Denise’s Daring Daydreams for 03/10/2016


“Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  These are words my mother said to me when I was growing up.  I also heard them from several teachers.  The words were spoken to help me or others shift from a place of hurt to a place of healing and wholeness – AND – they didn’t work; at least not for me.

A study by W. Penn Handwerker, a professor of anthropology at the University of Connecticut linked depression, suicide, stress, heart disease, and aggression to a lifetime of hurtful words stored in the energy of the body.  Handwerker was interested in bullying that seemed to be on the rise in the late 90’s.  He specifically studied the Littleton, Colorado public school shootings better known as Columbine.  Handwerker found that the shooters had experienced years of hurtful words and emotional abuse.

The facts of bullying and emotional abuse experienced by the shooters do not lesson the effect of the loss of 13 lives on April 20, 1999.  What the fact does is clarify something that many of us know at a gut level.  Therapists who have worked with children or adults are well aware that abuse is not merely physical or sexual.  In fact, the effects of emotional, verbal or psychological abuse can many times be as demeaning and devastating and sometimes much harder to process.  It is much easier to say, this physical situation happened to me.  It is much more difficult to discuss emotional abuse, for the simple fact that it is emotional and many times we have stuffed it inside and chosen to not bring it to the surface again.

While most of us can’t recall the details of our day-to-day life experiences — what we ate for dinner last Thursday, which clothes we wore

on Monday, or even what we did last weekend – our minds are like a virtual recording system when it comes to the spoken word.  And it seems that we tend to harbor all the ugly things people have said to us, effortlessly playing back the comments from years and years ago.  I can still remember a 3rd 

grade teacher holding up my handwriting paper in front of a classroom of students and stating, “This is Denise’s paper and her letters are slanted backwards.  You should never write like this.”  That may not sound awful to you, but to a 9 year old, I was completely devastated.

You see I was probably born left handed, but my mother kept putting the pencil in my right hand, telling me “This is the hand you are supposed to write with.”  By the time I got to first grade, I was writing with my right hand but when cursive writing was introduced in third grade, I curved my hand on my paper and slanted my letters to the left instead of the right.  Zaner Bloser – the official handwriting course stated that “perfect and beautiful handwriting slanted to the right.”  The words spoken, “You should never write like this” translated in my 9 year old brain, “my handwriting is ugly.”  To this day I have never liked my handwriting.  As I got older, I wrote in print letters and still do except to sign my name.

Clearly words matter.  They are powerful.  And what matters most is how we use our words.  Do we use them like sticks and stones to tear down, to destruct, and destroy?  Do we use them to defend our position?  Or do we use them to build us?  Do we use them to create peace?  Jesus when speaking to his disciples stated, “My peace I give to you.”  Jesus the Master Teacher had practiced over and over the process of meditation and he was mindful of the reservoir of spirit freely available to us in any moment.  When his disciples were scared and fearful, he was able to offer them overflowing peace from the reservoir.


morning our lesson is entitled, Speak Peace.  In the words of our special music guest, Jody Soland, “I choose peace, I choose love.  I breathe it in, and it fills up my heart.  Then I send it out believing it’s healing the whole world right now.  I choose peace.  I choose love.”  What words are you choosing – what words are you speaking?  What vibration are you adding into the cosmic soup?


Peace is the Way,
Rev. D