and wrong, winner and loser.

What you can do is embrace what is. Breathe in the moment of what is. Live what is and give thanks for what is. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. However, if we reflect on where we once were and where we are now, we might discover that there were no losses – just a lot of living going on.

"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest."    –    Confucius

Friday, November 2, 2012

Have I Told You?

 Tell the people you love that you love them. You don't have be happy with them at this moment but let them know. Love trumps anger, frustration, disappointment and hurt feelings. Kind words soften and remind your family and friends of your true feelings, not the momentary upset.

You don't have to say it in person. You can write a letter, a postcard, send a text or email but be sure to let them know.

Why is this so important? Because sometimes you don't get a chance to say it later. Sometimes later doesn't happen. And sometimes later is so long after a situation that a simple sentence like, "I love you" could have made all the difference.

The same thing goes for other sentiments: "I admire you," "You make my day," "Thank you," "You are the best parent in the world" or "If I could have asked God to hand pick my child, it would have been you." In fact, sometimes following up anger, frustration and hurt feelings with a kind word means the world to that person. It doesn't necessarily mean that you now agree with them and are no longer angry, it simply means that the negative emotions will come and go but the love is here to stay.

Sound silly? Why not ask the person you're saying it to. Ask them if it sounds silly to them. Ask them if your unconditional love and caring for them upsets them or makes them uneasy.

There's never a bad time to tell someone you love them or that you care. Never a wrong time to say thank you or you are special. Today let your parents, grandparents, children, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, cousins and friends know.

If you don't tell them, who will? And if not now, when?