Wednesday, December 15, 2021


I have had a dynamic relationship to words and to speaking my entire life.

I was repeatedly punished as a child for talking too much. School and church teachers went to sometimes drastic measures to get me to shut up. My parents followed suit. I was literally beaten, grounded, had privileges taken away, shamed, shushed; all with temporary success.

I talked too much.

Truth be told I still talk too much.

I know that is what some of you were thinking.

And it is alright. It is true. I know it. And I mostly accept it.

It is rare that I have a conversation that I do not notice a program running about how much I am saying. I have a continual inner word count going that looks and feels a whole lot like my mother. It does not regularly slow me down. But I am aware that I am aware.

I enjoy the irony that while I was punished and diminished for the amount of talking I do I have made my living for over twenty-five years speaking in front of audiences and congregations. When I am not in front of audiences I am usually engaged in professional conversations. Or I am doing what I am doing now. Writing.

Now, I have indeed been accused multiple times of being too wordy in my essays and blogs.

I guess when you talk too much you also write too much. It must follow that my lectures are too long as well.

Oh well.

It is evident to me that this is where I should cut this short and end for a surprising example of brevity.

Well, just a bit more.

I admit to having a reoccurring fantasy in which I stop everything I do that is verbal. In my fantasy I inexplicably vanish, sitting silently on a mountain. Staring. Minimal inner commentary. Spacious mind, open heart, silent mouth. I would sit so long I might well forget what my voice sounds like.

Not today.

I do aspire to speak less in order to say more. I intend to only say things I truly mean. That I follow up with congruency and action. I want to become my word. Fully. I want to be a study in authenticity. If I say something I want to know and to be known by the fact that my word will be actualized. Realized. If I say I am going to do something I will do it. You can count on me being and doing what I say.

In order to accomplishment that I may need to indeed say less.

People say things to me almost everyday that I know they will never follow through with. I have gotten mostly past the need to judge that. I believe they believe what they are saying when they are saying it. I also know it will never happen.

Perhaps I am not the only one who needs to say less.

I see this as being most true when being told that people love me. It has become somewhat habitual in our culture. I guess it is better than many other things that could be word played. But it is so often stated with no or little feeling. And it is rarely followed up with action. It is seldom measurable. I hear the words, yet I do not feel the experience or see any kind of metric that lets me know it is true. Love is a verb, or it simply isn’t love.

If you are still reading this wordy missive, please hear that I am writing of a deepening commitment to be implemented by me and only me. You get to use words in any way you choose. I may recognize the lack of substance behind them. I promise not to mention that. I am just stating what I want to be more of. I do try and live what I teach about. I do it imperfectly. But I do continue to seek to become the principles and Truths I espouse. And I am committed to do that with all that I say. If I say it, I will do it. If I tell you I love you, you will see evidence of it. I will connect to those words. I want you to feel the reality of my declaration. I want you to have direct evidence. My words will be verbs.

It is said that talk is cheap. It is more often than not true. I want to use words you can take to the bank. It will require less words, and I am up to the task. Maybe this isn’t the best example of brevity. Sometimes it is hard to condense sincerity. But my inner word counter is aware. I may not yet be ready for silent mountain gazing, but I am more awake to the impact of my words and to the desire to be as authentic and congruent as possible.

With a new year fast approaching I am going to be saying less in order to listen more. I may not write for a while, just to allow for a deeper connection to the wordlessness within me. It may be time for me to re-examine all my speaking activities. As one who talks too much, perhaps it is nearing time to become still. I have been talking a long time. Maybe it is someone else’s turn.

I will likely always have a dynamic relationship to words and to speaking. I do suspect that the dynamic is about to change.

You have my word.