You, like me, may have chanted this in your childhood:
Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.
Sadly, as an adult, especially in the last handful of years, I have realized that this isn’t the case. Political rhetoric, hate speech, and bullying have all given way to people literally dying from the impact of language.
As I live into my word of the year (intention), I have committed to being intentional about several new practices, one of those being the release of kind words into the world. I realize that language itself is intangible but the impact it makes can also be very palpable. In some small way, I hope that gifting words and sharing pleasantries will begin to balance out the negativity we are experiencing at this point in history.
As a spiritual homesteader and creative contemplative, I spend time and attention crafting art and jams, collecting seeds and prayers. And while I share some thoughtful writing here, I don’t always apply the same mindfulness to how I share words with others in the day to day.
Being a linguaphile (lover of languages) and logophile (lover of words), my new intention is not merely to say, “Hello” or “Thank You.” I have created a daily prayer practice out of writing note cards filled with expressions of joy and thoughts of gratitude. I am anonymously leaving “business” cards expressing appreciation to those in the service industry or working checkout lines. I’m taking the time to do more than smile but to actually greet people with “hello” and a side comment like, “that color looks great on you!” And I’m using my social media to share stories of light, hope and justice to lift up positive words and phrases that inspire.
This intention has truly helped me live into my life as a living prayer or with faith in action.
Now, you might say that I am but one person with one voice, but there is no limit to the number of words I speak. And that is a gift in itself.