Just Words

Recently, I’ve been enthralled by the relationship we have with words. It’s common to hear “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” but we spend far more time alone than with others. Does it tell a deeper truth to say, “you are the average of the five words you spend the most time with”?

I was sparked a few moments ago listening to the always excellent Krista Tippet, who framed it beautifully in a conversation with Elizabeth Alexander:

Of course, all words are just containers at some level. But that is really the point. The connection between words and meanings resembles the symbiosis between religion and spirituality. Words are crafted by human beings, wielded by human beings. They take on all our flaws and frailties. They diminish or embolden the truths that they arose to carry. We drop and break them sometimes. We renew them again and again.

Years ago, I held a working theory that we could tell the story of our experience by identifying the five people we spent the most time with during various phases of our life. Tracing backward, the story of my experience is truer by reflecting on the five words I spent the most time with during my time alone.

Here are the words that contain my life at this moment:

Acceptance. Preparedness. Surrender. Trust. True. Invite. Serendipity. Principles. Alignment. Contribution. Softening. Massive action. Movement. Integrity. Relax back. Awareness. Wisdom. Service. Love. Hahnee. Husband. Father. Competence. Cultivate. Agreement. Experience. Gratitude. Breath. Stillness. Tenderness. Presence. Peace. Deepen. Expand. Frictionless. Art. Meraki

They’re just words. And that’s what makes them true.