House of Words

By Larry Feinstein

20160316_105123“Now is the time to examine the mindset of our present generation and to reflect on the way of life that it may bring about in the future”— Dalai Lama

We are defined by the words we use and as simple as it sounds, it can get pretty complicated, especially considering how many we use, even in a minute. Words represent our intention, the direction we are traveling. I know I will shoot my mouth off about most anything and rarely step outside myself and really listen. I am sure it is the current political rhetoric, purposefully manipulated words for effect only, that got me thinking about this and it is definitely not the first time.

Whether we speak out loud or not, our minds are constantly flooded with words because that is how we talk to ourselves, let alone the endless dialogue with others. When we see Yosemite from a motorcycle or experience and then relive an intricate dream, it is always words that allow us to register their impact. Everything has a name, which is how we navigate through our own world in an effort to make sense of it.

Before going any further, I would like us to agree on the basic premise that our words have an impact on others and ourselves. This is the easiest starting point I can imagine for this little exercise.

Speaking of starting points, all of ours begin in the womb, our first home. Our mothers are all dramatically affected by their world, including the words she hears and ones she uses. We are definitely the recipients of a second hand environment that becomes our very own Water World. This is absolutely the first instance of the incredible power of words on us.

We can choose the vocabulary we want to share with those who succeed us, always keeping in mind these little ones are completely helpless, our own innocent recipients.

For way more than half the world, survival of mother and child is all there is. Surrounded by poverty, war and incredible abuse, staying alive is everything. Innocent children are born into these environments and saddled with a vocabulary that knows only deprivation. I know that what I am writing about is an impossible luxury for some, belonging in the world of the more fortunate like you and me. This makes the power of words even more important because many don’t have a voice we can hear or words we can understand.

Once we make our way into a world outside the womb, we slowly discover our voice and begin filling it with words, first the words we are told and then ones we own for ourselves. From the moment we discover our sound, we begin to make our presence felt. Our own words gradually become louder, sometimes drowning out others, other times harmonizing. Our voice is like the perfect wave; it is our words that determine the ride we are going to have.

Larry Feinstein

Larry Feinstein

A personal dictionary of words embodying anger and disconnection are a clenched fist punching at water, creating waves of disruption. In our country, the loud, strident voices are getting the attention today. I am not sure why it is that way, maybe because they don’t carry any sense of responsibility, blindly stabbing at anyone across some arbitrary boundary. I look at my own choice of words and realize I need to be more cognizant of their intention.

We should consider our words as bricks we use to build the house we live in and the one the next generation will inherit. My grandson, Shane, is seven and what are the words I want to leave for him? We don’t have to hire an expensive contractor to fix our house, we just need to be more conscious of the words we use everyday.

Our legacy is the words we leave behind, what do you want yours to be?

By | 2016-11-10T05:40:41+00:00 March 16th, 2016|0 Comments

About the Author:

Léo Azambuja, editor of For Kaua‘i, has won multiple journalism awards in the state of Hawai‘i, including investigative and enterprise reporting, spot news and feature writing, photojournalism and online reporting.

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