I watched one of the Presidential debates the other night and it reminded me just how powerful words are. During the debate, all candidates repeated words they wanted to sink into Americans' consciousness. (In computerspeak, I guess we'd call them "keywords".)

But one frontrunner candidate, in particular, kept repeating derogatory words about one of his opponents, also a frontrunner. His opponent vehemently denied those words and the media seemed to concur that they were untrue. But this candidate continued to repeat those keywords about the other man over and over, up to the very end of the debate. It seemed obvious he wanted to have them stick – to paint them on his opponent with indelible ink that soaked clear through his skin.

It got me thinking about words and the power of words: "Jury, disregard that last statement" kind of thing. Or "Don't think about an elephant."

His opponent claimed those words were taken out of context. Maybe they were – I don't know – I'm not writing about the veracity of his keywords. My point is about the power of words and the opposing emotions they can elicit when taken in context and out of context.

This was brought home to me last evening when I said to Colitta, as I frequently do throughout the day, "I'm going to beat you up!"

Of course, she probably heard it as "Aaar rahaar aarr raaww raw," or something like that, because Colitta is a dog.

She loves it when I say "I'm going to beat you up!" because it's a fun game we play to see who can get up the stairs the fastest. She smiles (truly, she does smile) and pants and wags her stump of a tail, whether she wins the race up the stairs or not. And she always gets extra pettings at the top.

I play this innocent game with my “rescue” pooch – my cherished dog who, on her first day in my home, shook so badly from fear I thought her heart would stop and all fours would stand straight up in the air. She had been kept outside in a pen for the first seven years of her life – even in the bitter cold weather we have in these northern New Mexico mountains.

This miracle dog, who died on the operating table and was revived by the first-rate vets in Taos – "Good news! So far it looks like no brain damage!" – has a back with a permanent no-fur, four-inch triangle and her missing teeth give her tongue the perfect place to loll when she pants. But she's beautiful to me, loves me unconditionally and our race seems to be her favorite thing to do.

If someone were to write that Ellen frequently says to Colitta, "I'm going to beat you up," without putting those words into the context of our race up the stairs, how distorted they could become.

This observation hit me over the head with the marketing of candidates. How refreshing it would be if we could be spared some of the distortions and negativity of the campaign trail - and if civility and veracity ruled.

Until that day, we can each notice that our own words carry energy and power. It's a good reason to be conscious of the words we choose when we speak to others and to ourselves.

May your coming month be filled with many delights, both large and small.


Author's Bio: 

Ellen Wood, inspirational speaker and author of "The Secret Method for Growing Younger" was born in 1936. Her lifelong interest in metaphysics includes over 40 years of practicing techniques for balancing and joyfully integrating body, mind and spirit. It was after her beloved mother wasted away with Alzheimer's that she began to wake up to the fact that she could also change the process of aging. Now, Ellen's passion, as both a writer and workshop leader, is pioneering a revolution in age-reversing consciousness.