Words, how we choose them, if we choose them, are so critical to who we are and what we think. We say so many things, often words just are shot out of our mouths without our full consciousness. There is a premium put on speed of response and whatever is pre-loaded, pre-fabricated--not pre-meditated--sprays forth. Words fly out of our open pieholes unwittingly. We say things, important things, with no connection to heart or mind. Empty habits of sounds that we neither hear or feel just fly out of our face like an AK 47 strafing the air indiscriminately.
Most of the time we are in our fog of life where we go through motions, say words, make decisions, and unwittingly set the courses of our lives.
We fire off our cannons enamored with the booms but disinterested in the targets.
We are what we say.
Sometimes we try to retrieve a flock of bats that escape the cave, flying in regret formation. We later say "I had to eat my words." Usually refers to the bitter taste of being wrong. Swallowing one's pride and gagging on the foul reflux of crow or the pungence of humble pie.
What if the words we say were delicious? What if we curated words so that we consciously uttered tasty syllables? Words with fiber, complexity and real flavor.
Of course this takes our full awareness. Just as in eating, when we rush and never really savor the food we love--when we chew and swallow in a hasty transactional fashion that make the chef cry.
I had a powerful conversation with Akuyoe Graham, the founder of Spirit Awakening. She is an award winning performer who has dedicated her life to helping at-risk youth. One of the many keys to her success and the success of her program is coaching these young people to tell their own stories well. To craft a narrative that authentically conveys their life arc.
Akuyoe speaks with passion and she articulates, pronounces, enunciates her words so beautifully. I assumed it was her stage training, but I learned how centered she is--how connected to her heart her words are.
Her presence mentored me. It showed me how someone connected to the present looks and sounds.
We were talking and she said, "John your words sound so delicious. I like it when you speak like that." I felt I was talking like I always talked. But she made me realize how important it was to pair my words with my feelings. To literally taste the words. To be in the words. It was noticeable to Akuyoe. She revealed a great truth to me.
I am often more clued into people's eyes. They are windows into which I see connection, energy, and authenticity. But words are formed in the mind and are released into the air to breathe life into our ideas and identity.
For the last few years, I have been desperately and erratically tasting my words. To hear them and make notes of the accuracy and alignment with my intentions. I write more. Every day. To work on my words. To align my thoughts with my heart. To speak truth to myself and then to others.
By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.- Jean Baptiste Girard
Like a more insightful Miller Light Ad: Taste great!. More fulfilling! (if you don't get it move on)
I listen better too. To the words being thrown my way. I watch to see if they taste what they are saying. It is so obvious--the facial expression, the curl of the lip, the eyes and the inflection. These non-verbals say so much about the genuine connection between the phonetical sound manipulations and the truth.
I talk to many people about their plans, their "dreams", their destinations. Most of these people say words that are blander than melba toast.
I asked a young executive going back to get her law degree, "What type of law will you pursue?" (the number 1 question she will be asked!) She said unhesitantly, "I am going into corporate law." I said, "Wow that is so non-specific."
I asked a new college grad what he plans on doing. He said, "I want to be a middle-man." My face scrunched into incredulity. He went on to tell me the man he plans to be in the middle of things. :)
I start off almost every new class I teach in grad school with this question: "Introduce yourself by telling me the lie you tell your parents about what you will do with this degree--the one that works." More than 1000 students have responded, none have protested.
What little lies are we repeating? How do our words taste when we talk about ourselves or the future?
Words are small parts of the truth. They deceive and give certainty. All things are unknowable. The tip of an unfathomable iceberg. Hypnotized and numbed into believing the word---no job title, no phrase truly defines you. Eckhart Tolle
One of my favorite examples: In response to the ever present American question:"What do you do?"
Often I hear: "I am just a___________." The words of feigned humility or low self-esteem. Both are deadly.
We use words that are safe, leave us room for error or escape, non-committal thoughts that give us options, politically correct, non-offensive words that say nothing.
These words also disable the network of opportunity and connections to commonality.
We are much more concerned about not offending or over impressing others than using words that impress us. So our priority is the taste of our audience not words that taste good.
All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. Kahlil Gibran
Take those crumbs and let's make something delicious.
Thanks for reading. John