A person holding a wooden board with three small plants taken out of their pots

Words – Planting Positive Seeds for Life

Words.  There has been a huge struggle with words happening for the past few days.  Heck… to be honest the past two weeks.  Writer’s Block is stretching it a bit far, because as you have probably figured, there are a bazillion topics I could totally reference to fill this page up with words.

Yet with all those topics, and all the words that surround those topics, this page remained white.  A blank expanse of white… taunting me.  After all, how hard can it be to write a bunch of words down?  It’s just words.  They are readily available.  They easily flow right off the tip of one’s tongue.  Oftentimes without any thought as to what we are saying, or how they are being received.

Planting Seeds

But what if we changed how we think about words?  What if we added an Photo of a Monarch Butterfly hanging from a milkweed flower.addendum to the word words?  Instead of just words, it would be words – planting seeds.  All of a sudden a small, inconspicuous word, becomes a glaring reminder of just how powerful of a word, words is.   Because anyone who has ever planted a seed knows only two things can happen.

In 7-10 days you will either see a beautiful, little green shoot popping up through the dirt and soil, or you will see the exact same thing you saw 7-10 days earlier when you planted the seeds.  A big fat nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Well other than the soil that is.  And considering you planted the seeds to begin with, a guess could be ventured that you would be much happier with the first result rather than the second.

Power of Seeds (Words)

Well just like the seeds that are planted, every time words are spoken or uttered, an opportunity occurs to build one up; or to tear one down.  Yeah, I know.  We need to delve into that a little deeper don’t we?

Okay – let’s act out a scenario.

You are sitting at the kitchen table while your significant other, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, whatever floats your boat … is preparing breakfast.  Without looking up from the paper, you exclaim “Hey!  Get me some more coffee wench.”  (While I really kind of like that word for some unknown bizarre reason, I can truthfully say I would not want to hear it in the tone that I hear in my head when reading that sentence.)

Now again, just like the seeds, there are two primary options that are going to happen.  The first is the person cooking breakfast is going to turn around and start hurling back negative words in your direction.  (And honestly, if you talk like that, you deserve what you get.)

The other option is having your breakfast dumped into your lap.  Neither of those are what you wanted… more coffee.  Well wait, unless what is dumped in your lap is coffee and then you’ll probably have bigger things to worry about other than your coffee cup being empty.

Now let’s plant words of kindness.  Same scenario except this time you exclaim, “Hey darling, could I have some more coffee please?  Thank you for cooking breakfast.  It was delicious.”

Photo of a coffee pot on the stovetop spouting steam, with a coffee cup and a can of Folgers coffee on the counter next to the stove. My guess is you will receive a big smile, perhaps even a hug or a kiss, as well as a steaming hot cup of coffee…. in the cup.

Think back to when someone said something to you in a hurtful, mean manner.  How did you feel?  Did you want to continue the relationship?  Were you kind back?  Or did you respond in the same way – mean and hurtful?  When we are mean and hurtful, we do nothing but build walls or barriers.  There is no connection when a wall is built of negative words.

Pruning the Seeds

Y’all know I am extremely passionate about brain science, child development, and how childhood trauma effects us our whole life – even if we aren’t aware of it.  And if you didn’t know that… where have you been??!!  Have you not been paying attention?  Puppies, kids, brain science, my family, dealing with cancer … my top five.  Now you know.

Eek, I digress.   Again.

A huge component of surviving our childhood, is learning how to be resilient.  Being resilient happens as a result of positive, nurturing relationships, where one feels loved, cared for, and most importantly valued.  But the key word there is relationships.  How are relationships started?  If you guessed words – you’ve been paying attention!

Just like the seeds needed water and sunlight to grow, relationships need positive and caring words.  The more positive and caring words, the stronger the relationship.  The stronger the relationship, the more resilient one can be.  The more resilient one is, the faster they can recover from a setback, or negative outcome.

As I am sure you are all aware, suicide is occurring more often, and at alarming rates.  I don’t have any research to support or prove this, but let’s pretend.  What if the reason for so many suicides is because they are not resilient.  If we are talking about a high school student, perhaps all the negative words, taunts, and teasing have tore down any resiliency they might have had.  What if they have no positive relationship, at least they don’t think they do because I am not in any way, shape, or form saying their parents were positive.

What if on the day they snap, it is because someone looked at them and said, “Hurry up!  You are so slow!!”

How many times have you said that to a child?  Heck, I know I’ve said it to my hubby a time or two.  Perhaps ten.  But who’s counting?  Not me.

But we should be.  We should always be pruning our words.  Because there is no way to know when what we will say could be a matter of life or death.

I think back to my chemo journey.  I know you’ve heard me say a time or two that while I know it is said to be kind and helpful, telling me I am strong is a bit of a pet peeve.  In fact I just wrote about that a few weeks ago in Surviving a Rough Week.   In that post I wrote about how changing the word ‘strong’ to ‘grace’ made more sense to me.  Well today I am going to say, what about using the word resilient?  You are so resilient.  In other words you recover quickly and easily.

Not that bad things do not happen to you.  But that you recover quickly and easily.  Because let’s be honest – bad things happen.  Especially to good people.  But how are some able to recoup faster?  If you guessed resiliency, I have done my job.

Let’s think back to that teenager on the day they are going to snap.  What if someone had come up to them that day and asked, “Are you okay?”  Or “Johnny, I really enjoy having you in my class.  Your natural ability to see both sides of a story helps me to see things in a different way.”  Making them feel valued.  Making them feel honored.  Building their resiliency.

Harvesting the Seeds

Unfortunately, just like after we harvest the seeds and ship them off somewhere, we may not always see the impact our words have one someone.  Sometimes words take a long time to grow, to build enough strength in that the person can truly feel the words.

I think of raising a teenager and how easy it would be to resort to negative, demeaning words when dealing with some of the hormonal issues occurring.  Then I think of when they become young adults, and how because positive, encouraging words were used, how much better they can handle adult life.  If you’re lucky, you’ll even get a “thank goodness you didn’t listen to me” from said kid.  Our words can build a wall, squash one’s spunk, tear down one’s tenacity.  Or they can build a relationship, nurture one’s spirit, foster resiliency.

All because of words.  What a powerful seed to plant.

Until next time, capture life kreatively!

Myra

P.S.  Have you had someone in your life who made you feel unconditionally loved, cared for, and nurtured?  Give them a shout-out in the comments below.  I would love to thank them as well!

Disclaimer:  I have not personally read these books, however, they have high reviews.


 

 

Deer crossing the road in Yosemite National Park

Surviving a Rough Week

Do you ever have days or weeks where you just don’t think you have the strength to push on?  Well, this past week has been like that for us… what you’d call “a rough one”.

Shocker huh?

I mean in the grand scheme of things how many days can you go without having a rough one and needing strength to go on?  In our house it seems that just when we think the going is good, something jumps out in front of us and BAM!  Our feet get swept out from underneath us.  Or in this case the front end of the car did not withstand the force of the deer crossing the road in front of it. Photo of white Ford Transit van's hood after being struck by a deer

As I sat and processed this new development, predicament, tragedy, devastation, travesty, mishap, misfortune, wreck, calamity, catastrophe, bad fortune, unluckiness, shock, struggle, and wreck (if you just took a stab in the dark and guessed I went to thesaraus.com and looked up synonyms for tragedy, you guessed correctly); a question popped into my mind – if we didn’t have days where we get knocked down to our knees, can we appreciate the days where we don’t and have the strength to get back up again?

Just like can we really understand what someone else is going through if we haven’t been through the same thing?  And then even if we do experience the same thing, can we truly  understand what someone else is feeling when we all have different perceptions, different experiences, different interpretations?  How many times have you found yourself nodding your head in agreement while someone describes an event, or story to you because you would swear up and down that you went through exactly the same thing?  But have you?

Big deal… you hit a deer.

And I will bet someone reading this is going to say, “Big deal.  You hit a deer.” and by golly!  They ain’t wrong. In the great big grand scheme of things,  Deer crossing the road in Yosemite National Parkwrecking the hood of a brand new vehicle, with less than 7,000 miles on it, and turning it into a work of Picasso is not that big of a deal. As long as the driver is okay and walked away, the worst case scenario, is having to pay the deductible and until it can be fixed, the car is out of commission.

Until you start adding in that this is a work vehicle, which means what was a simple job of going  to the job site and working now becomes a barrage of rapid fire questions:  what vehicle can I drive that I can lock to protect all my tools and materials I need to complete this job?  And do I have the money to pay the deductible?  And how do I pay the other bills coming due if I have to put money towards the deductible?  And if my work vehicle is out of commission am I going to be able to go work?  And if I don’t work how will I be able to pay the deductible, or buy groceries?  Which apparently are important as well, so I’ve been told.

My point, in case you haven’t seen it yet, is that we cannot imagine how tragic something is for another person because we aren’t aware of the extenuating circumstances surrounding their tragedy.  Additionally, if someone has a good, supportive network their tragedies may not seem as tragic as they would to someone who is alone.  And don’t even get me started about childhood trauma and brain development and how that affects how we as adults handle traumatic events and stress.  Seriously … don’t.  Because that will be a post the length of Minnesota.  I have a lot to say about that subject.

So getting back to my original question which was (in case you forgot because I’ve gone off point too many times):  How do we handle those days where we get knocked down?  What is it about human beings that they can keep getting punched and fall down repeatedly because they keep standing up?  And what makes it so some people can get back up so much more quickly than others?

Grace is Moral Strength

Wasn’t what you were expecting is it?  But let’s think about this for a moment… or two.  Or less.  Whichever works best for you.  Photo of a small waterfall flowing into Gooseberry Falls near Duluth, MN

One of the many definitions of grace is:  moral strength.  Breaking that down, moral can be defined as:  of, relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character.   Diving deeper we can say, grace is strength of, relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character.   Which can then be translated into: one with strong will and character, or full of grace.  Oh ye of little faith that didn’t think I’d be able to connect all the dots there.  Yes, I know some of you were starting to wonder.  I feel the doubt.

I could also go on to quote some very familiar sayings like “there but for the grace of God go I”, or “by the grace of God”, or “fall from grace”… yes I realize I did actually share the quotes, hush!  I included them for the whippersnappers who are years younger than me and may not know what quotes I am referring to.  I’m being considerate believe it or not.

Anywho, I digress.  Again.  What was I talking about?  Oh yeah!  Grace.  I think I’m going to change the definition to:  Grace – one’s ability to repeatedly recover from getting knocked down.

What exactly does “you’re so strong” mean?

Now we all know that one of my least favorite things, despite it being a good intention, is being told by someone that I am strong.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, when you are in the midst of something rough – battling cancer, losing a loved one, dealing with a debilitating disease – and someone says that, I know for me at least, I questioned just exactly what that meant.

I realize this may sound strange, but when I change the word from strength to grace, suddenly it makes more sense to me.  “You are so strong” suddenly becomes “You are full of grace” and I realize that yes, I am full of strong will Close-up photo of a white and pink orchidand character and I know that whatever comes my way I will be able to overcome and conquer it.  If I learned anything from having to endure a year and a half of ongoing surgeries, chemo, and mental fatigue, it is that I can do it… whatever it is I want to do.

So whether it’s fighting for my health, or fighting for my sanity (oh stop, I hear you smirking that one is going to be a long fight!), or fighting the rough battles of just everyday life, with grace, dignity, and perseverance I will keep standing back up when I get knocked down.

Oh, did I mention stubbornness?  No?  Well you can exhale.  I will leave that for another time.

Until next time, capture life kreatively!

Myra

P.S.  What has been your roughest day/week?  Have you been able to find the grace you need to overcome it?  If you have, or if you haven’t, leave me a comment below.  I will reach out – you are not alone!

P.P.S  Check out all the new places you can sign up for my weekly newsletter!  On the sidebar of my blog page, on the footer of every page, and if it’s working correctly <insert eye roll here> a pop-up asking you to sign up.  And if all of that doesn’t work, email me.  I’ll add you I promise!