Change Language, Change the World.
My initiation into language wasn’t until the age of 18 when I began taking workshops from Natalie Rousseau and Jonathan Boyd. Despite the fact that the workshops were in a yoga studio and taught by yoga teachers, the lessons around language invoked a reverence in me that raised the standards of how I would speak to myself, others, and eventually the public.
Following my new passion for language, I took a literature class at a local college while taking photography at an art school and psychology. Whilst I was waiting to attend nursing school, a path that would ensure security for my kind and gentle-natured soul (or so I thought, but that is a story for another article), I assumed this would open my youthful eyes to seeing the world with more wisdom.
During this time, my experiences did not meet my expectations. My photography classes were accommodating elderly women holding a DSLR for the first time. My psychology classes were so late in the day, I could barely stay awake, and my literature class felt utterly impossible. I received my first and only D in this class. This would have shaken me, but since many other students failed this class, I placed myself in a bell curve and laughed it off, deeply hoping it wouldn’t affect my future. Needless to say, I decided it wasn’t literature I enjoyed, but the energy of the language I had learned in yoga, and the study of Sanskrit in particular. I satisfied my thirst for this by beginning to read the Biography of Mahatma Ghandi. I loved the way he lead by example and seemed to carry so much conviction in his dedication to ethical action and Satya or truth. I saw Gandhi in myself and deeply resonated with the way he lived in integrity, even when that meant fasting or living off of fruit because he was committed to vegetarianism. Since I was 18/19 years old, I was also trying to fit into a life that appeared culturally appropriate by going out and drinking, which I never liked.
Over time, with more yoga classes, workshops, Gandhi inspiration, and time in Victoria, BC where I exposed myself to vegetarian restaurant culture and nature, it was even more clear that the path for me was guided by yoga.
I then took my first yoga teacher’s training (2012 at Moksana Yoga) and was opened to a path that felt more aligned than anything I had experienced. I learned Ayurveda, which I would become a student of for life. I also learned yogic philosophy, which settled so deeply inside me, it would carry me through the next challenging decade of my life.
During my yogic studies, I started to learn about the power of language. We would use Sanskrit words and learn how they unlock and assist energy while guiding people through asana. We learned words such as “expand, reach, release, and rise” which all create certain energies in someone receiving them.
I also learned about trauma and understood some common tones, frequencies, and words were more likely to cause someone to contract or feel fearful. Speaking became an art of creating ease to ignite wonder and possibility.
During my career as a nurse and my work in resilience, I carried my understanding of the soothing effect I could have on people. While removing a patient’s sutures, giving blood transfusions to someone with cancer, giving a new baby their injections, or bathing the comatose body of someone with head trauma, I carried this soothing voice because I could see myself in them. I could imagine being the recipient of myself and the small difference a healing voice could make.
This balmy and gentle, yet joyous way is now ingrained in me and my way of being. I am grateful for the chance to place compassion in the world with a single tone or word.
Language holds power set with intention.
When we speak, we breathe energy into the world. We can be the medicine for one another if we choose. We can share enthusiasm and wisdom. We can heal and give hope. We can love.
“Take off the shoes of your voice” -Ocean Vuong
My elder explains, “If there is anything in this moment showing up that isn’t love, this is where to look and do the work”.
We have seen language change over time, which has been demoralizing, but also brings hope because it means that language evolves.
More accurately, we evolve language.
We get to change language and meaning.
Change your language, change your life.
May you be well.