I think it is important to remember the power of our words. What we speak is so powerful. We can use our words to make someone feel so special and we can also use our words to tear someone down. I can remember hearing several people tell me after my father passed away that they can never remember my father saying an unkind word about anybody. What a beautiful thing to say about another human being. I want to strive to use my words for good. I want to make others smile with my smile. I want every one who enters my world to feel a little better off after meeting me. I know it is a tall order, but I plan on making my words a gift to those who hear them.
Today in your journal think about all the wonderful words that have been gifts to you. What can you do or say to someone to be that special gift? I am grateful that each day seems to get better and better. The other day I was driving to my yoga class, the top was down on my car and I became overwhelmed with gratitude. I realized that at that moment I couldn’t recall a time when I felt happier. Life is so good and I am thrilled with all the possibilities that are coming to me. Express yourself and your love to those who enter your world today. Be the gift!
I recently taught two classes for Inter Valley Health Services in Palm Springs. My first class was on journaling for beginners and cowards and then I taught a class on the ethical will. I love teaching the ethical will workshop because it reminds me of how important the words we speak and the words we leave behind are. I spent the entire two hours sharing about my gift of the ethical will and what it was that I wanted to leave behind.
Words in our lives are so very important. What are some things you would like to say but may feel like you can’t? If you try putting them into a letter or your private thoughts into a journal you may be surprised about how much needs to come out.
As I was leaving the class I got a sweet text from my (almost) 21 year old son that said: “I love you mama. Just wanted to say that.” Of course that warmed my heart since I had been thinking of all 4 of my kids while teaching the class.
The beauty of the ethical will is that it is not a legal binding document, but it is really a love letter that you write for your family. What are the hopes and dreams you would like to see all of your offspring achieve? What do you hope they will realize about their life that you see that you want them to also see. What about your family traditions do you hope they will remember? What would you like for them to cherish?
As I write these love letters to my friends and family I will leave these behind because I want them to know I cherish each of them. Remember words are so very important. Who do you need to write to? What are those things you wish you could have said to those who are no longer a part of your world?
This morning on my hike I was thinking about when my youngest son was little and I used to say to him: “Kevin use your words…” . Being that he was the youngest of 4 he didn’t have to talk, he could grunt and his siblings would give him what it was he wanted. Generally because they didn’t want him to cry or whine. Well, eventually Kevin began to talk instead of whine or grunt or point! The visual came to me because I began to think about the power of words in our lives. Have you been struck by the beauty of someone saying to you with meaning…”I love you” or “I hear you”. Words do have a power of their own, a power for good. I have been making an effort to really speak my truth, by saying the words that are sometimes left unspoken. Words are important, like “I am sorry” and “Please forgive me”.
As I teach my students about memoir writing and the journey of using the pen to find yourself I think it is important not just the words we choose, but the opportunity to remember them. I have been blessed in my lifetime to have heard so many wonderful words. I want to spend the rest of my life sharing my words with those I love. Words of encouragement, words of love, words of blessings and hope. I want my words to be a present to those I am around. I want to use my words, and to remember to use them wisely.
Today in your writing I want you to remember as many times as possible where words have encouraged you. Who spoke those words to you? Were they whispered to you or shouted out to you? Try to go deep to the feelings of what those words felt to you and how you feel today about those words. You may need to pull out some emails or letters and find those kind love letters written to you. I had a box when I was living in San Jose that I kept full of love letters written to me from my students. Several come to mind, I remember getting one written in cute 1st grade writing print that said:” Ms. Coia, you are the best teacher I have ever had.” (So cute since the student may have had only one teacher before me!) Or this one that said: “I love Ms. Coia because she is so smart, she probably knows 1 +1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1+ 1 + 100 + 20 + 10 + 100=”
Start collecting your words that have been written to you, some may just be carved on your heart. Cherish them. This week use your words to give a blessing to someone else.
I have realized through writing that I can get to know myself on a more deeper level. It is through the exploratory writing that one does, especially with memoir, that you get to explore what it is that is unique about you. I never knew the joy that writing could bring me. It is through those times of deep writing that one begins to see more clearly. If you are in the process of recording your life story you will experience many highs and lows. Many times as we explore and write, the theme of our life becomes more clear to us. Have you found your bliss? What causes you to smile? A great writing exercise to do is to map out your life in either 5 or 10 year increments. Recording your life story this way will help you see the movement of your life. Is there a 5 or 10 year period that you recall as the happiest time of your life? What about a low time in your life? How did you manage to survive? What advice would you like to leave behind for your children and grandchildren? As you look at your map of your life, you can even graph the feelings you felt at the time. Were you in a job that you loved or hated? How did you feel about your childhood? How do you feel about retirement? Write about the greatest love of your life. There are so many areas to write about, but the best way to write is to just start. Maybe you can begin just by writing whatever comes into your mind. If you still feel stuck try this one…what if you could only take one memory with you into eternity…what would it be? Start small, but by putting your words on paper you just may find that bliss you have been looking for!