Write Your Own Lexicon

Gratitude list first today, and then a task:

Gratitude List:
1. Words, dictionaries, semantics
2. Romance
3. A day of not-snowing
4. Sourdough bread
5. Lovey-dovey cats.

May we walk in Beauty!

Today’s task is to start your own dictionary.  I think I am going to call mine Words of Power, or Word-Hoard, or maybe Crazy Beth’s Lexicon.  It’s a project that will take more than today, of course.  I think I’ll put the words in the book that I put together every year (I can’t bring myself to say scrapbook,  but that’s essentially what it is.)

I haven’t yet read all of Kathleen Norris’ Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith, but the idea has inspired me for some time now: to think about words that hold particular meaning for me in my own spiritual wandering and wrangle the semantics.  These are my own personal T.A.R.D.I.S. words: like Doctor Who’s time machine, they are bigger on the inside than they appear from the outside.  As I have carried them about with me over time, they have taken on nuances and shades of meaning that may not have been there when I first picked them up.  They’re luminous and numinous (and those are both words that ought to make my list), shining from the inside, and suggesting that there is Deeper Meaning in the world.

Noticing:
This is the one I have chosen to define my spiritual story.  I want to be a Noticer.  It’s not a new idea, not my own, just a word that I have picked up and tinkered with.

Be conscious, be awake, be observant.  Live in the present moment.  Be here now, said Ram Dass.  Don’t walk past the color purple in a field and not notice it, says Alice Walker.  Be mindful.  Notice the white gull in a wintry sky, the way dawn creeps up over the river, the sound of the bluebird in the maple tree, the smell of gill-over-the-grass when you walk upon it.

Notice the way your lover’s eyes twinkle and sparkle when he’s trying to make you laugh, the way your child’s muscles relax as she settles onto your lap while you’re reading, the way your friend’s eyebrows crinkle when she tells you something that makes her worry.  Notice the way energy flows between people, the way the air crackles around someone who is feeling the power of her ability to communicate, the way the shadows creep around someone who is feeling depleted and anxious.

Bridge:
Every Christmastide–those 12 days between Yule/Christmas and Epiphany-ish–I pay extra close attention to my dreams, watching for images and words that I might harvest for the coming season of my life, to give shape to my emerging story.  This year, I woke up one morning not with a dream remembered, but with a single word waiting for me: Bridge.  Last year or the year before, I wrote a poem for an organization called Bridge of Hope which helps to set up community safety nets for women and children who have experienced homelessness.  My Waldorf friends speak of the Rainbow Bridge as the place where the souls of children come from the other world to this place, and where the living pass to the realms of the dead.  We create bridges between people, between places.

Build bridges between myself and my deeper self, between friends from diverse circles, between ideas that feel oppositional.  Build bridges of light and hope, of spiderweb and dreams, build bridges of words that cross chasms where lurk despair and rage and fear.  I’m going to be working on this word for the whole year.

Others I will add: Palimpsest, Graces, Luminous / Numinous, Web

What words will make your list?

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