More Than Words

“Even the most familiar subject can be elevated, enlightened and born again with a delicate, loving lexicon. I love exploring how other people see the world through reading and listening to them speak.”

I am fascinated by words, or more accurately combinations of words and how individuals craft their sentences to share their thoughts. My life is peppered with bits of paper where I have scrawled a phrase or two. Words hastily preserved from a podcast or a radio show, allowing me to hold onto their fleeting majesty. I also have piles of notebooks. I used to collect them and not know what to write; hesitant to pollute the crisp, white pages with something unworthy. I was once worried that my scribbles would be insignificant, but now I don’t think that’s even possible. The words we choose and how we write intrinsically share something of ourselves. Now, my notebooks are filled with magical expressions. Precious words kept for reflection. Books are my playground and as I adventure, I almost obsessively document the highlights wanting to capture their essence.

Other words remain with me too, never having reached a page but, having unwittingly implanted themselves in my memory, waiting to leap out at a moment’s notice to interrupt the chaos of my day. I hear them arrive within my inner chatter. Sometimes they are simply kindly quiet reminders keeping me on track, ‘You said that with a should, do you really want to?’’. Some are unwelcome ghosts from the past, ‘4As and a B, well what did you get the B in?’. Some priceless memories, ‘I love you mama. Aren’t we both so lucky.’. Some are my inner critic rearing its ugly head, ‘You are disgusting’. These unbiddened words could fill or deplete my bucket. These days I am picky with which ones I hold counsel. The destructive, painful thoughts passing through are dismissed politely and the joyful moments are welcomed with open arms. I suppose I am learning to be the curator of the museum of my mind. As in any top class gallery, all artefacts have been painstakingly preserved, but only some are now worthy of polishing and putting on display for me to enjoy.

It never ceases to amaze me how I can revel in a turn of phrase. There is such beauty in our language. Even the most familiar subject can be elevated, enlightened and born again with a delicate, loving lexicon. I love exploring how other people see the world through reading and listening to them speak. In fact, this observational practice helps me understand my world. How often I come across a different way of putting something that sheds light on my understanding. Words give us access to different worlds. They provide a window to the writer’s reality. And so I have become a keeper of quotes and collector of ideas.

The great leaders of our time are great storytellers. They pull us in and connect with our emotions. They agitate our thinking with their words and invite us into action. Such is their power, the way people choose to use their words either as a vehicle for connection or as a weapon for division, creates the culture around them. Subtle changes in the words we use can either foster psychological safety or build invisible fortresses between us. Recognising that our choice of language has potency allows us to carefully adapt our style for our audience. The same message can be shared thousands of different ways. Even the greatest of wizards are aware of the exquisite enchantment of words. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” said Albus Dumbledore.

Words jumbled together in the right way convey far more than just factual information. The structure of a sentence can describe feelings and moods. As such, words can bring us together and shed light on our shared human experience. They allow us to explore ourselves. Writing this blog allows my internal reasoning to take shape and form and allows me to question and attend to the thoughts that occupy my mind. I never choose my subject for the blog. I let it choose me. At some point in the week, the idea simply comes to me and I let the words pour out. There is no planning. I’ve come to see it as a process in co-creation with the universe. It almost feels like a download. It doesn’t take a lot of doing or thinking but I trust the words are important in some way. Writing about writing doesn’t feel immediately like a necessary path to growth, but I trust that somehow it is part of the process. I’m learning to lean in and believe that I don’t have to understand everything right now.

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