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Word Power

Sifting Through the Information Storm

By Judey Kalchik Published 3 years ago 3 min read
Word Power
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

From the day I learned there were negative numbers I've never fully trusted math. (NEGATIVE numbers? You count things that are less than zero?!) I've heard of people juggling the numbers. Cooking the books. And who in Retail hasn't seen a version of 'Magic Math'? You know what I mean:

"If every person in every store sold 54 cents more of x/ or 1.26 items instead of 1.13 items a day/ or .84 more people an hour... we would make our goals/ satisfy the stockholders/ get the company in the black/ have world peace."

Magic Math. Totally do-able. Bite-sized morsels to make eating the mountain seem possible, as long as everyone is on board. Numbers DON’T get people on board, unless that is already their Love Language. (Looking at you accountants and actuaries out there.) No; I'll stick to words, thank you. Words have power.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." (Edward Bulwer-Lytton)

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." (Robin Williams)

And power can be used to edify or destroy.

"As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too... Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests." (Gore Vidal)

As powerful as words are, they are not the most powerful tool we have to shape our lives and the world around us. Just speaking a goal doesn’t get results.

When action is placed behind words, when deeds take the arm of intention and guide it across the road to a new start, when purposeful movement toward a goal makes that crucial step forward: words meet their mate. Action and words = unstoppable power.

"A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed. " (Henrik Ibsen)

How does a person know what words to follow? What explanation to believe? What dream to which they should hitch their wagon? Which idea deserves action? There is a constant din around us, a visible and auditory barrage of syllables coming at us every moment and vying for our attention. Our ears are numb and our eyes can't focus. A respite is needed, but we are so accustomed to the assault that silence can be deafening, too.

In any situation, when all that happens is a gushing of words, nothing is accomplished. Words are their most fruitful when they land on

  • understanding
  • receptive appreciation
  • careful listening
  • attentive reading
  • thoughtful silence

I’ve learned that words can help us find our way to balance, can teach us how to understand and take action. Clever, clever, words with their lithely dancing letters. Move them about and they give up their secrets. As a lover of words, I play games with them.

We have Anagrams: words that are created by rearranging other words. icon turns into coin, inch into chin, etc.

And Antigrams: words that can be rearranged into their opposites:

  • UNITED... or UNTIED?
  • CRAB... or CARB?

(Try a week of Keto dieting and you'll see you should have been prepared for the crabby mood swings. The letters warned you!)

A particular Antigram, if we follow its wisdom and allow it to guide us, will give up the secret of puzzling through the messages that whir before our eyes and buzz into our ears. It points to the way we can use the power of words.

Using the power of this Antigram we can receive words, recognize them, weigh them for truth, take action buoyed by their wisdom, or recognize them for lies and leave them behind.

When words are

  • spoken
  • written
  • tweeted
  • texted
  • hurled
  • whispered
  • whimpered
  • prayed
  • shared
  • gossiped
  • discovered
  • read: which do you do?

Here is the Antigram that shows us the way: Are you merely SILENT? Or do you use the wisdom of its Antigram and LISTEN? They aren't the same thing. Not at all. A person that is silent is not speaking but there is no guarantee that they listen. Listening is a deliberate choice to give value to another person. Only through deliberate effort to not just hear but to understand the words do they gain the power to create understanding, discernment, and action.

This choice is constantly in front of us: at home, on the job, in our relationships, purchasing choices, political affiliation, charitable causes. There is a constant temptation to pass our silence for true listening when we are instead entranced by the inner sounds of our own silence.

It's your choice. Choose well.

"Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals." ( Henri Nouwen)


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About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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