March 25 06:31 AM

Sharing a few more words about words

April 29, 2009
As one who makes a living with words, I'll admit I'm not always as careful as I should be when using them. When I'm writing stories for the paper, I try to choose those words carefully. Often there is no choice to make. Describing the event or relating the information is simple and/or straightforward. I don't take it lightly though, but I probably don't think about the words that seem to automatically spring to life on the computer screen as much as I should. Ditto for this column. While I think I'm "really saying something" at the time and am all wrapped up in whatever it is I think I'm saying, the words are just spilling out.

So I suppose it's fitting when I get an email filled with words that surprise or shock me. I know when my pen's a little pointy—sometimes I even strive for it in a witty and clever way. But since I never purposely try to be mean or rude I'm sometimes hurt or puzzled by the words that are used to let me know I didn't choose my own words too wisely. Hanging off to one side of my desk I even have a 'BYT' necklace. For those of you who may not know what that's all about, BYT stands for Bite Your Tongue. The necklace consists of a stylized ceramic 'tongue' hanging on a velvet cord along with a gold colored charm that says 'BYT' on one side and the words 'Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.' Let me tell you there are times when my tongue (via this keyboard) is in danger of bisection because I'm biting it so hard. It's always worth it, though. Later on I know I'll never regret spewing out words carelessly. The BYT necklace was the brainchild of a woman who was in my Buddhist study group and an artist friend of hers. Mindfulness—in every aspect of life—is big in Buddhist culture. As with all spiritual practices, it is just that: A practice. A practice that someone like me has to do over and over again to get right.

I've improved, I'll give myself that, having learned the hard way. My tongue can be as sharp as a sword, and my pen a poison arrow. What I lack in mindfulness is taught to me through practice via my aunt, Zizi Teresa.

She recently wrote a few 'Words about Words' and I find it most compelling. She doesn't mind that I want to share it with everyone because it's so useful and good. So while it's my job to put words to some sort of good use in this spot, it's my aunt's words that will make the universe a better place this week.

Here is is:

Words have power. Choose them, use them, wisely.

Words are like ripples on a stream flowing into the universe. We will never now who will be affected by them or to what extent.

Words live for centuries in rules of behavior, myth and folklore, passed along orally from one generation to another.

Printed words survive indefinitely and unless deliberately destroyed are read by countless eyes. Printed words spread their positive or negative influence into countless lives. Whether it be a note to a family member, a letter to a friend, an article in a magazine or newspaper or a book, carefully choose the words you commit to paper.

Words live in our minds and hearts, either adding to or subtracting from our self-esteem, self-respect, sense of well-being and quality of life.

Some words are better left unsaid and unwritten. Not everything needs to be known by everyone.

We are responsible for our words and held accountable for them.

Words can soothe a troubled heart.

Words, once said, can never be recalled and no amount of 'sorry' can change that.

Harsh words bruise the heart.

Words can shatter the fragile self-esteem of a child.

Teasing is cruel.

Words can build bridges of understanding.

Gossip can kill a marriage.

Words can destroy dreams.

Vulgar and crude words de-civilize us.

Words can elevate minds to their highest potential.

Words can drag us down to places best not imagined.

In time, the results of the words we have chosen etch themselves into our faces and reflect in our mannerisms.

Our words reveal, without a shadow of a doubt, who we are in our minds, hearts and souls.

Words have power. Choose them, use them, wisely.

Amen. Namaste. Peace. Shalom.

Email Catherine at

Castle Creek
03 - 25 - 19
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