In the 1970’s I developed the horrible habit of saying “I’m sorry”… it became a habit of speech that I used daily and unconsciously until a friend got out a jelly jar and started insisting I put a quarter in every time I said it.
Now, in my tired end-of-the-day moments (like when the dishwasher fails again while I have company visiting) I find myself muttering angrily under my breath, “G*D*MNIT” a little too frequently for my comfort.
As I sat in meditation this morning I had a vision of myself as a child wincing at the angry old people feared: They said stuff like this all the time and although it wasn’t even directed at me (just at life in general) it stung and hurt and made the world seem malignant. I then reflected on the happier more Buddha-like older adults I knew and realized that instead of “G*D*MNIT” they said, “God Bless It” with a smile and a shrug.
How did I turn into this angry older person that I feared as a child? Well, there’s fierce power in curse words. I once read a study that suggested that if you reserve curse words for particularly painful moments (think hammer on thumbnail) it actually helps to numb the pain.
However, everyday moments are not in the same category as a thumb smashed by a hammer and now that I’ve recognized this in myself, I see it’s my choice another jelly jar moment.
“Once said, never unsaid” Words hang in the ether. Will I continue to pollute? It’s resolution time, baby. Go.