Sticks and Stones

 

Remember when you were a kid and someone would say something mean to you or call you a name and when you tried to find some comfort  all you would hear is the oft cited but never apropos phrase: “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? I am here to tell you that I believe that little ditty should be locked away and the key destroyed so it never sees the light of day again.

Seriously, “words will never hurt me”? Nothing hurts more than a sharply worded criticism, a slight that is not in any way trivial or minor, or a knockout punch in the form of a barb. Words are notorious for being hurtful, upsetting and cruel but they can also be healing, nurturing, and comforting.

As a self-described scribe, words have provided me bread, if not butter. And I know the power they have. I try to be careful with my words, particularly the written word, but I have to admit that I have said things in anger that should not have been said. Anger seems to break down our barriers and I have found that if I can keep my mouth shut when I want to lash out, the outcome is much better. I cannot always do this. Eating your words is a bitter pill to take, but it is better than letting them dissolve someone else’s psyche.

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but those bones generally heal. Harsh, harmful, and hard words hurt, and if not properly anaesthetized by a heartfelt apology they are left to fester for an eternity—or at least twenty minutes. So where did I get twenty minutes? According to an article I read over the weekend called “How Advertisers Lead Us to Do Their Bidding” by Linda Blair, twenty minutes is “the time it takes for an emotionally driven reaction to settle down.”

I am not so sure this applies directly to being unfairly attacked by words, but it could. If, after being chastised by someone we waited twenty minutes, would we be as likely to attack back? Maybe, but by then our response might be a bit more tactful than if we reacted immediately. I am not saying this would be easy, nay, in some situations it would be close to impossible, but it is something worth contemplating. And it would also confuse your attacker if you did not react immediately—which would be a reward in itself.

I Digress….

The article was not about hurtful words, but about words that create “the power of suggestion” and are meant to elicit a response. For example, in one study, students were given two lists of words. One list had words that suggested aggressive behaviour; the other, words that suggested politeness and patience. The students were then asked to go to a room to speak with another researcher but “in a move deliberately designed to cause frustration” that person was busy chatting. Now I am sure you can guess the outcome, but it is disturbing how we can be so manipulated by “mere” words. Those who had been “primed with the rude words interrupted the conversation”, while those who had been exposed to the “polite words waited patiently.” I am thinking that I should try this experiment on myself as I am notoriously impatient, though most of the time I try to keep it under wraps.

We are easily manipulated by words, so it just makes sense that when we are hurt by harsh words it is hard to get them out of our system. I am well aware that I am a bit of a sponge when it comes to outside factors getting in my craw and eating away at me—just watching the news can put me in a melancholy mood, as the news tends not to highlight the better side of life.

Maybe I will try the twenty minute trick, as well as guard my exposure to negative things, people, and events. If twenty minutes is the magic time needed to quell consumerism and make sure that the decision you make is “your own and rational” rather than “influenced and impulsive”, perhaps it is also the time we need to calm down from an “eventful” or “stressful” situation. Certainly something to think about….

(I do know that a twenty minute recess will not stop me from eating my precious Hostess chocolate cupcakes with the deadly white filling and swirl on top. The last one is calling me from my freezer right now and I am afraid I am going to heed its call. The good thing is that there is only one package left as I am only safe from their siren call if they are not within reach.)

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 5:06 pm  Comments (2)  

Wishful thinking…

Magic in the air

I can feel, touch and taste it

Breathing it in….

Published in: on August 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm  Comments (5)  

Today

 

harsh summer heat

blown away by harsh winds

and pelting rain

relief sighs sweetly

Published in: on August 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm  Comments (18)  

Magic Of August

love this…

Ben Naga

MAGIC OF AUGUST

We stand – poised – aghast
‘twixt enraptured Summer and
Entrancing Autumn

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Published in: on August 21, 2016 at 8:22 pm  Comments (1)  

Zenku #373

mid August….

Zen Kettle

Towels line dry

after the beach

Sand-sifting wind

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Published in: on August 17, 2016 at 7:32 pm  Comments (1)  

Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links … Plus a Thank You and an Apology

Reblogging so I can read all the info at my leisure thanks to a very busy Jamie….

Live to Write - Write to Live

Miss YouHello, fair readers.

I’m afraid I only have time for the briefest of notes – a quick hello, and then it’s back to the grindstone for this freelance writer. But, though my deadlines have me working both days this weekend (I am, at the moment, a poster child for the classic feast-or-famine quandary), I wanted to take a moment to thank you guys for always being here to share a little of the weekend with me. Though we’ve never met in the so-called Real World, connecting with you via the magic of the Internet is always one of the most enjoyable parts of my week. I am sorry that I haven’t been able to be here for the past couple of weeks. My absence is due in part to continued technology issues (I’m currently waiting to hear from Apple’s engineering team about the latest crash report) and in part to…

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Published in: on August 14, 2016 at 11:41 pm  Comments (2)  

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

the truth…..

Live & Learn

photograph-butterfly-butterflies-hand,

Good. Now here’s what poetry can do.

Imagine yourself a caterpillar.
There’s an awful shrug and, suddenly,
You’re beautiful for as long as you live.

~ Stephen Dunn, from Poem For People That Are Understandably Too Busy To Read Poetry (1966)


Notes:

  • Post inspired by: “Butterflies are not insects,’ Captain John Sterling said soberly. ‘They are self-propelled flowers.” from Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Thank you Beth at Alive on All Channels.
  • And inspired by ZME Science: “The caterpillar’s  metamorphosis from a tree clinging, 12-legged pest into the majestic flying butterfly is one of the most used metaphors to describe a 180 transformation. It’s truly a fantastic mechanism developed by nature, yet while all my seem fantastic on the outside, this transformation looks pretty gruesome deep inside the chrysalis. In short, for a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly it digests itself using enzymes…

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Published in: on August 14, 2016 at 1:12 pm  Comments (2)  

A Secret

 

No one told the sun

That summer is winding down:

Dog days continue…..

Published in: on August 9, 2016 at 12:49 pm  Comments (4)  

Random Things

more rand0m stuff from 4 years ago

On the Homefront

English: Sorting a random list using merge sort. English: Sorting a random list using merge sort. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cristian Mihai wrote a blog with ten random things about himself and he got 150 likes and over 50 comments, so I thought I would give it a try to see if I can garner stats like that–so far only my About page has come close to that in “likes”, over a period of a year, not a day. (I have had some good “like” days, but never 150).

So here they are:

1. Like Cristian, I thought driving was too complicated, so did not get my licence until I was 35. Cristian is right, driving is too complicated.

2. I went to University until I was 27.

3. I love frozen Hostess chocolate cupcakes (the ones with the squiggle on top). I deny myself this treat until I can deny myself no longer.

4. I love watching General…

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Published in: on August 3, 2016 at 4:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Random Thoughts Wednesday

 

I took an online questionnaire to see how “hippie” I am. I am zero percent hippie. It said I may belong to some other group, but I am by no means a hippie.

This was not a surprising bit of information.

Although, if I were American I would write in a vote for Bernie Sanders.

Thankfully I am a Canadian and do not have to do this.

Also answered an ad by a psychic. He said I had a troubled childhood. I had a wonderful childhood. I am not paying him $49 solely based on the fact that if he got this wrong—he would get a lot of other stuff wrong.

Had a handwriting analysis once. It said some nice things, but also some not so nice things. I wrote it off. (see what I did there?)

I believe in God because I want to. Not because I know anything that others do not know. If I am going to take a leap of faith—I have decided this is the best direction. And I like to hedge my bets…..

Random thought Wednesday has just become my thing. Tune in next Wednesday for some more not so earth shattering random thoughts.

Oh, and remember, even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut…..

Published in: on August 3, 2016 at 3:36 pm  Comments (8)  
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