Words have power. Hearing just the right word, at just the right moment, can completely change our entire world. This morning, I was fortunate to hear Nancy Duarte speak on the power of story in communication. She started by defining resonance, which she’s described in her blog:
“If you know an object’s natural rate of vibration, you can make it vibrate without touching it. Resonance occurs when an object’s natural vibration frequency responds to an external stimulus of the same frequency.”
(Read the entire post here, along with a really cool video of resonating salt: http://www.duarte.com/blog/what-does-it-mean-to-resonate/)
Certain words resonate with us so much that they rearrange our neurons. They can permanently change the way we see ourselves, our situation, and everyone around us. Duarte’s presentation led me to reflect on which words have had resonance in my life. Just like the shifting salt patterns in the short video in her post, my own patterns have beautifully shifted because of resonant words. It took me less than a minute to think of seven phrases that have served as my foundation, my resonant core. They come up over and over and over in conversation.
Like most introverts, I internalize deeply, so these words have become part of me on a cellular level. They recenter me when I wander and serve as my lifeline when I feel like I’m drowning.
I share them here with you, in the spirit of providing external stimulus that I hope resonates with your internal world.
I am open to outcome, not attached.
Attachment – to the way things “should” be, to what’s “right,” to “the answer” – is the pathway to disappointment. Be open to a range of outcomes. Some will be better than you can imagine, most not nearly as terrible as you dread. Let go of attachment to the precise hows and whats and wheres. A magical thing happens when you release strict expectations: failure evaporates, and you’re able to be receptive to the learning.
We are all whole, capable, resourceful.
I wrote about this recently: if you are whole, capable, and resourceful, you are not broken. You don’t need me – or anyone else – to fix you. (What a relief!) You can handle “it,” whatever “it” is. And in order to believe it for others, I must believe it for myself. I am whole, capable, and resourceful. When it comes to anything I need, it’s there, waiting for me to receive it.
Space and grace.
This is one of my favorites. I put these two words together a few years ago, and they serve as a mantra that reminds me to be compassionate with myself. To be in a place of space and grace means that I am open, inviting, forgiving, free.
Have a beginner’s mind.
When I started my coach training program, I had such a “good student” mentality. I’ve described my drive as “I wanted to be able to teach the class before I even took the class.” Anything to avoid not knowing the answer or feeling incompetent. But it was a false security. It meant I was never fully present, only busy comparing what I was hearing with what I (thought I) knew, and then trying to prove that I knew what I (thought I) knew. Once I started to be a student, not a “good” student, I started really learning.
How much baggage are you traveling with? A woman I was coaching realized that she wanted to free herself of the burden of too many things, too many competing thoughts, too much weight from the expectations of others. Her conclusion was that she wanted to travel light through this world. Her revelation became mine, and I try to remember this when I start over-packing my mental (and physical!) suitcase.
A confused mind always says “no.”
I don’t know the source of this quote, but it pops up on an almost daily basis for me. It can apply to how I communicate to people, hop-skip-jump around the web, conduct research, network, or do just about anything that involves more than one external stimulus at a time. Too much going on, and my mind shuts down. If I’m confusing myself (over-thinking/over-analyzing/second-guessing), then surely I’m confusing others. Nothing is still or spacious enough to resonate. The confusion brings to mind Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“…it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Fear knocked on the door. Love answered, and no one was there.
This is an old English proverb, and its message is pretty simple: when fear is confronted by love, it retreats. It may not go away completely. It may hang out on the edges, hiding in the bushes, hoping for another chance to knock. But it’s like the young neighborhood prankster who likes to ring your doorbell then run away before you answer it: all bark, no bite. Love wins.
What words, phrases, mantras, affirmations and/or quotes have resonated deeply with you over the years? Please share!