Candy Coatings

It has been a little over a year since I started writing Memoirs of a Downward Facing Dog.  What started out as a condensed way to stay in touch with family and friends via emails while travelling through Central America, became the weekly blog that you now know, (and love, right?).  A weekly occurrence in my life with a readership that spans into places such as the Ukraine and Bangladesh.  I know this because the new dashboard of my site has this little map that tells me where in the world my blog has been read.  I mean, that’s just crazy!  I don’t know anyone in Bangladesh!

It got me thinking: words matter.

As a writer, there is a rush when that perfect sentence flows from the ink of my pen.  Tom Robbins is one of my favorite authors because he can spin sentences the way that sugar is spun into silken strands of cotton candy; waxing words like colloquial confectionaries.

However, as a yoga instructor, words can be a double-edged sword.  Too many words and your students have tuned out the sound of your voice and the one or two poignant things that actually eek out from your lips have been lost amongst your incessant chatter.  If your words or instructions are unclear, you may guide your student to balance on one leg while the other is slung over their shoulder when you tell them to LIFT their standing leg.  Huh?  Wha–??  Fly?  Hover???  Lady, my leg is already wrapped around my head!  What more do you want from me???   But just the right kind and compassionately placed word in just the right breath of silence and you might change a life, or at least make a day.

I’ve been in Los Angeles for a week now, and already I know that Kim Kardashian may or may not be sleeping with Kanye West as a publicity stunt to deflect attention from her 72-day marriage to Kris Humpries.  Gossip is dangerous territory.  And L.A. has made an entire industry out of it.  Rumours in L.A. usually equals record deals, reality TV shows and an influx of bling, but rumors in real life can equal real pain.

Our words: what we say.  How we say what we say.  It all has impact.  Whether or not anyone is listening.  The gossip and the negative talk are harmful for obvious reasons; the assumptions we make or the judgements we form can color our perceptions of others without taking the time to consider the flip-side perspectives.  And I try to remember that a kind word can have such a ripple effect, no matter how rude the grocery store clerk was.

I have been told that my writing is “vulnerable” or slightly “voyeuristic” or “personal”.  And yeah, I suppose it is.  But the reason why I write so honestly, the reason why I share my life without much censorship is because I don’t think that there’s much in my life experience that hasn’t been shared or experienced by thousands of others.  We all struggle with doubt, insecurity and fear, even if you live in Bangladesh.  At times, we’ve all had a heart broken or been ecstatic over a personal triumph, or lonely.  And I will continue to be honest with my words, generous and forthcoming, because maybe….just maybe, as I bumble through this life trying to do the best I can, I might inspire even one person to be a little bit more honest with themselves.  A little less insecure about the things that make us all human.  We can support each other in our human-ness;  in our mistakes, shortcomings and quirks.  We can find things about ourselves to laugh at, make fun of and not take too seriously.  And in that honesty, maybe we can find a bit more compassion.  A bit more understanding with and of one another.

And in the meantime, I’m gonna stick with something very important I learned in Kindergarten:  if you can’t say something nice……….

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