Wednesday, September 27, 2017

How Things are Phrased


Language is meaningful to me. How things are phrased, subtle nuance can have so much bearing on my emotional patterns as well as thinking patterns, it’s always nice when I suddenly see a new way of thinking about something, a new way of phrasing it, so that the results are kinder to everyone, yet still true.

“He may not care about this,” (or my feelings) may be accurate, but the way it is phrased seems to say more about the caring or not-caring part. It affects my feelings. Instead I can choose “He doesn’t think that way.” This states the facts in such a way that it doesn’t have to lead to emotional conflict or hurt feelings.

A simple change of phrase can change the whole mental, and then emotional landscape.

When an observation becomes personal, it slips into judgement.

Here's another: "I don't eat sugar" is different than "I can't eat sugar." The former implies that I'm on board with the choice. That latter suggests its's something imposed on me from outside against my will. When I consider a choice freely made, I don't fight it as much.

First published October 2017 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.

Wrong Foot

Sunrise bluerocks2 j

It's Autumn. The mornings have been staying darker longer and I often get up before the sun. So recently I've been reading the news - pages I enjoy, news sites I trust and so on before going out to my prayers in the trees. But the last few days when I was reading, I noticed I was getting angry. And this mental activity made it harder for me to settle into prayer/meditation later on.

It struck me that timing may be everything. News sites, magazines, blogs and other interesting stuff on the net are pretty much all about people influencing me from the outside - some lighthearted, some not as much. As long as I am letting it capture my interest, I become a receptacle for it all. It's all a lovely distraction, but as long as I am letting the voices of others' opinions inform my day, I'm starting off on the wrong foot.

To start on the right foot, I realized I'd be better to start my day with prayer or meditation or yoga - something that brings me into the moment and connects me with the eternal. Just stepping outside first thing, even in the dark, and feeling the breeze on my cheeks and the breath in my belly connects me to the flow of life. It gives me the inner resources to meet the day in a more cheerful and optimistic frame of mind. Later in the day when I go to read the news or check in on the sites I enjoy, I'll have a better inner landscape with which to handle the clickbait and ads and opinions that dominate the online world. I wont be quite so caught up in the drama or captured by the allure of shiny things - not so out of step with life.

So this morning, I started on the right foot. I got up before the sun, turned on a light so I could see what I was doing and did my prayers outside on the front deck in the still, quiet air of early morning.

First published October 2017 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.