Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guest Post: Wording the World...

Posted By Rachel Brumberger

Some of our teachers remind me to be careful of what words ever come out of my mouth, because as soon as they are spoken, they create an entire world, which was not there before.

This teaching landed more deeply with me today, than in any other moment I have considered it. Yesterday the world that I lived in was “serious” and “urgent.” Today, the world is “maybe” and “?”

Yesterday, when the doctors said to me that my diagnosis of a cerebral venous thrombosis (or a vein clot in/near my brain) was “serious” – and that I needed to take care of some items with urgency, I allowed it to define me. I listened in a way that I forgot that things could be different tomorrow. And, when tomorrow arrived and the words they spoke were “maybe”, and “it’s questionable,” I also allowed that to define me. I listened in away that I forgot about my confidence and my power.

My BodyMindSpirit had no say in these worlds –I was at the mercy of whatever was said. I forfeited my power and I allowed these words to determine how I was going to be with my life in these moments. I created a story – true or not – about my mortality, and I found myself - without even realizing it – swinging back and forth like a pendulum between doom, manageable care, and some other world I call no big deal. I forgot, in the midst of all of this, that I was living in worlds created by these words, and that there is more to it than that.

I am not ignoring the actual reality of the situation; I am speaking to the power of our language – the sheer power that the spoken word holds…because wherever it lands, a seed is planted and grows.

I have a responsibility to myself, and every person I engage with to be very intentional with my words. I realize now, so deeply and so powerfully, the impact that one word I speak may have on one of my patients.  For them, for me, it might actually paint the difference between life and death.

And I have a responsibility in my listening as well – because it is not just the words I speak, it is the meaning that I hear, attach or assign.

In realizing this, it is my obligation to all of those around me that I listen with a very clear observer. I have the opportunity and responsibility to listen to the words, consider the meaning and choose whether or not this meaning serves. I can ask myself, is this meaning too small, maybe boxed-in or stubborn? Is it a fair assessment? Is it holistic, have I considered all of the angles? Is it large, does it leave room for other interpretation? Have I assigned it a value and is that helpful?

My doctors are using their words the best way they know how – they are giving me appropriate instruction based on the information that is available to them.  I am aware that they were conscientious of their message to me – to take this seriously, and not to panic. What a challenging message to deliver to someone – to make sure they understand a possible severity without causing undo stress.

How are you wording - and hearing - the world around you?

6/2/11 Update: As a response to concerns that have been expressed I want to let you all know I am doing well and more recent tests show no CVT

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