Harnessing the Power of Words

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I love words! I love reading words. I love writing words. I love studying words.  I love words by themselves when they make funny sounds like, “plop,” “sizzle,” or “catamaran.” But what I love about words the most is that they can describe ideas that are bigger than what I am able to perceive in my 3-dimensional reality.

I can read words to describe the things I CAN see, but can’t explain, like gravity or photosynthesis. And there are the words that describe things I CAN’T see like quantum physics, God, and the meaning of life. Words can also describe something I may never see in this 3D reality. I may never see a flying unicorn pooping rainbows in the clouds, but there are words to create that image, as I just did. Therefore, in my mind, the unicorn exists.

And there lies my fascination with words: endless possibilities

In the world of words, anything can happen. From the tiniest who in Whoville to the ever-expanding infinite source of all-that-is, and everything in between, all can be explained with words. (Except for the “ineffable.”) And so for the last few years, I was absorbed in a world of words.

Reading, writing, and listening to words all day, I got lost in the world of ideas and stories. Some stories were so inspiring that I beat myself up for not being “that hero” myself. Other stories were just so fun to imagine, I lost touch with reality. Either way, I lived in my head, and neglected the “real world.” I forgot there is life outside of words. I forgot I had a body, and I gained a novel’s worth of weight. I finally I realized it was time to reclaim my life in “reality”.

So, I dragged my sedentary butt to a yoga studio

I didn’t realize how far I had let my body fall off the radar,  but I was stiff and creaky. I begrudged all the things my body couldn’t do in class. Then one day I had a teacher who spoke my language.  She instructed us on how to do the “tree” pose. We faced a window that overlooked a pond, and we were guided to pick a tree to gaze at.

“Be the tree,” she said, as we stood on one foot. There was something romantic about the idea of becoming the tree, and I felt like I had made a long-lost connection with an old friend. I was a tree, and the tree was me. And like photosynthesis, I transformed that idea into energy.

In another session, the instructor was trying to get us to pull our shoulders back, but instead of saying pull your “shoulders back,” she said, “squeeze your wing-blades.” My heart instantly took flight.  Shoulder blades are shoulder blades, but unicorn wings, (or angel wings) are magical! I had never thought of my body as magical before.

Suddenly, being aware of my body was fun!

I imagined myself flying over hill and vale suspended by my “wing” blades. There was something heroic in that image. It instantly reminded me of riding my bike as a kid, when I pretended I was riding a horse through a sun-kissed savannah. And here I was as an adult on my hands and knees envisioning myself as a unicorn. Eventually, I learned to play with other ideas inspired by poses, such as warrior and happy baby.

What I learned is that the thing about words, is they are just the “carrier of meaning.” They are not the thing itself. As Alan Watts said, “the menu is not the meal.” You can’t drink the word, “coffee.” But you can use the word “coffee” to order a cup of coffee that you CAN drink. And if you are at certain coffee shops, you can even order a unicorn coffee drink.

And then I remembered reading various spiritual texts that talked about speaking words to create things into existence. Both the Bible and Vedic texts have phrases that say, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God (Brahman), and the word was God (Brahman).” And of course, Genesis states, “God SAID let there be light.”

Through speech, the word became flesh

And that is how I realized a fun way to use words to embody a magical life. So here is a way that I’ve been playing with words to speak the reality I want to live in my existence.

Pick some powerful words that you want to feel, and speak them. Let your body be the bookmark. Overlay the sparkly feeling of the word you want to embody in everything you do. Speak the words, and feel the meaning in your body. Here are some examples:

“Shake it off.”  shake off feelings of resentment, self-doubt, or any other bugger. Literally, shake your body and envision yourself sloughing off that old skin.

“Jump for joy!”

Literally, jump, and feel the joy. Speak the word, jump and feel the joy!

“Reach for the stars”

This reminds me of the closing statement of Casey Kasem, but stretch your arms to the sky and imagine reaching for the stars. What star do you want to pull from the sky? Put a power word in the star, and put it in your pocket. It will always be there.

“Grow / Expand”

Take a deep breath and envision your lungs as well as your awareness growing and expanding. Let your awareness expand beyond your body as you fill your lungs with everything around you, including the breath of trees and gas of stars.

“Leap to new heights”

Take the leap… take some leaps in your house, and envision the thing you want in life that you are leaping towards.

“Love” Love yourself

How do you love yourself? Treat yourself to a sensory experience. Love the tea you drink. Love the bath. The power of touch has been proven to release oxytocin and create a sense of calm. Try gently brushing your fingers on the inside of your forearms, and send love to yourself. Feel the tingly sensations. It is love.

“Tall and Light (and light)”

These are the words I use to correct my posture. I imagine myself tall like a tree grounded in the earth, and light like a feather suspended from heaven. The point is to sense the “space” — that quantum airiness— between the vertebra and stand tall. Do not be weighted by gravity, but light on feet. Be confident and also be a light in the darkness. Be a beacon of light.

“Be a pineapple”

I had to throw this in for my daughter who loves pineapples: The saying goes, “Stand tall, wear a crown, and be sweet on the inside.”  All that metaphorical goodness contained in a tropical fruit!

And my favorite: “Sparkle!”

In everything I do, I try to imagine “sparkle.” Sometimes I incorporate into my breathing exercise envisioning sparkly light filling up my body with glitter. Sometimes I look for “sparkle” when I wash dishes and the sunlight catches the suds and sparkles. Be the sparkle, or find the sparkle.  But if you focus on sparkle, find a way to embody or discover sparkliness in your life.

The opportunities to link fun words and images into your day-to-day living will give you a fresh new way to live in your world. (And help keep your mind from wandering into the bad neighborhoods of self-doubt and negativity.) You can use the words to imbue magic with everything you do. What other fun words can you speak into existence?

Kari Erkkila

Author’s Bio

Kari Erkkila is a recovering perfectionist who loves to play with words and art. Positive Words have become a favorite tool for exploring how language can be used to create a joyful life and a better world. Follow her journey on Instagram (Stink Big and Skurlfriend), or join the Facebook group, Stink Big!, a community for people who THINK big thoughts about being creative, but have been too afraid of “stinking.”

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