52 things I know about words (and you should too): #2 Words Create Experience

Recently I lived two entirely different weekends in the same 48 hours.

Weekend one – The I did weekend

  • I connected with friends
  • I re-read a favorite book
  • I listened to the rain on my roof
  • I had a great coaching session with my personal trainer setting fitness goals and strategies
  • I went for a wonderful West Seattle walk with my new puppy Chloe.
  • I picked & ate some fresh blackberries
  • I had fish & chips outdoors with a wonderful view of downtown, and the nice lady at the restaurant give me a free glass of wine just because I was short on cash in my pocket
  • I wrote and posted a new blog post – an accomplishment weeks in the waiting
  • I bonded and did some training with Chloe
  • I did some much needed shopping

Weekend two – The I didn’t weekend

  • I didn’t get a pedicure to fix my sad, chipped toenail polish
  • I didn’t clean out the car
  • I didn’t balance the checkbook or do financial planning
  • I didn’t do my meal planning and buy groceries for two weeks
  • I didn’t climb the Muni building stairs
  • I didn’t go to yoga class
  • I didn’t clean out my email and organize my calendar
  • I didn’t revise and refine my 1yr, 5yr 10yr plan
  • I didn’t try to find my future husband by writing to 10 potential dates online
  • I didn’t go to see the movie “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
  • I didn’t clean the litter box

(Side question to self: Why is the ‘didn’t’ weekend easier to write/remember?)

Which is it?

Comparing them, weekend one sounds and feels like a wonderful, relaxing and fulfilling two days. Weekend two sounds and feels burdensome, overwhelming and dreary. Funny thing is – it was the same weekend, the exact same 48 hours, and I lived them both.

It wasn’t until Sunday evening after taking Chloe for a walk, that I glanced at my car on the way in the house and caught myself thinking “Damned, I didn’t clean the car.” And that’s when it hit me – I had just experienced a wonderful weekend, but here I was, beating myself up for what I hadn’t done. And, I’d been doing that all throughout the weekend. Yes, I hadn’t done a weeks’ worth of chores, but I had done all that other great stuff. In that moment, I remembered – I get to choose which weekend I actually had. Which weekend would I relive in my mind? Which weekend would I share with coworkers the next day? It was really up to me to say.

Then I realized it’s actually always like that. Our words, made into stories and descriptions of what occurred, are what create our experiences. And, we always have a choice about the words we use and the stories we tell ourselves and others. And those stories we choose give us the quality of our experience.

Fast forward to Monday

Co-worker: “How was your weekend?”

Me: “It was wonderful! Relaxing. I went for a walk with Chloe in West Seattle, re-read a favorite book, picked some blackberries….”

What about you?

  • How do you choose what stories to tell?
  • Are they mostly default (didn’t do weekend),  or created (did do weekend)?
  • How do you remind yourself to tell great stories?
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18 Comments

Filed under Words

18 responses to “52 things I know about words (and you should too): #2 Words Create Experience

  1. Great illustration of the power of focus and the idea that reality is in our heads. Which version is more real or true or right? They both are equally truthful. Yet your focus will totally change your experience of the weekend (both during and afterwards) and your emotional state!

  2. Great food for thought! Since I began writing more consistently I’ve noticed a pull to tell great stories vs. the default. It feels so good to tell a good story and I need reminders, structures of that (ie: blog, public declarations, support).

    When my structures are in place, life is great. No structures? Life is a drama with a very different flavour!

    • itsleisa

      Oh, I like that thought that as you write more, good stories, and choosing those becomes easier. What a bonus. Thanks.

  3. OhWow, Leisa! This is perfect for me. Especially when you said it was the same weekend. I wrestle with the mind’s dialogue of “you should” and “you need to” and “you didn’t.” It certainly takes the joy out of life when I get hooked into it. The way you put it into two lists makes it easier to remember. Focus, Grasshopper! Watch where your focus is!

    THANK YOU!
    MJ

  4. I love this post. I beat myself up a lot about what I don’t get done. In fact, I’m on vacation this week and writing this from my hotel room. Yesterday I got up early got some “vacationing” stuff done and then took a long nap. It was refreshing but I found myself feeling guilty because I didn’t get any reading, etc done.

    I appreciate the reminder that sometimes we need to let life get in the way of our to-do list. 🙂

  5. Thank you for the reminder! I’m way too hard on myself most of the time. Comes with the type-A, perfectionist personality I guess. But it can be changed!

    You’ve inspired me to create a new habit – every evening I’m going to focus on all the positive things I DID that day (instead of my usual evening of frustration focusing on all the things I DIDN’T do)

    Thank you Leisa!

  6. Good for you!
    Years ago I dated someone whose mission was to turn weekends into mini-vacations. I’ve always tried to hold on to that. Errands are over-rated!
    Tatyana

  7. Excellent post and a wonderful illustration of how we create our reality through our speaking. Love the web site!

    Alexis
    31DBBB participant

    • itsleisa

      Thanks Alexis. I am really a fan of your writing, and so am honored that you enjoyed mine. : D Via la better blogging!

  8. Leisa, you’ve left me looking forward to the next 50 things. I don’t care how long I’ve practiced yoga or meditation or how many books I’ve read about yoga or meditation, this internal battle of perspective never stops. Thanks for sharing your experience, it helps remind us that we’re not alone….we’re all the same…..and hopefully we can be a little more gentle with ourselves and choose to remember the good stuff.

  9. You are dead on with this one. I find a similar thing takes place when we describe positive events versus negative ones.

    I wrote a post back in January about one particular day where lots of good stuff happened to me, but I let the one negative thing become “my story.”

    http://creativesprinkle.blogspot.com/2010/01/fishing-for-happiness.html

  10. Such an awesome point… no matter what we do or don’t do, what we focus on is what we remember. We are all living multiple lives at once, and we get to choose which one we experience.

    Thanks!

  11. This is beautiful.

    Words, though a poor reflection of our thoughts and feelings, a feeble attempt at communicating our inner selves, are all that we have to share with each other when distance denies us human touch.

    And the very ineptness of words is exactly what gives them such power. The reader, the hearer, decides on the meaning, interprets the intention based on her own experience of those words.

    If we’re mindful, choosing each word with attention and intention, what a joyful release we can feel. What a beautiful, kind and generous practice you’ve offered yourself. And us! Thank you!

    Hugs and butterflies,
    ~T~

  12. I loved this. Better: I needed this.
    This is how posts get others to act on their own lives.
    Thank you for this.

    I believe the key to focusing on the positive is PRACTICE!
    I tend to remember the “didn’t” or “didn’t like” because I dwell on them. Bad attitude! I need to fix it.

  13. Pingback: November Series: Thankful Thursday

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