Finding My Way in a Wild New World: A Look Back at Wordlessness

This book. Oh, this book. I read it when it first came out, around January of 2012, and I thought it was absolutely amazing. Definitely a life-changing read, but for the “life changing” part to happen, the exercises and ideas in the book have to actually be, you know, done consistently, and I dropped off with my practice far too quickly. Which is why I started reading it again at the end of 2013. I’m taking it slowly, just reading a few pages before bed most nights, and trying to absorb as much as I can.

The book is written by Martha Beck, through whom I took my coach training back in 2009, and is broken into of four parts (five if you count the intro): Wordlessness, Oneness, Imagination, and Forming. I finished the portion on Wordlessness. about a week ago, and although I’m into the Oneness section now (and trying my darndest to become one with and bend a fork, but more on that in a later post), I feel compelled to summarize what I got out of the Wordlessness section, both for my own recall and to encourage others to read the book and/or start using some of the ideas from it.

  • What Wordlessness is: basically it’s meditation. An absence of words. An absence of those thoughts that can kill your mood, your confidence, your feeling of happines and well-being, etc.
  • My favorite way to achieve Wordlessness: Exhale. Hold breath out. Find and feel your heartbeat. Focus on your heartbeat. Inhale, exhale. Hold breath out. Feel heartbeat/pulse in other areas of the body, out through your limbs, through your internal organs if possible (I like to try to feel the pulse going to my placenta/baby girl; she often kicks while I practice Wordlessness). Inhale, exhale, repeat process. I usually try to just keep feeling that pulse throughout my whole cycle of breath (as in, even when I’m inhaling), and then the idea is to not only practice this while sitting still, but then also to hold onto this state while performing a simple activity, like walking or washing dishes. I have been doing the sitting still and feeling my heartbeat and the pulsing part every single night before bed, but I try to slip into this state at various times throughout the day, too. It still hard for me to actually stay wordless/without thoughts for any period of time, but I enjoy practicing
  • Martha says that the more she practices Wordlessness, the less she uses words while she coaches, or something along those lines. She says that her clients (and the rest of us) can’t out-think problems that were created by thoughts, and that has really resonated with me. Does that make sense?  If you created a problem in your life with thoughts (which, let’s face it, you probably did, just like I do), thinking even more about it probably won’t help. Well, unless you come up with opposite and equally true thoughts that make you feel good and allow you to release yourself from the problem. Then I can see how words and thoughts would help, but otherwise, thoughts just create more crap and stress in your brain.
  • We all need to play more. Rest and play, rest and play, that’s all you need, ends up being one of the major messages from this book, but so far in the Wordlessness section we’ve just covered play. Play doesn’t mean sitting on the couch watching TV, either, it means doing something that’s both fun and challenging for you. For me I would say play includes making art of various types, because it’s both very fun and gratifying, but also challenging and sometimes I resist it because it’s too hard or time consuming. Also on this list would probably be writing, helping others, coaching, working on my blog/website, etc.

I don’t feel I’m doing a very thorough job of explaining this book, or how much of an impact it has had on me. It’s such a hopeful tome. Reading it makes me feel relaxed and peaceful, and like I can actually achieve anything, and not through working 80 hours a week, but through peace and allowing things to happen and unfold for me. Sounds pretty good, right?

What’s your idea of play?

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