I’m reading Krista Tippett’s Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.
Tippett is perhaps best known for her inspiring On Being, an award winning radio show I love even though I don’t listen often these days. (Reminder to self, etc.) I can, however, hear her lilting voice in my head as I read which tickles me somehow.
I’m fascinated. Her second chapter is called, simply enough, Words. The simplicity of the title, however, belies the content. The chapter’s subtitle gives a clue – The Poetry of Creatures. So far the creatures she’s talking about are us, we human beings and the importance of words in our lives.
She opens the chapter with “I take it as an elemental truth of life that words matter. This is so plain that we can ignore it a thousand times a day.”
I found myself both thrilling to those two sentences and some embarrassment because I forget how words matter over and over again and never even notice my forgetfulness. I’m almost ashamed to admit forgetting the importance of words seems to be my current default mode.
She then makes a short list of some of the words she loves!
What words do you love?
“What a great exercise,” my soul responded while I was reading in bed last night, totally unwilling to get up to find pencil and paper to begin my own list. This morning, here are a few of mine:
I invite you to make a similar list and ponder them, no contemplate them. (I just looked up both ponder and contemplate to decide between the two.)
Of course all words are just containers on some level, but that is really the point.
What I’m doing is saying them out loud, tasting them and savoring them in a gentle fashion with no particular goal in mind other than really noticing them.
This exercise will be, I suspect, most illuminating for you if you choose your own method of experiencing and re-experiencing the words you choose, but you’re welcome to use mine.
I’m finding, for a start, what those words contain for me. I’m noticing how each makes me feel both physically and emotionally. For example, just saying the word joy gives me a tingle and a lift to my mood toward joyfulness.
The importance of words
I’m not sure yet, but I suspect this approach to what, groking? a word will open my awareness in new ways. It might make me a better listener, and deepen my recognition of not only how alike we all are, but how different. For example, when I name the color blue, is bound to be different, at least a bit, than what you mean.
Somehow I already feel enriched.
If you choose to play this game and explore words you love, I hope you’ll share some of that experience with us in comments – would love to hear what you have to say!
As always, write well and often,
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