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Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

Do Words Matter?

“What you Think, you become
What you Feel, you attract
What you Imagine, you create”. —Buddha

I came upon this quote several years ago and, using a fancy font, I printed it onto card stock, complete with a swirly backdrop, framed it, and gave it to my then teenage son, as a reminder of the power of words. He used strong words in a matter-of-fact manner—such as hate, bad, and stupid—that had a big impact in regards to the type of energy connected to those words. I had already chosen by that point in my life to let go of those less-than-positive words, and when I heard them from him, they sounded “jangly” to my ears—and to my heart.  The less often I used this genre of words, the more noticeable they became when used by others.

This quote of truth, from Buddha, can be referenced to both spoken words and to the words that live in our head. The words we choose to use are habitual, which means that we can use them consciously and/or choose to not use them.  It takes intention and practice to allow uplifting words to dominate your vocabulary.

Our choices in regards to what we Think, Feel, and Imagine, are reflected in what we manifest in our daily life. Furthermore, the words we use to capture our thoughts, our feelings, and what we imagine, set the tone for the manner with which we affect the world. Words that express optimism, receptivity, joy, gratitude, love, acceptance, and forgiveness create a very different reaction than words of righteousness, indignation, fear, regret, and blame. The reaction to which I am referring is our own internal reaction as well as that of those people who are within our sphere. There is even the sentiment that the energy emanating from the words we speak and think can affect the balance of all living beings.

When your words express confidence, success will follow. Words of tolerance lead to harmony. Words of gratitude bring joy. And you can figure out the stark contrast of the responses to their antonyms: doubt, prejudice, and entitlement…

Recently, at a meeting of Business & Professional Women of Nevada County, at which I was presiding as the President of the organization, I made a declaration about words.  Our meetings include an activity called “Good Dollar / Bad Dollar” – a fun way to share a slice of our personal lives, as well as to add a few dollars to our kitty money. It may have seemed trivial when, at that meeting, I purposefully modified the title to “Good Dollar / Interesting Dollar”. This is just one small example of how a word changes the way I perceive a situation. An “interesting” occurrence offers the opportunity for learning and growth, regardless of the outcome, and connotes a sense of observation.  A “bad” occurrence implies absoluteness of negativity, with an attached sense of judgment.

Words are central to the Coaching for Optimal Health practice that I share with the world. For instance, when a client exclaims, “I have got to start exercising”, I will invite that client to shift those words to “I get to start exercising” – a subtle shift of words, with a huge impact on the way the brain responds to that exclamation. When we “have to” undertake an idea or activity, it is perceived as a burden, yet when we “get to” contemplate that very same idea or activity, it is perceived as an opportunity with endless possibilities.  The perception of a burden triggers the fight or flight response, which will minimize the likelihood of that desired outcome coming to fruition, whereas when we approach an idea or activity with optimism, all things are possible.

Words do matter.

2 Responses to “Do Words Matter?”

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"The Holiday Survival Cooking and Eating Class exceeded my expectations. It was so enjoyable to learn new ideas for healthy snacks and meals, taste the delicious treats we created and leave with an inspired hope that this will be my healthiest holiday season yet! I am impressed with the knowledge and care that Robin (and Wendy from In the Kitchen) both possess and I look forward to taking more classes in the future. Thanks again!"  --Rose M.   “What a wonderful, yummy class! Not only did we participate in creating several easy-to-make, delicious, nourishing dishes for the holidays and every day, we also learned strategies for surviving and enjoying the upcoming holiday season. Both Robin & Wendy were delightful and imparted their cooking and eating knowledge with love, humor, and enthusiasm. I highly recommend their classes to anyone who is interested in developing a better way to look at food, using thoughtfulness with mindfulness to learn some very valuable strategies for eating any time of the year!” --CAM   “I found the class delightful with great ideas for the holidays. In the Kitchen is a warm and welcoming place and you and Wendy were great teaching collaborators. Good new recipes. I appreciate your healthy eating information. I recommend this class to anyone wanting to enjoy the holidays without stressing over food. Actually, the information isn’t just for the holidays. I want to stay healthy all year and eat well.” --Pat B.   "I’ve participated in several classes at In the Kitchen, enjoyed them all immensely, but it is always a special treat when Wendy teaches a class. The recipes offered in The Holiday Survival class were easy to make and so delicious. And what a plus to have Robin co-teach the The Holiday Survival class with Wendy. Thank you, Robin, for all your great information on healthy eating, which was delivered so professionally, dovetailing beautifully into Wendy’s presentation. Hope you two team up again for more classes of scrumptious, healthy recipes. What a fun evening!!" --Carol B. _______________ I love this positive feedback! How gratifying it is to touch the lives of others in a meaningful way…and to be able to do so around a topic that is so dear to me, is just the icing on the cake (right—pun intended!). Wendy Van Wagner and I will continue to offer seasonal cooking classes in addition to the occasional specialty class…stay tuned!
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