How many thousands, perhaps millions, of words have been cast toward you? How much of what you have heard has fashioned you into who you have become? Since the day we were born, our caretakers have reared us through the thoughts they have had and the words they have used. Parents, educators, ministers, and numerous authority figures have worked fervently to impart their mantle of knowledge into our awareness.
It makes sense to share this gained knowledge to inform and bring up children to become contributing members of society. It is both reasonable and wise for parents to monitor their children’s progress toward that end. And so we find ourselves reiterating to our children what is acceptable behavior, and what is not acceptable behavior. We also easily begin to form an endless barrage of commentary and a list of questions to reinforce that which we want our children to learn or to do. We then gauge our children’s ongoing success by their willingness to respond according to our expectations.
Cooperation and a shared understanding can foster family harmony. Raising children who think and act in ways that match our family interests and values is an understandable comfort to parents. But with our ever-present, ongoing input, inquiries, and expectations, is it possible our child-rearing efforts overshadow, suppress, or even subvert our children? Where on the continuum is the ratio of our talking to our listening? Are we out of balance? Have we invested so much of ourselves into our children that we have overlooked fostering the unique, wondrous, magical self within each child?
Do we really know who our children are, apart from us? At varied levels of understanding have we encouraged them to discover their own individual desires? Have we honored their personal characteristics? Have we respected their insights? Have we sought out and discussed their questions?
Kahlil Gibran, the late poet, writes that our children are an expression of “Life’s longing for itself…you may give them your love, but not your thoughts, for they have their own thoughts…you may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.”
Each of us came into this world to express who we were born to be, but many of us have become lost into the words of who we were “supposed to become.” When we are enmeshed in so many words that have never been ours, how do we know where others leave off and we begin? How do we know what our own words are? How do we discover our own way?
There is no one answer nor single path back to who we were born to be. There is no panacea to efficiently remedy how many of us were raised. It is likely the adults in our lives did the very best they could do at the time they were raising us. When this was not the case, we have been left to work through the consequences of those events as well — doubling and tripling our efforts to find ourselves in the midst of what were perhaps overwhelming experiences. For some of us, right now, it is enough that we are who we have become. We are content with our life as it is. This is well and good. There is no better nor worse place to be.
For those of us interested in regaining touch with our wondrous, magical selves there is continued work to do. There are key attributes we will need to summon up as we embark on our journey. Honing our awareness is first. Building our intuition and increasing our trust in its guidance is also vital. Intuition is our heart speaking to us. The words of our heart will never lead us astray.
Our exploration will also require ongoing courage, self-observation, perseverance, and honest reflection. With almost certainty, our forgiveness will be called upon as well. Regaining our connection to who we were born to be is worth every effort for this road trip. There may not be a pot of gold at the end of our journey, but there is a refreshing, revitalizing stream of joy.
I owe my soul to no one.
I will not be led by forces outside myself.
It matters not their position, their weight, or pre-supposed authority.
I am sovereign to myself.
I hand my power over to no one.
I react to no fool, nor to foolish behavior.
I write my own tune and play my own song.
I accept that joy is my birthright.
I gratefully claim this gift as mine.
How then could it matter to me if you choose to dither in remorse and regret?
I love you still, but I will not be a party to your "woe is me."
Have we become settled with the notion that it is okay to offer a short cut of ourselves to another? Today's computer technology and the pace of our daily living has made it status quo to send fragmented sentences, a word here or there, or icons to convey the feelings in the message we want to deliver. These quick responses perhaps have their place, but at what point do they become a hindrance instead of a helping hand?
Begrudgingly, I have put up with one of the newest short cuts for the past several weeks: Gmail's Smart Reply. For those who don't use Gmail as their email provider, this is a program that apparently scans incoming emails for the purpose of "helping" us write our own email responses. As we start typing our sentence, Smart Reply jumps in and finishes it for us. Voila! It may not be what we were going to write, nor contain words we were going to use, but oh well, Gmail is telling us this is the "smart reply."
Could Smart Reply, and other programs like it, become easy-to-use options whereby we end up being less present in our written communications? Might we become complacent with doing less of our own thinking? Could there be an ever-progressing cultural assault to dumb us down? Consciously instigated, or not? The less we think for ourselves the easier it becomes to succumb to the box of choices the world outside of us offers.
We human beings are wonderfully complex. The notion that an icon, scattering of words, or a program that completes our sentences is going to convey the fullness of our message is dubious. The time we take to respond, or not, and the words we use to communicate to another speaks volumes to who we are, and to the value we place on our relationships.
And what of the value we place on the most important relationship we have? The one with ourselves. The looming tragedy in relying on these short cuts, is the loss of power in choosing our own words. The words we speak and the sentences we care to author informs us of who we are - and how we have come to know ourselves.
The words we choose are powerful agents in creating our experience. When we say or write that we are "delighted with" something or someone, we are! When we say or write we are "depressed or lonely," we are! Whatever it is we are saying, or writing, this IS how it is. It is not going to be some other way - than the way we are telling it. (Unless we are lying, but that's another topic.) We are are own scriptwriters.
Or are we? Could the steady reliance on these types of technology short cuts be shorting out our inherent power? The words we choose to use and the sentences we author are potent. Depending on the intensity of our feeling that backs the words we choose, therein lies our potential to create; the mix of our feelings and the meanings of our words is a powerful fuel. When we take action with that fuel pack within us, here is the spark that ignites and empowers us to bring our thoughts and ideas into manifestation.
This is not an effort to take us back to the days before "smart" technology. There is a time and place for its use. It IS a shot across the bow, a heads up, and a reminder of the power we wield when we use our own words, author our own sentences, and tell our own stories.
Words are akin to being magical. There is an almost endless array of them available to us for our use. Each one of these words vibrates with its own meaning. They lay waiting, as in a magical pool, to be chosen and fully energized by our intent.
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(By the way, it's possible to delete Smart Reply by going into Gmail settings.)