Watch Your Words

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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“The tongue has the power of life and death…”
Proverbs 18:21

Words carry immense power. What you and I say to ourselves and others matters; it shapes our perceptions, and in turn realities.  Day by day, moment by moment, this principle becomes clearer in many ways.

Shannon (Live In Color blog co-editor) and I spoke recently about the weightiness of words. “You know Mel,” she said squarely, “we are word people. We really are.” When you are a lover of words, you are constantly wrestling with what you say, and taking in what others say.

Several years ago my husband and I sat in a crowded  auditorium, my niece’s excitement bubbled over; she pointed out her favorite Disney characters gliding across the ice. “Look Uncle Keston,” she exclaimed, grabbing hold of his hand. “Look!”

We smiled,  perhaps remembering how easily joy comes to us in childhood. And then, abruptly, another voice interrupted. “Shut up, you ugly little b*#%.” I turned around to see a young woman pulling at her toddler, hurling insults and laughing; Silently I wept for the little girl, her face, what I could make out of it in the dimness, filled with confusion and sadness. Her eyes seemed to whisper, “Why are you so angry?”

On days when I hear someone being particularly cruel, spewing vitriol and hatred, I am reminded of those incidents, and the lesson. Words impact us all. Forget that old-school rhyme:”Sticks and stones break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Grasping the enormity of what one says is deeply connected to awareness, stillness, sitting with your words after you say them. We can hinder or heal, empower or eviscerate the spirit of another living being.  Choose to use them in service of love and respect.

Two Ways to Watch Your Words:

1. Empathize – Yes, it sounds like a no brainier, but empathy helps us see the world compassionately. How do you like someone to speak to you? Do you enjoy being cut off, your words and thoughts discounted? None of us does, so consider that when communicating with others. We begin to see others perspectives, and our word choice reflects it.

2. Speak Solutions – Like most of us dealing with frustrations, I am guilty of saying, “I’m so sick of…” or “I’m tired of…” in an effort to relieve the tension. Lately, I am turning these words around and focusing on what I want to expand.  So, if you are tired of a particular situation,  focus instead on your solution.

Live In COLOR! – Emelda

How do you watch your words? Is it a struggle for you? Share with us!

 

Greatness is Service

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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“Everybody can be great… because everybody can serve … You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Photo Credit: www.drmartinlutherking.net

Get outside of yourself, the minutia of day-to-day concerns and serve. Service is oxygen for the soul, an apt reminder that we are all inextricably linked. In those few hours or moments of volunteer work, whether it’s helping someone with groceries, a lift to work or mentoring, we become transformed. Slowly we realize that others are dealing with our problems, or worse ones, and however immense, we can climb above them.

American culture’s vapid veneration of capitalism and status sees greatness myopically, you are what you have, where you attend school, live and work – not who you have helped. Yet those who serve others – teachers, volunteers, men and women of faith – leave lasting impacts.

For years I thought of mentoring programs in Baltimore, but convinced myself I lacked the clout. Who would listen to me as a mentor?
One day I silenced those voices, walked into the offices of the CHIP (children of incarcerated parents) mentoring program, and signed up.

During the 2-4 hours every other week I spent time with Deja, a lanky and attractive teenager whose quiet eyes hid years of struggle with a chronic illness, I grew. She taught me invaluable lessons in gratitude, and grace in the face of tremendous odds.

Suddenly, like her, I was fourteen again; giggling innocuously as I found out we shared another commonality like sketching, or a penchant for fashion.

We visited museums together, danced to pop songs with the windows down, and laughed. Our spirits free and ebullient.

Deja has since passed away, but our time together remains a cogent lesson in service, and ultimately, for me human understanding.

James Baldwin, a brilliant literary voice, wrote about discovering the universality of his own suffering; just as he struggled in Harlem, so did millions of others in ghettos throughout the world.

When we serve, our vision becomes expansive, our compassion is enriched – through changing someone else’s life, we are transformed.

How will you serve someone else in your daily life?

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