“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice” T. S. Elliot, “Four Quartets”
I like to think that our words, much like our food, feed ourselves and others. Whatever we feed ourselves determines how effective our body and our whole system functions – either with ease or without ease. So, what words have you fed yourself and others this year, and what voice do you choose to use next year?
Our self-talk and the attention we pay to it certainly shapes the way we interact, the way we feel, and the reality we create for ourselves. Our words can hurt or heal, tear down or lift up, can disempower or empower, and so much more – both toward ourselves and others. I have recently learnt, for example (thanks to Naomi Aldort) that even saying the words “I’m sorry”, which is a socially accepted way of communicating our remorse or empathising with another, is a way of taking responsibility for anothers’ feelings and experience. This might be a hard pill to swallow, but just sit with it for a few minutes and notice how your body feels when saying those words. Do you feel a draw of energy coming from you perhaps? Or a taking-on of someone elses stuff? This could be experienced as a heaviness, or a sense of responsibility. Now instead, perhaps try the words: “I feel bad that I……” and sit with this. How does this feel? Can you notice a difference?
I find each word we use has an energetic pull, and perhaps not necessarily the actual word in some situations, but the tone, the situation and the intent with which it is used. When we place our attention on our body, the way our body responds to the words being said or thought and the energetic resonance behind that (including the situation, the tone and the intent) we can then gain some insight into the energetic effect this has in our body.
If you are interested in experiencing this then perhaps take some time to complete this exercise:
- Get yourself a piece of paper and a pen
- You may like to create two different columns – words you say or think to yourself, and words you say to or think about others.
- Write down words that you find yourself saying or thinking in relation to the two categories.
- Go through them one by one – sitting with each one and noticing the resonance within your body.
- How do you feel?
- What emotions do you notice (if any)?
- How does your breath respond? Is it shallow or deep? Restricted or Unrestricted?
- What sensations do you notice in your body?
Then explore alternatives. Perhaps descriptive words that enable you to take ownership for your stuff and allow others to do the same for theirs e.g., “I feel bad that I said …..”, “Can I ask a question about you?”, “I am aware that I……, I wonder how that was for you?”
Could one of these alternatives be your new voice for the new year? It’s up to you to decide.
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As published in The Inspired Guide Issue #18