I like playing with words. I enjoy shaping them together in efforts to express meaning. My goal is for another to easily receive and experience the meaning for him or herself. Words are amazing in this way. They allow us the ability to offer a concrete expression of our internal experience. And then another person’s mind can potentially receive the meaning contained in the expression, understand it, and even verify its accuracy. Of course there are other forms of expression besides words… but for now I’m talking about words!
I just finished a phenomenal fantasy book called The Ordinary by Jim Grimsley (thank you Sheri for the superb recommendation). In the quote below he’s writing about words and their relationship with magic (I’ve changed it to the present tense):
“Words bring events into being. They focus consciousness.”
“Any word by its nature allows two disconnected minds to share thoughts with one another… A word is energy and object at the same time, already capable of moving information from one person to another, and… therefore it should not be surprising that a word is capable of much more.”
With a certain degree of certainty (and a lot of room for mystery) words let your mind know what my mind is experiencing… and thus let us have a shared experience. That’s amazing!
More self-disclosure. I have a deep longing for shared experiences. (I know, this is shocking to some of you!) Thomas Hurley writes about our “essential yearning for communion.” I relate to that. I come alive, radiate aliveness, when I am experiencing my inner world, you are experiencing some aspect of my inner world, you are experiencing your inner world, I am experiencing some aspect of your inner world, and we’re here experiencing the outer world and our shared inner world together. Ooohhh, I just love that stuff! I yearn for more and more of it. Mutual relationships like that can be hard to come by in our society. Often, instead of sharing our worlds with each other, we wander around lost in our own world… or even ignoring our own world and getting lost in other worlds.
Perhaps more on that topic later. For now, I’ll return to words.
One thing I’ve been noticing is that I can lean too much on words, especially when I am stressed or in a fear state. I rely too heavily on the fact that words have the capacity (and I trust their capacity) to translate to another my inner experience of being alive or to help me understand another’s experience of being alive. In that state, I can become addicted to the certainty that I think words express. I want so desperately for another to understand my inner world and I want so desperately to understand their inner world. Living from my shadow at this point, I lose trust in my other senses, my other modalities of expressing and listening. I shut down to hearing them… I shut down to expressing with them… I shut down to receiving… and I grasp at and overly-rely upon words.
Shadow and light dancing together… funny how that works.
There’s more I want to write on these topics… holy longings, longing for subtle communication, ways of expressing and communicating non-verbally, a developmental stuck point we might be in socially/relationally, more shadow elements with words, talking about things too much, using words more than I need to, more about The Ordinary… Some topics you might see in the coming time… or not!
I’ll leave you with a practice that they use in the land where the story The Ordinary takes place. It’s one I’d like to adopt.. I wonder what sign we’ll use… I wonder who we is?!
“This is a sign that means we leave you to yourself, to your own peace. We make this to one another to signal that we are willing to talk but feel it would be an intrusion to speak first.”
Photo by Jim Rider/AP found at She Muses