Thursday, February 12, 2009

Free the Word...Save the World

I ran across a charming website today called My Inner World. It's the gentle work of Michele Bernhardt , filled with pretty illustrations and thoughtful insights - nothing heavy or dense but worth a visit. 

Besides the pretty drawings and nifty Flash work, I picked up something really useful from the site. Michelle talks about the concept of "freeing a word" in her site, noting the power of words and the associations we form with them. Michelle says, "Words have great power. When you hear a word, act as if you are hearing it for the first time."  She adds, "Try not to allow one thought, one memory or a world view opinion influence your relationship with any word."

Though out of context with Michelle's work (though, I suspect, not entirely), my immediate thought was what an incredible tool for spiritual bridge building!   If we "freed" all the words we use for religious beliefs, spiritual paths, and those who follow them...removed the associations we have with those words and looked at each individual instance with fresh eyes...what might we see?  What blinders and obstacles to understanding might we remove?

Next time someone says, "I am a ....," or, "I follow a ____ path," free the words and hear them as though for the first time. Ask what they mean. Listen.  Freeing the words may not save the world, but it will save us from assumptions that create barriers, opening space to build the bridges we so desparately need.


  1. What a beautiful idea!

  2. As with all your posts, you have captured the essence of the site you 'reviewed'...and it's a lovely and timely statement.


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