The ABC's of Speech

>   It’s my birthday so I think it’s a perfectly acceptable day to reflect upon myself. No, not in the 1960’s “it’s all about me, me, me” sense…but in the 21st century “importance of Self-Awareness” sense.
   There’s a big difference, you know.
   Self-absorption is thinking and believing that you are the center of the Universe with total disregard for the rights and considerations of others. Self-awareness is knowing your inherent beauty and unique purpose in the ongoing unfolding of this world then aligning your words and deeds with that knowing. 
   While we all know that right action is a good thing, I’m less certain we grasp the importance of right speech.
   Take, me, for example. I have always loved words. As a child, I literally read everything I could get my hands on. Books, magazines, labels, telephone books…you name it. If I had a few moments to spare and there were words within my reach, I read them. So naturally I grew up with a great vocabulary and an ongoing love of reading. 
   But I also grew up in a house where the last point made in a discussion was the last one shouting. So, while I had an inherent appreciation for words, I was sorely lacking in an appreciation of the importance of tone. For it’s not just what we say but how we say it that creates the total effect. As an adult, I often found people thinking I was mad, or rude, not because of my words…they almost didn’t hear them…but rather because of my tone. 
   In Kabbalah, mystical Judaism, there is the belief that the world was created with the letters of the Hebrew Alphabet. Literally. The belief is that each letter is a channel, a frequency, of energy that in specific combinations creates worlds…creates matter. Thus, the “ineffable name of God.” Pronouncing it in correct sequence would invoke more energy than we could withstand. And the Chofetz Chaim, a Jewish Rabbi and philosopher, wrote volumes on the importance of right speech.
   Reading e-mails I often cringe at “e-mail-ese.” Mangled punctuation and grammar for the sake of expediency. And don’t get me started on Instant Messaging or cell phone text messaging lingo. 
   The art of using words is on a downward slide.
   The cure is to know what’s in your heart and express it through the use of words that say precisely what you mean in a tone that can be heard and received by the listener. 
   Remembering that worlds are created by the proper combination of letters plus frequency is a powerful reminder of why this is an art worth saving.
   This morning, on his way to work at 5:30AM, my husband work me up to wish me a happy birthday. He said the words gently, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face.
   What a beautiful world.

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