Words Don’t Make the Whole Picture

We live in a world that values words over most other things, and many powerful moments get drowned in the constantly verbal torrent.  Sometimes, it’s hard to believe that there is any way to make an impact without using lots of words, and it is hard to understand the impact that can be had in wordless moments.  I hesitate to use the word “silence” here because wordless moments aren’t just silent moments.  They can be quite loud if we listen for something other than words.

This morning, the nonverbal part of me sent me out to the garden for no particular reason.  No words, I just felt a strong urge to go into the garden.  I was greeted with signs of life that I would have missed had I not slowed down enough to see them, had I not listened to that silent but powerful part of me.  Seeing the first sprouts of the seeds I’d planted made the back strain from digging a bed for them worth it, and I got very excited about the upcoming season of eating greens from the garden.  Seeing that the asparagus is coming back after a dry winter, I was filled with this feeling of wonder, as if something impossible is happening right before my eyes.  Smelling the violets filled me with this sense of luxury.  These tiny little weed flowers pack a massive, deep scent.  They taste good, too!  Hearing the birds chattering and chirping gave me a feeling that there is a ton of life all around me. I was in the garden for a total of maybe 10 minutes, and all of these things happened without a single word being spoken.

I would like to invite you to join me in a challenge. Take a moment (or more) of your day when you would normally gratuitously talk or look at a screen or anything with words, and stop.  Ask yourself if words are necessary in that moment.  If you are with someone, invite them to join you in this challenge.  Agree not to speak for a designated amount of time.  Allow yourself to take in the wordless things or beings around you and just be with them. Notice how they make their presence known to you and allow them to impact you. Notice your mind trying to put words on them and let that go. See how this makes you feel.  Are you restless?  Bored?  Feeling under assault by a torrent of word thoughts?  People who aren’t talkers feel this way much of the time.  Even if you are able to give attention to the wordless for just a short second, you have changed something.  Keep practicing this, and you will open up a new world in small, powerful increments.

violets in hand asparagus

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