Friday, July 30, 2010

Around the pond

“Language is a mirror of the mind.”
- Noam Chomsky

 We visited a friend of my husband's who lives on 13 acres an hour and a half from the city. I was thinking that it was a long drive to meet someone for lunch. We were planning to just drive out to see his house and property. I don't have a great desire to be out in nature without a purpose. On the other hand, my husband loves being outdoors, enjoying nature, watching for birds, and hanging out.

I had the expectation of walking through weeds, bugs, and viewing a pond before lunch. The first thing I noticed as we started walking was the dry weeds, stickers, sun in my eyes, and some water. My description of my environment would sound something like this:

We walked through the dry trampled weeds around a blue algae encrusted pond. 

Then I felt the breeze coming across the pond, and my mood brightened. I love to see a lake, pond, or ocean. Being around water somehow feels like freedom to me the way that being out of town feels relaxing to my husband (and his friend.) On the walk back to the house I started seeing the landscape through a different lens. I would describe the walk like this:

This morning I walked through golden strands of flattened grass to gaze across an azure blue pond at the green trees in the distance.

The same experience can be described with very different language. The way I pictured the walk before we got there influenced my mood and experience. But the story I write in my mind creates a negative or positive experience.  The way I describe the experience influences not only how I feel about the experience, but also the mood and the memory I take with me. By writing my experience with positive descriptions and feelings, I create a pleasing memory to carry with me. I have fond memories of the blue pond, golden grass, and nice company.

There are times when it is necessary and important to see and remember the glaring problems of abuse, poverty, and war. We can make room in our minds to consider the suffering of the innocent if we reframe our daily negative thoughts about relatively pleasant experiences. Enjoy the good things: relationships, family, creativity, and health. Listen to your language, thoughts and feelings. Where are they taking you?

20 minutes walking

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