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Sticks and Stones

“Sticks and stones can break your bones but words can unravel your whole being.”
-Miscellaneous Jones

A simple 1 inch x 2 inch piece of mint green cardstock held this phrase as a morning greeting for six years of my life.

I love words. The invitation for expression. The patterns and rhythms. The opportunity for nuance in combination, phrasing and tone. The diversity of delivery – spoken, written and sung.

Words hold power. To share the deepest emotions. To protect and preserve. To expose and enforce. To communicate and confer.

Words can enrich. Words can enrage. Words can uplift. Words can upend. Words can accuse. Word can absolve. Words can envelop. Words can expose.

We hear the audible, external life of words. Conversations. Debates. Discussions. Lessons. Conferences. Concerts.

We see the life of words on the page. Books. Poems. Essays. Journals. Papers. Letters. Diaries. Policies.

To these we speak back with words of our own – in agreement or opposition, gratitude or offense, sharing likeness or wonder; meaningful or misunderstood when written or spoken.

What of the secret life of words? What of the letters that gather to form thoughts, known at most to the thinker, if at all?

What of the words lurking backstage in our minds? What influence do they carry from behind the scenes?

Consider the potent power of words held in thoughts. The source of our poems, laws and songs. The silent, invisible fuel for feelings to drive all of our actions.

Thoughts can become anything we desire – and sometimes everything we do not.

Harmful action arises out of thoughts – the damage from sticks and stones requires first the thought to strike or to throw.

Sound waves and ink can cause the unraveling, so too can the unspoken, contemplated words from within.

How are you nurturing the words you encounter? Do you read with presence and listen with awe?

How are you wielding the words you share? Do you speak with purpose and write with resolve?

How are you processing the words of others? Do you edit with respect and speak in truth?

How are you managing the words within? Do you steward your thoughts with intention and care?

May we see our thoughts and the power they hold.

May we choose our thoughts and acknowledge their impact.

May our thoughts lead us away from sticks, stones and unraveling.

May our thoughts yield the words to weave us back into being.

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