The Power Words
In the spring of this year, I think it was March, I signed up to ride in a 200 mile charity bike ride on the East Coast in October. It was somewhat of an impulsive decision, since my life was unraveling around me and I needed something to focus on that had both nothing to do with me and it was a lot bigger than my own troubles. I have never done anything like this, didn’t bike much except occasional Sunday rides of 5-10 miles and little escapades in the city on my mountain bike. This was a whole new ball game. It sounded like a good idea at the time and I didn’t think much of what it would take to prepare to do such a thing. I set out to raise some money right away, because I knew that once I receive the first check, I will be locked in. No backing out. I was really going to do this. I bought a road bike for the occasion and every week I looked at it, dangling from the hook in my garage, mocking me, daring me, nudging me. I ignored it. In the mid July I couldn’t take it any longer and took it for a spin. I felt like a 3 year old must feel on the first bike ride when they can actually keep the balance while knowing all along that it is just a matter of time till they bite the dust. It happened on the second ride. I was going too fast and reached for the breaks where they were supposed to be, but it is a different bike and they weren’t there. I bruised both my ass and my ego that day. But I didn’t break anything, so it actually gave me confidence to start riding more. From one week to the next I became better at it, stronger, more efficient. I met amazing people along the way who coached me and taught me how to ride a bike. Almost 2 months to the date of my first ride I rode my first Century, 100 miles in one day. I felt proud and accomplished and, well, ready for my big event. My friends celebrated. Nobody questioned it. My event happened last weekend and again, 2 weeks after the first century, I was able to ride another one, this one on the hills of Pennsylvania and then keep riding long distances over the following 2 days. I felt great, no biggie.
That is until I started talking to other cyclists who expressed a surprise and amazement at my ability at 49 years old to ride so far with such a short practice. They shared with me that it can take 2-4 years to prepare to ride a century. WHAT? Why didn’t anyone tell me before? I would have never signed up for this thing!
What occurred to me at that moment was that the only reason why I was able to do this was that nobody told me I couldn’t. I was ignorant of what I “shouldn’t” have been able to do. I had no expectations to contend with, no limitations. There was no overcoming, no struggle, no resistance, no conquering. There was simply deciding on a goal, mapping out what needs to be done and doing it.
It made me think about the hypnotizing power of the language. From the moment we are born, we hear our parents tell us “don’t do that”, “don’t touch that”, “you can’t”, “you shouldn’t”, “don’t be”, “impossible”. As we grow up, the society reinforces the hypnosis until, before we know it, it becomes the hum behind every thought and every decision we make and we stop questioning it. It becomes our truth and we begin to talk to ourselves the same way. We get duped into a box. There are some who when they become aware of it, fight it and sometimes manage to escape, creating the amazing overcoming stories that sell How To programs and create guru followings. For most of us, it translates into a life in a box, full of longing for what lies beyond and impotence to do anything about it.
But it made me wonder, what would happen if we broke the spell. If we took a full responsibility for the words that come out of our mouths. Whether they are directed at ourselves, at others or at life in general. What would happen if we would use the power of language ONLY in service of love? If we only spoke the truth and what we really mean? If we never spoke negatively to ourselves or gossip about others? If we banished those self and other limiting phrases out of our vocabulary? Not as a cheesy attempt at positivity or sugar coated bullshit, but as a step in our evolution, so we can wake up and then CHOSE what kind of hypnosis we want to be subject to. I’m going to do just that. Join me if you dare and we will compare notes.