Mermaid Tree

Exploring the complex, celebrating the simple

Speaking Consciously April 24, 2012

Tonight is World Book Night and it got me thinking about the power of all the words we say–to each other and ourselves. Whether they are written, typed, spoken, or simply (and powerfully) thought, words carry with them a vibration that radiates outward into the world. They influence those around you as well as the world in which we live in ways you may not even realize.

When I was a little girl, my mother once observed that in describing people and things, I would never use the word “hate”. Instead, I would say things like “dislike” or “really don’t care for”. She asked me why that was and my simple answer was that “hate” is a strong word and that I didn’t like using it; I didn’t like how it felt to say it. At the time, I didn’t know anything about metaphysics or spiritual significance of words, but I still felt that the word itself wasn’t one I wanted to put out into the world. As I grew older and studied energy and vibration and the power of thought, this moment came back to me in a different light. They say that children are much more spiritually aware because they haven’t been corrupted by societal norms just yet–no one has told them that what they think or feel is crazy or abnormal. This may explain my aversion to “hate”.

Maybe it is because I have been journaling since I learned how to write, but words–and word choice–have always held special significance to me. I have also been an avid reader all my life, loving to lose myself in a world beautifully composed of artful diction. All of this makes me very aware of what I say outloud and how my words affect those around me. The saying Every thought is a prayer is common throughout the metaphysical community, but I think sometimes we focus on the conscious thoughts that we try to put out into the Universe, and then overlook the ones that just pass through–however damaging they may be. You know the ones…

I wish I was _______ .(smarter, skinnier, taller, shorter, better, faster, etc)

She/He doesn’t deserve ___________; I do. (that job, that money, that relationship, that vacation, that life, etc)

I’ll never be able to _________.(get organized, become financially stable, get a better job, be loved, etc)

The ________ cause is hopeless–this world will never change. (hunger, poverty, religious freedom, gender equality, etc)

And the list goes on into eternity…

We may think that since a negative thought is against ourselves that we are not actually hurting anyone, but even this kind of “victimless” negative thinking still sends negativity into the world. Saying words like “can’t”, “won’t”, “never”, “always”, and “hate” sends that negativity into the collective potential energy that is forming our present and future and creates those worlds that we predict. Ironically, this just makes us more displeased and then we say more negative things and the whole thing is just one big negativity spiral downward. We need to start saying things that lift us up. I know this is all old stuff that people have been saying for decades, but it seems as though this message has been shouted from the highest mountain and still is not heard. Or, at least, it has not been taken to heart.

The point is not to feel guilty or like a failure when you do have negative thoughts. When they happen, instead of wallowing in the negative thought or wallowing in the guilt for having the negative thought, just recognize it and come up with a solution and move on. If necessary, write down your solution, or use a smartphone app to keep track of all of them. That way, if the thought dares interrupt your day again, you can look at your solution and know that you have already handled the situation. If there is absolutely nothing you can feasibly do about it, there is no point in thinking about it anymore. This is a statement that I need to tattoo onto the inside of my hands. Why the inside of my hands? So that when I find myself being brought to tears for the umpteenth time about the same situation and I’m covering my face because I don’t want to deal with the world, I can read this phrase and snap myself out of a potentially dangerous thought process and save myself from a completely pointless night of sadness. I am not suggesting that you get a tattoo, but I do recommend writing this statement out somewhere accessible to you throughout the day or repeating it to yourself when you start to veer into pointless negative thinking territory.

Random thoughts aside, you do have the power to consciously choose the words you use for your inner and outer dialogues. When speaking to yourself, writing in your journal, and conversing with other people, choose your words carefully. I am not saying do not fully express yourself or pretend to be something that you are not, but rather to choose not to add to the negative flow of words that is already out there. We all know there are ways to make a situation sound way worse than it really is in order to gain sympathy from others, or to feel sorry for ourselves. Make the conscious decision to stop this cycle. Set achievable goals to change those things with which you are unhappy and make realistic plans to help you to get there. Is there a cause that you think is being neglected? Do something about it instead of complaining that no one else does. Feel burnt out because no one seems to care about something the way you do? Take a break to recharge and remember that everyone has their own purpose on this planet–they may not be meant to dedicate their lives to your issues. That doesn’t make anyone unrealistic or heartless.

Perhaps the most difficult thing to do is avoid others who are content in their negative moods. I have been one of these people myself from time to time. Do not let them lure you into complaining about life for extended periods of time with no clear discussion of solutions. The old adage Misery loves company is very true and those that aren’t in a peaceful state most often try to bring down those around them in an effort to make themselves feel better. If there is a friend in need of a sympathetic ear, oblige them, but do so without contributing your own complaints. The best way to help is by demonstrating unconditional love, not by encouraging negative thought.

Remember, you are a spiritual being and a contributor to the continuous creation and unfolding of our world. Do not take this responsibility lightly. The beauty and love of Spirit is within you, and so your words–your impact on the Universe–should come from this sacred place inside.

For some practice in feeling the impact of words, try choosing different positive words to meditate on (love, acceptance, tolerance, health, equality, truth, etc). Start by centering yourself and visualizing the word in your heart or crown chakra. Feel the energy and emotion that comes with the word. Feel that energy flow through your whole body and radiate outward in waves. Repeat the word over and over in your mind or even aloud. Feel the energy continue to radiate outward and visualize its reach growing farther and farther with each repetition or breath. You can also visualize the earth and send the energy to the earth, or visualize the energy of the word flowing downward into the earth. However you choose to do it, I suggest trying different words and feeling for subtle (or significant) differences. The more you do this, the more you will find yourself feeling the energy of the word as you think or say it throughout your day.

Please share any stories or experiences you have had in the replies below.


In the Magickal Spotlight September 14, 2009

It was a Saturday afternoon and I’m in one of the big downtown bookstores.  Naturally, I spend most of my time in the “New Age/ Metaphysics” aisle.  I absolutely LOVE bookstores, and I especially love scoping out the other people in the aisle (discreetly of course).  Some of the most helpful encounters I’ve had have been with strangers I started talking with in the New Age section.

For instance, when I was 15 and just getting actively interested in “alternative spirituality,” I started off by researching Wicca and magick.  To be honest, I was intimidated by the whole thing and had no idea how to start.  But I was determined! My friends and I would go after school to the bookstore that was close by, and they would let me drag them into the New Age section. (Luckily I had a few friends who were also interested in exploring Wicca, so we were like a support group for each other).   Anyway, we usually had the aisle to ourselves, but one afternoon an older teenage boy was in there perusing the shelves.  I don’t even know how it started, but he ended up coming over to talk to me and we ended up talking for the longest time. I was hesitant at first, because like everyone else, I had been taught – don’t talk to strangers! But he had such positive energy and I got a genuine “helpful-with-no-ulterior-motive” vibe from him.* He told me all about his own experiences with clairvoyance, spell work, and a whole bunch of other things. And he let me ask a TON of questions! I felt so relieved! A kindred spirit. Someone my own age who understood.  I told him I was looking for books to help me get started and he picked one up with confident ease and knowledge, and told me it would be a great one to start off with.

Well OF COURSE I wanted it, but I didn’t have any money with me (hey, I was a broke high schooler).   I told him I would come back and buy it later.  But he did the most amazing thing.   He pulled out his wallet and handed me the money to buy it.  I started to protest but he told me that it was important I get started learning, and that he wanted to help.  So we went to the register and I bought my first book about magick EVER.**  I can’t even express how grateful and moved I was. To this day I remember that encounter as one of the most significant experiences of my life.

Which brings me back to present day, almost 8 years later.  It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m standing in the New Age section of the same chain of bookstores (different store location, but same chain) and I see the Revised and Expanded version of the book the boy got me. It’s been out for a while and I never felt like I HAD to have it. I’ve definitely thought about it (especially since I no longer have my original copy.  (I loan my books out and sometimes they never get returned – it happens!).  But this time I just really felt like I should get it.  It felt important for me to go back to the beginning and revisit the basics that I had learned so long ago.  It felt wonderful to once again buy the book that was my first introduction into the world of magick – and this time I had years of learning, teaching, and….my own money!

Soooo I head to the checkout with a spring in my step! I make it through the long-ish line pretty quickly.

I’m at the register.   I put the book on the checkout counter.  I’m reaching into my wallet.  Then it happens: I hear the sales lady say to me (in a fairly loud voice) “It seems like everyone is getting into magic these days.”  I tense.  I feel the other cashier’s head turn and look at me.  I can feel the gazes of the people in the line land on me.  I’ve been placed in a spotlight.

People want to see what kind of person buys a book on magick, I guess.  If they were expecting to see someone wearing all black with pentacles draped all over them, than I’m sure I disappointed.  (There isn’t ANYTHING wrong with dressing that way, but it’s just not really my style).  I’m in jeans, flat black shoes, and I have on a long sleeve black shirt with a lavender polo shirt layered on top.  I have small amethyst earrings, a stylish gray purse, and my hair is pulled back into a very ordinary ponytail.  I look…boringly normal.  If the sales lady had drawn attention to me by exclaiming over some other book…like a cook book…or even a romance novel, people would have glanced over and then returned their attention to something else.  But now that magick has been mention, the curious looks linger, sharp and attentive.  (And no I wasn’t just being paranoid, I promise!)

In all my years of book purchasing I have never had someone comment on the “strange” books I was buying. Not even when I was in high school and I was making the purchase in my Catholic School uniform. Sure, I got some lifted eyebrows, but no one ever voiced an observation.

I could have just shrugged off the sales lady’s comment and ended the conversation; but I didn’t want to do that. I know she didn’t mean any harm, but it felt as if I had been stereotyped in a way.  I got the feeling that she (and the other people listening in) might see me as one of those people who are interested in magic because it’s in a lot of popular culture nowadays. And I couldn’t let myself be thought of that way. Especially not when I was buying this book – the book that had helped me start on my path. I’ve worked so hard and faced too much prejudice in the past 8 years to allow my faith and my way of living to be reduced to a cliche.  It’s important for people to realize that the use of magick is an active part of people’s lives, and it shouldn’t be dismissed as something silly.  So I continued the impossible conversation.

I made sure to smile even though I was still a little uncomfortable.  Noooo need to come across as a bitchy little witchy since everyone was watching!  I said “Well, this isn’t really new to me” or something like that. “I bought the original version a few years ago. This is the revised and expanded one.” The cashier (who was being very conversational about the whole thing and not the least bit accusatory or confrontational) goes on to tell me (still in a loud voice) “Oh yeah, I had some friends who were Wiccan and they invited me over to look at my aura and stuff with candles.” I’m thinking “Um, you don’t need candles to see auras! What technique were they using? Maybe what she means is that they used candles for lighting since overhead lights can be harsh.” Then I reminded myself that this was not the best time to go into Teacher mode. I should just complete my purchase and go. More heads are turning after that last comment. Out loud I say “Ooh…ok…well, were they being real about it or were they just kind of…joking around because it’s ‘cool’?” I really didn’t mean to be offensive, but I HAD to ask!

Luckily she doesn’t take offense and tells me “They were serious about it. They said I had a really big aura and that it would be easy for me to see spirits and stuff.” My thoughts: “Did you have to bring up the topic of spirits?? Great. It can be difficult enough approaching that topic with open minded people. You blurting that little tidbit out in the store probably just reinforced a lot of stereotypes.” I’m also thinking “Having a REALLY big aura actually isn’t healthy. You should pull it back in and shield.” At which point I had to stop myself from reaching out and scanning her energy to get a more in depth reading. That would have been rude.

She finally hands me the shopping bag and I realize she’s still telling me stuff. “…but I don’t want to see spirits because then I’d probably end up being one too soon” or something like that which really didn’t make much sense. But I guess seeing spirits is a legitimate scary idea for most people, so I could understand her aversion.

I realize this conversation has been kind of a big mess. My turn in line is over.  I have my purchased item and other people are still waiting in line.  I can’t linger to question and correct her statements.  So I’ll have to let her comment about spirits go.  At least I kept my composure and was polite.  Hopefully people will realize that just because you’re buying a book on magick doesn’t mean your a wierdo.  It’s not their judgment of me that really bothers me, it’s their impression about magick, wicca, witchcraft and the like that I’m concerned about.  I really want to give an impromptu lecture on the topic, but like I said…my turn in line is over and people want to get on with their own purchases. So I laugh (because her statement WAS kind of ridiculously hilarious), smile again, shake my head and say “Ok, well I’ll see you later” and leave the store.

Maybe I didn’t handle the situation as gracefully as I could have.   But at least I didn’t deny who I was.  I’ve grown more confident and more determined to openly stand by my beliefs – despite whatever judgments people like to make.  If I was buying that book for the first time 8 years ago and the same thing happened, I probably would have felt intimidated.  I might even have felt like I had been caught doing something wrong.   Now however, my concern is with re-shaping the way that alternative spirituality is viewed, and making sure that stereotypes are eradicated. The conversation with the sales lady definitely can’t be counted as a “win,” but at least I tried to remove part of the cliche…

It’ difficult to explain, but I feel like the whole thing was cyclical in nature.  Like purchasing the book again and having that experience has brought me full circle somehow.  And now it’s time to get started on a whole new phase.  Maybe a “revised and expanded” edition of my own life…who knows!

*While it is great to meet like-minded people, ALWAYS be cautious! Sadly there are lots of “fake” teachers out there, so use your judgment and don’t trust blindly!

**That beloved book was True Magic:  A Beginner’s Guide by Amber K.  I highly recommend it and am excited about reading the Revised and Expanded version.

Have you ever been put in the “magickal spotlight”? Leave a comment below and tell us about it.