I think of Bernie often when an unkind thought plays through my brain. It is my clear choice whether to allow that thought to have an audience. We are given daily opportunities to use words to soothe or to harm. Words can comfort, calm, heal,inspire and center others. They can also chastise, demean, judge, harm, and defeat. What words do we use to describe ourselves and those we love? Which phrases do we repeat to ourselves daily?Do we look in the mirror and say something kind, or do we pick apart our appearance? Do we try something new with an open mind, or do we repeat the stories about all that we "aren't good at" until we fail? Do we verbally encourage those around us? Do we use loving words, or the piercing swords of gossip?
The biggest challenge I face is to use kind words and thoughts toward one who I feel has "wronged" me. How can we offer a kind word or a loving thought when we have been wounded? Too often this is where our words become swords to deflect a fencing partner. Except no one really wins. You can pierce me, I can wound you. I may feel the temporary rush of putting you down, but then shame creeps in and curls up next to blame. We three are awkward company until a change in thoughts and words brings relief. Every major religion challenges followers to forgive themselves and others, and to extend kindness to their "enemies". In my faith, this is Holy Week. What a perfect time to explore changing old fencing patterns, to make forgiveness a word we use daily. Can it be as simple as Bernie makes it? Can our mindfulness of whether we are using words or swords change our actions? I'm going to try, one word at a time. How about you?