“The only way to restore harmony is to act with wisdom, integrity, stability and dignity.” — Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE
January 14 th, soon after the shooting in Arizona, i published a blog that bears clarification. I wrote, “I once heard it said that ‘words are like bullets,’ and though this metaphor was intended to impress on us the idea that what we say has the power to wound others, in this instance, the analogy is more than an apt turn of the phrase.” My statement drew some objection: One reader said “Words are like bullets only if we take them into our heart.” Another reader said, “Words can be used irresponsibly and can hurt …. but bullets tear through flesh and damage and destroy lives …”
As a writer, i have always felt — first and deeply — that words are my friends, my “medium of choice” to clarify my thinking, bring my thoughts into manifestation, and help myself and others heal. I once read a story about a Hassidic rabbi who saw God in all things, so much so that during a time of great peril, reciting the first three letters of the Hebrew alphabet lifted him into the presence of God and saved him from certain death. Thinking one day about the verse “… and the word was with God and the Word was God” helped me to understand writing as a way to keep company with the God of my heart.
Perhaps I should have mentioned all this in my previous blog, as it is not my intention to convey that all words are like bullets or that we each must not exercise discrimination as to what we take in. Some words hurt and wound; and sometimes those words stay with us for years no matter how hard we try to disregard them. Those words damage and destroy lives as surely as any bullet.
We do have a choice about what we say, how we say it, and what we take in. Because our words reflect our consciousness, what we say conveys how we perceive the world and what we set in motion. The poet Hafiz refers to this choice as a “divine invitation” in his poem of the same name, an opportunity, an appeal, to see God in everything:
You have been invited to meet
No one can resist a Divine Invitation.
That narrows down all our choices
To just two:
We can come to God
Dressed for Dancing,
Be carried on a stretcher
To God’s Ward.