Thursday, May 23, 2013

Watch your language

           I was getting a big, fat head over the number of hits Open Road has had in just one week -- over 900!  That is until I clicked on a couple of the traffic sources.  To my horror, I discovered more than one third of them were pornography sites that swoop down on new blogs and ramp up the number of hits for each post, even though there is not an actual person on the other side of cyberspace. 
            I've been using a computer for two decades, but am not as "tech savvy" as I will be once I've figured out the ins and outs of blogging.  I recently spoke with the twenty-something sons of a friend of mine and we were chatting about the differences in our generations.  "My generation wants to touch the tangible earth," I said.  "Yours wants to touch the virtual world."  While I do use email, shop online and have a Facebook account, I don't text or tweet and I have no clue about how to use Excel, although Power Point looks intriguing.
            This week, all things technical have me reflecting on some of the vernacular I've learned thus far.  I've "ripped" MP3 downloads to my computer, then "burned" them onto a CD.  I've overheard people asking how much "RAM" their computer has and how many "bytes" their documents contain.  On Facebook, you can "poke" someone or "hit" a website. 
            Rip.  Burn.  Ram.  Byte.  Poke.  Hit.  Do these words sound aggressive to you, too?   
            The word with the most powerfully healing properties is "peace," with "love" and "joy" rounding out the top three.  The word that hurts the most?  I wasn't surprised to learn it is "shame."  In Masaru Emoto's book Messages from Water, the vibrational power of words and conscious intention is illustrated.  Although critics have argued that his work is pseudoscience, I've directly experienced a modified version of one of his experiments.  When I was a pre-primary teacher at a local Montessori school, I taught a series of lessons on creating peace in our classroom.  I showed the students pictures of water crystals from Emoto's book and asked them which ones they liked best.  "Love plus gratitude" was a class favorite. 
            We then filled two Mason jars with water and sealed them.  One was left in the writing center where the children were encouraged to write positive words and phrases on pieces of paper and tape them to the jar.  It was amazing to watch three, four and five-year olds write "I love you," "You are nice" and best of all, "I am your friend" on strips of green and pink construction paper.  Instead of writing negative words and attaching them to the other jar, I simply placed it in the corner and instructed the children to ignore it. 
            At the end of two weeks, I asked, "What do you notice about the water in both of the jars?  Are they same or are they different?"
            The kids noticed the water in the jar with the positive words was clear and the water in the other was slightly cloudy.  When I lifted the lids, we passed the jars around and I asked them to smell the water.  Some noticed the cloudy water had a slight odor as it had become stagnant.  I tasted small samples from both jars and the one covered with kindness was indeed more fresh. 
            "Can you pretend that these jars of water are children?" I asked them.  "Which one would you rather be?"
            Naturally, they all wanted to be the one that was showered with love. 
            Then I asked, "If the jar that was ignored was a person, how do you think it would feel?"
            One child raised her hand, "I would feel bad 'cause it would be like no one wants me."
            I smiled.  "Everyone wants to be seen and wanted, don't they?"

            Our bodies are mostly water.  If a full moon can affect ocean tides that are nearly 300,000 miles away, how can it not pull on our energy as well?  The same is true for sound vibration.  We become what we say and what we hear.  Words and phrases repeated over and over again become our inner language, and in turn, our outer reality.
              Consider the environments in which you live and work.  Are they noisy or peaceful?  Over-stimulating or balanced?  What words, phrases or statements do you say or hear repeatedly?  When I teach workshops to teenagers, one of the first things I do is place a glass of water near a sound system speaker.  I then play different types of music and fluctuate the volume level, all the while encouraging the students to notice if and how the water changes.  When I play loud, bass-driven music at the highest level, it's interesting to watch their faces.  I love a good dance party now and again, but am acutely aware of how excess amounts of loud music make me feel jittery and exhausted.
              I have the same experience with language.  We all can relate to being with people whose words and caustic delivery make us feel uncomfortable.  Conversely, we know the delight in the laughter of children, the sound of our name being said by a loved one, the beauty of an exquisite piece of music.  So as I go about my day, I strive to be consciously aware of how I use my words.  They can hurt or they can heal.  They can be used in judgement or to convey compassion.
             Open Road has been a hit with many of my friends who ask, "When will you write another one?"  If it's all the same to you, the next time you go to the webpage, I'll consider it a nudge.