Magic Words for Moving Things

We live in a funny world. Many people, myself included, use things more than is necessary. White sugar, caffeine, hand sanitizer, and words.

We are taught that practicing affirmations is beneficial and that we can influence the future by the power of attraction as long as we clearly say what we want in word form.

These things are great.

But how often are we taking the time to truly feel the words we speak?



I think about gratitude a whole lot. I think about the things I am grateful for before I go to bed and I wake up thinking about being grateful. The word itself is like my mind’s coziest sweater in its little repertoire of favorite outfits.  But the other day, I took a whole few minutes and just closed my eyes and tried to feel grateful. 

I learned quickly that there is a difference between feeling the gratitude that hits me after a near-miss car accident and the gratitude I feel as I go to sleep each night while saying the words in a semi-rush as dreams rush in. I don’t always feel the words I speak, even when I think I do.

This matters. This matters a lot.

Why Meanings Matter

How can I manifest my reality if I’m using words without meanings? How can I write about some aspect of life when I am habitually and unconsciously feeling a shadow of it?

There are no magic words for moving things. In order to make any word magic, you have to feel it. You have to close your eyes and give it a whole minute of your time. Or find another way that works for you.

Some feelings happen on their own. You bump your head and feel angry, you see a familiar face and feel joy. You almost get sideswiped in your car and you feel grateful. But choosing to feel joy or choosing to feel grateful or choosing even to feel angry is something that is a little harder. It’s more than a word.

What Things Can Words Move?

Maybe words can be used to move objects.  But I think that they are far more effective at moving mindstuffs. At moving feelings and thoughts; mental states and situations. By choosing to actually feel some of my words, maybe I’ll stand a greater chance at shifting a nasty mood or climbing out of a depressed state. Instead of convincing myself that I’ll be calm in a few hours, I can imagine the feeling of calmness now; cultivate it, allow it, embody it.

There is a really, really big difference between saying I feel happy and thinking about what those words mean. Maybe it’s not happy; maybe it’s elated, excited, jittery, confused. Maybe it’s even sad; I may feel happy because I’m sad that I have to leave.

Having an awareness of what we do actually feel can be great, and learning to make it go the other way around also seems useful. Choosing to feel grateful, gentle, generous, content. Choosing to feel your mental-state-of-choice for a few moments. Just not happy because really, what does that even mean.

What About Bad Feelings?

While I was flying from Austin to Connecticut a few days ago, something pretty cool happened. I was terribly scared. It had been years since I’d flown, and the idea of being thousands of feet in the air was rather terrifying. But the more I tried to push it away and feel “calm,” the more scared I got.

So I tried something new. I tried to feel as scared as I could. I invited the feeling in like an old and somewhat awkward or annoying friend. As I invited it, I looked at it from all angles; like glancing in that friend’s bag to see if they were bringing too many samurai swords or something. I let the feeling in, and in return, it stopped banging down my windows. It ceased to ring the doorbell and yell to make itself seem bigger than it was. It just came in, had some tea, and chilled out.

Letting the real feeling happen made me realize that the words of “ohmygodwearegoingtocrash” and “oh no oh no oh no oh no” really were just words. They weren’t real, and the situation wasn’t scary. In fact, once I really just got curious, that fear turned into elation and excitement that I was zooming thousands of feet in the air, staring at clouds and cities, living in the future that someone long ago would have only dreamed of.

The magic words for moving things weren’t just the words that were freaking me out, they were the words I told myself to remind myself that it was only words freaking me out, not any real thing. Confused yet? Welcome to my world.

Finding The Stuckness

Habits are sometimes pretty stifling. We get in physical and mental habits all the time. They turn into patterns of stuckness, which can be quite physical, as any massage therapist will tell you.

Maybe it would be fun to move objects with words, but maybe it would be even more fun to spot the mental objects and move those. The familiar sight of the sentence “I am not a good artist,” for instance. Maybe I can put it next to the curb with the power of words like a shabby couch that has ceased to serve a purpose. The big dresser of “Nobody will ever love me” sitting in the corner, rotting and stinking up the place. It’s time for it to go, I’d say. The repetitive thoughts or feelings that stick with us are just as in the way as an old item that is no longer useful or needed.

Do you have things that you would like to move with magic words? Are there magic words that you use already, such as affirmations or the power of attraction?

Do you think that it matters how long you feel the power of a word, such as gratitude or love? Do you think that you mean every word you say or write, and perhaps it’s only a select few people that say words without always meaning them, unintentionally?

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Also, I have been on a rather internetless trip for the past week, it will continue a bit longer, and I look forward to seeing what you all have been writing once I return!

About these ads

57 thoughts on “Magic Words for Moving Things

  1. I love the analogy of words to furniture. Makes me realize I need to rearrange or get rid of some old, worn-out “furniture.” It’s amazing how much power negative or fearful self-talk can have. Thanks for this enlightening post!

  2. My spiritual teacher had given us this as a practice: when fear, anger, doubt, anxiety etc arise, invite it in for a metaphorical cup of tea. Be with the truth of it, not even thinking about it. Allow it to peak – adding nothing to it. I always find the innocent, irrepressible joy at the other end of this practice amazing. Your post reminded me of this lovely practice. :-)

    • Ah yes, that is kind of what I was going for, I think! The welcoming feeling alone seems to disperse so much of the overwhelming feeling, I am glad that there are practices that seem to have perfected this art and that this reminded you of them!

  3. Words without feeling does not work. What we feel on the inside is basically what creates our reality. Years ago, when I was alone, I affirmed over and over again, “I am going to meet the perfect man” (or something like that). Lo and behold, I met the “perfect man” within a short time, and he turned out to be an emotionally abusive man. He reflected back to me my lack of self love at the time. When I had an “aha” moment after a verbal tirade that I deserved better, that I was worthy of this, the relationship dissolved a few months later. He was the perfect man in teaching me to value myself and not get into a dysfunctional relationship. Nowadays, I have a beautiful union with my soulmate, we both value, respect and are kind to each other. :) Doing inner work is very important if we want a healthy life.

    • Wow, what a great example. Exactly. Expecting the world to take care of the meaning in the word “perfect” for you can be interesting; and once you could actually feel it, it happened! So perfect, thank you for sharing this and I am so happy that you have found such a wonderful person :)

  4. Taking ownership of and responsibility for the inner narrative has helped me to change and grow immensely; I think all people can benefit from it. This includes speaking more clearly my desires and giving voice to the fears which otherwise whisper quietly in my ear.

    I’d rather hear “Fuck this” exactly once and very loud than have “They’re going to get me… they hate me… they want me dead… I don’t belong here” playing on repeat just below the threshold of the liminality. Also, I have much better feelings of liberation when I speak “I want total financial and temporal freedom,” rather than kicking the can of “maybe I’ll get a better job… I could have more friends… should I really do this” around in my head all day.

    Ultimately, I practice to remind myself that the mind creates reality and to allow the authentic self to unfold as fully as possible. All dreams and fears will blossom in the honor and light of the voice. The more I uphold the sanctity of invocation, the greater effect I feel.

    Thank you for reminding us about this process. I’m glad to read that the practice of honoring fear has helped you. Personally, I’m reminded of the power that form, structure, and ritual have in affecting affirmations. Thanks!

    • You are very welcome! Recently I have been focusing more on the ritual of cleanliness in my workspace and how that affects my mind- it is nice to think of it as a ritual, which I hadn’t, till reading your comment. So thank you!

  5. The power of words has oft been affirmed. Many years ago I was part of a network marketing company and they were constantly telling us that re-affirming positive phrases such as ‘I will be successful’ and ‘I shall be rich’ would lead to positive results.
    I was sceptical. The successful people within the group were not.

    I am no longer with the company, but they are.

    Life lesson?

    Reading your post has unearthed this memory and reminded me that perhaps it is time to try once again – I have a lot of ugly, heavy furniture within my roooms.

    It also occurred to me whilst reading your post that feeling the words is only half the story for us – we must also learn to infuse our readers with those same feelings – perhaps material for a future post?

    • Thank you for participating, Andrew!

      I had a previous post called “Editing as an Act of Compassion” and I think it was along the lines of what you are talking about with infusing the readers with the experience, but there will probably be a future one that deals more specifically with that…once I learn how to do it :)

      That is interesting about that marketing group. Personally, I get quite repelled whenever people are using the law of attraction for the whole “I will be rich” thing. If I had been in that group, I would have left as well. Maybe you will find one that feels more nourishing to you. To me, that focus would have felt rather icky, even though I would love to be rich. My guess would be that their financial abundance has deeper and less pleasant lessons to teach them that may surface farther along down the road. Just a guess, though. :)

  6. I’ve always though that words are very powerful, but because they’re used so often and without conviction they can easily lose their meaning, it’s almost like understanding just how powerful words are has now become esoteric knowledge.

  7. It’s not just the meaning of a word. Since none of us exist in isolation, the context of a word and where it came from are important. Ideas give rise to words, normally more than one, thereby presenting us with connections to be explored in our minds. A professor once told me “We seldom take time to think about the things we think about.” I found that amusing at first. The older I become the more profound it becomes.

    • Wow, that is so true. I am finding that when I think about things, if I can catch my mind in the process of stress/worry/anxiety/panic, all I really have to do is look into my body. At that glance, of “how do I feel as I think these things?” I realize that the thoughts have pretended to be more powerful than in fact they were. Your professor’s quote rings true to me on that level- that as we look at the whole context of a thought or “feeling”, we may realize that it is far smaller than it seemed. Like a little bug making a huge shadow, or something.
      You just helped me to see that the contextuality (why is that not a real word?) of ideas is also super important. If I go making up words (like contextuality) maybe people will be less likely to know what I mean and feel what I intend to share. Perhaps there should be a post in the future about that!

  8. Your post, and some of the comments above, reminded me of one of my favorite poems by Rumi, “The Guest House.” Here it is:

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be cleaning you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    Because each has been sent
    As a guide from beyond.

    /End poem. I think Rumi’s are magic words. I revisit them often!

  9. I liked your furniture/ mental feelings analogy. A good visual way to think about letting go of things we hold on to. Especially the things that no longer serve a purpose -as we often need to be reminded of that as well.
    I also have tried to embrace what I fear and to feel a feeling to its depth and end. If we can wade *into* a feeling, rather than repressing or ignoring or hiding from it, then we can unearth another layer and perhaps find out what is our true fear in a situation. If we are able and willing to go deep enough, who knows what discovery we may find and what joys we may encounter.
    Nicely written post. Thanks for this one.

    • I’m glad you liked it. It was harder to write while on vacation than I thought, so the fact that you said “nicely written” pretty much made my day.
      I have really been trying to delve in like you say, and it is really cool to find out the deeper layers. Sometimes it transforms into something so different, and sometimes just into another version of itself that feels more real and workable. The world is a fabulously interesting place…and your comment also reminds me that it is time to get back into running.

  10. Great post as always :)
    The words that moved me during the labour of my first child were “soft” and ‘surrender’. My birth support had told me that you can’t feel pain while thinking soft. It was true. I was really grounded by those words. As soon as I thought “PAIN!” my experience became all about pain. The word that really got me through labour though was ‘strength’. I said it, it came, and it superseded pain.

    • Zanni that is so cool! I remember someone once commented on my blog, and I do believe it was the great Vicki Winslow, that you cannot feel gratitude and fear at the same time. It seems to be a similar thing- we can use some intentions and feelings/thoughts to supersede others; especially when we pretty much know that we will be more likely to feel one of the less pleasant ones. Very cool and surprising to hear that such a thing can be useful during the process of birth!

  11. You know what’s better than affirming (pretending) gratitude or *insert what is considered a positive message here*? Allowing/letting everything be as it is, and then going about doing what needs to be done with the least amount of effort so that you are free to do what your heart calls for in your free time.

    Affirmations are like *the secret*, a completely stripped down version of what it actually takes to live your life with wisdom and courage.

    • Yes, yes, yes! The difference between a “positive” and “negative” emotion or feeling is something that has irked me for years. I can see someone wanting to get away from certain types of pain, but there is far too much focus on duality with the whole affirmation thing, and with a lot of new age folks.

      Energy is energy and acceptance is acceptance. I fully believe that.

      At the same time, my bad moods can be fierce, and it helps me to do my sitting practice in order to catch things as they come up rather than staying in the swings of emotions. Intentionally feeling gratitude is also useful- not because it is “positive”, but because it is real. Because it helps me to remember that each moment is precious and there is always something to be grateful for, even if there is nothing to be “happy” about. Without my sitting practice, my heart is hard to hear in my free time because my mind takes over. Meditation helps me to allow things to be as they are. I don’t use affirmations, though.

      I really appreciate your comment, and it reminds me that I need to at some point express some things about positive/negative feelings because I can easily come across as one of the foofy people that are in love with positivity when really, that type of thing turns my stomach a bit.

  12. Loved your post Jennifer! As a feeler, I especially resonated with the parts about feeling the words and being more aware of exactly what you’re feeling. But I was most impressed with your plane story. How amazing – you allowed yourself to go deeper into the experience of fear to shift the experience in and of itself! Congrats on going there and discovering a new strategy that works for you! :)

    • I’m glad you liked the story! The strategy has been proving to be super useful for lots of basic self-consciousness issues and other such thoughts. Sometimes, my anxiety turns into something huge and that has not happened yet..I will be interested to see if this works during those times!

  13. No, I don’t mean every word I say or write. Writing comes closer because I am present and thoughtful when I write. Many times I say something nice to someone to help them feel better without having real conviction behind my words, but I do it purposefully to raise the other’s spirits, to acknowledge them, to let them know they or what they do matters to me. You bring attention to words that we use, to be mindful of them, to use your favorite word, and one of mine, too. I think I must slow down to consider more how I use the words I speak…not a bad idea. As always, you write thoughtfully and provokingly, Jennifer! Enjoy your internet break. I had one recently, and take one once a month. Otherwise, it becomes a tyrannt to me.

    • Janis I greatly enjoyed the internet break! It was not intentional, which made it a bit stressful in terms of my job..but it worked out in the end and was indeed very refreshing.
      It is interesting to think about the words we say to help others- that idea opens up a whole load of other thoughts in my mind. On one hand, isn’t it great to help others no matter what? On another hand, what if they pick up on our lack of conviction? I guess it depends in part on whether the words are written or spoken- which is actually, now that I think about it, a HUGE difference; particularly in terms of speaking to others or trying to be kind or supportive.
      I really appreciate your comment and am going to let it sink in more. My basic feeling is that slowing down and being present in the body is good no matter what, and even if it does not dramatically improve a situation, it never actually hurts it :)

  14. Great entry! The section on What Things Can Words Move made me think about a woman who said thoughts are like our clothes…what we put on matters! Words and thoughts influence our image, our thoughts our behaviors…thanks for a great post!
    Kathryn at Potentiality (as well as A Cup of Tea!)

  15. Jennifer, this is a truly wonderful post. I think about this all the time, but just “got it” at a deeper level this morning (getting better at feeling, especially the challenging feelings we feel) and then came inside to the computer and discovered your blog here. My friend and I are doing a 10-week course called “The Presence Process” by Michael Brown. It is the second time I’ve done it. He talks a lot about suppressed emotional charges from our pre-verbal life and how life reflects situations and experiences all the time to help us re-experience our suppressed pain. Unfortunately, we project onto others and situations instead of simply being present with the feelings which arise. I want to learn to feel feelings better, to be more raw and open with all feelings, with all words. Thank you for these words. I am feeling them.

    • That is so cool- some of my friends here in Austin lead a class on that book and last night I was trying to remember the name of it. So thanks! I was reading a book recently called The Happiness Trap and it was insanely useful to me because it helped me to see how the thought of a feeling can be much worse than the actual feeling. I want to learn more about the Presence Process, too!

  16. For me, it took years of dedicated practice to begin to reliably shift my mindstuff. The tipping point was the realization that you can’t hide from the feelings and thus control them; you must invite them in, even the “bad” ones. And you have to be willing to do that when it is the last thing you want to consider, like you did with the fear on the plane. Anxiety visits me far more often than fear, but acknowledging the feeling and then realizing it is often in response to something that has not happened, and might not ever happen, is enough to start to shift myself towards a more serene emotional state. There is no sense in worrying about things that haven’t happened, and if there is something that happened, worrying won’t make it un-happen. There is true power in experiencing the meaning of words, because words are only ever approximations or descriptions, and not the thing-in-itself.


    • Thanks, Aniko! I love that you used the word mindstuff. I agree completely; there is such power in being present because yes, nothing can un-happen, and nothing can really make anxiety feel better other than to meet it in the moment rather than trying to make it go away by changing something. At least anxiety makes us always think of new ways to deal with it, right? Keeping us on our creative little toes :)

      • Anxiety is one of the strangest emotions, because often it has no real object out in the real world. It tends to attach to a diffuse collection of possibilities, and make us worry about what-ifs that we can’t control – no matter how much we worry. And, yes, it does sort of insist that we find new, creative ways to deal with it! :)

  17. I’m not a proponent of power of attraction. But I am a proponent of owning your fears. I want to say I am very proud of you for doing so. Many times people run from their fears, when they don’t realize the source is them, so they are just running from themselves. But when you own it, you recognize it is from you, and it becomes something within your realm of control.

    It’s important to be content with your life. If you are without someone right now, it’s not the end of the world.

    I haven’t had as much as a date in around 5 years, truthfully I’ve lost count. There were alot of things i was doing wrong, and without the pressure of dating i could see them and fix them much easier.

    Also without a woman near, I felt the lack of balance more acutely, and could appreciate it much better. It reinstated my respect for what women bring, and that respect brought appreciation.

    Also, survival feelings are faster, stronger, and more acute than living feelings like peace.

    Also dark feelings will do that, like anger, fear, jealousy. But they are made to burn bright and hot and use up energy.

    The ones like peace, love, content, they burn warm and slow. made to be easily sustained.

    But the warm and slow can be fed or the source point opened up and become very strong.

    A good for instance is sensitivity is warm and fuzzy, but can be opened to passion, or anger, or love.

    Sitting on a couch cuddling promotes a feeling, normally that is sustained in adults, but with young people, and some adults, that soft warmth can quickly become burning passion.

    But it can be kept at warmth, just depends on how much you open the valve.

    Very well written post, thank you for stopping by mine.

    • Wow, thank you for such a wonderful comment.

      I often times forget how things such as the valve can change as I get older. I’m more prone to judging myself and thinking “Why oh why are you not passionate about everything like you used to be?!” when really, I could be saying “Oh, it is so amazing to feel these sustained warmer and subtler feelings for longer periods of time so as to really become acquainted with them,” or something of the sort.

      I do intend to work on that, and I will come back and read this comment several times today just to more deeply remind myself.

      Thank you for coming by :)

      • Age can bring weight or lightening also, depending on the experiences, and how they are addressed.

        Also, age teaches us the wisdom of balance. That can come about as even handed, respect, understanding, acceptance, all those can dampen the passionate moments, but provide a higher fulltime energy.

        I tend to be calm about just about everything, but have great passion about certain subjects that are important to rectify. Calm but firm can go a long way, much farther than fiery passion, just depends on the situation.

        Age can also show us our mistakes, and that can dampen or eliminate passion.

        I have found that being reserved, I can call on passion at will also.

        I have found that making time to wash myself in these calmer feelings, can make them more acute. The sheer depth of these feelings still amaze me.

        Got me thinking about all sorts of things, really appreciate it.

  18. Actually we can make things move the way we want. It all works when you make yourself mean what you seh.
    Again don’t prounce words about the future wen you know that you know that you are confused about the issue.
    First relax and compose yourself.
    Then try to harness power in your mind by sayin words like”i have it…”,”i will make it…”….and you will make it.

  19. You find this strained muscle nagging at you throughout the day off to rest.
    Returned to the back of the ways of doing this, some like handy
    the way they keep their eyes on price while shopping.

    There is considerable slop built into this recorder really does come in handy.
    You want to try a twist throttle, this should help make some of their waking hours outside the home screen and then waved its arms.

  20. Enveloppes France now have wide range of protection packaging and bags available to
    ensure that you can find the ideal packaging for your needs and requirements.
    While for many people the sling bag has replaced
    the daily backpack or purse, others reserve sling bags for visits to the gym
    and yoga class. You would like to show up
    at the party with some brand new bags with the perfect feel and weight so that
    all of your buddies know you are serious this year; you aren’t going to lose one more cornhole tournament.

  21. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and fiind the majority of
    your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers
    to write content for you? Iwouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write wuth regawrds too here.
    Again, awesomme blog!

  22. I feel this is among the so mch vital info for me. And i amm
    happy studying your article. But want to commentary onn some basic issues, The web site style
    is ideal, the articles is really excellent : D. Good activity, cheers

  23. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this web site before but after
    browsing through some of the articloes I realized it’s neew to me.

    Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I found it
    and I’llbe book-marking it and checking back regularly!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s