The second new mindfulness practice I added into my routine this past year was centered around words. I’ll explain.
Every year for the past 10 years or so, as I mentioned recently in my post entitled Into the Woods, my husband Mike and I – and sometimes friends – have been going hot springing on Christmas Day. While soaking on Christmas Day in 2017, accompanied by our friends Marko and Jeff, Mike came up with a group question for us all to answer: What’s your favorite word? After quickly deciding that choosing our favorite word was too big a task, we revamped the question a bit: What’s ONE of your favorite words?
Let’s see if I can remember them. Mine was falderal, which means nonsense, and is apparently so seldom used that WordPress has seen fit to underline it in red as I’m typing, indicating that I’ve made a tragic spelling error (though of course that won’t translate on your end, dear reader). Marko’s was detritus, which is the term for small particles of rock or other earthly debris. I’m afraid I don’t recall Mike and Jeff’s.
After that, Marko and I continued this word sharing thread, as both he and I are writers and enjoy words. We started emailing each other a word of the day, though it was more like once or twice a week to start and then less frequently as time went on. Only mid-way through the year did I start keeping track of the words we would send to each other back and forth. Here are a few of my favorite ones:
When you sit on the porch admiring the sunset, you might be looking at a crepuscular ray. Defined as “a twilight ray of sunlight shining through breaks in high clouds and illuminating dust particles in the air.”
The planets were aligned in syzygy. A conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon with the sun.
Verisimilitude. Meaning: the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability; something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.
Virga: a mass of streaks of rain appearing to hang under a cloud and evaporating before reaching the ground.
1.(especially formerly) a European cavalryman of a heavily armed troop.
2.a member of a military unit formerly composed of such cavalrymen, as in the British army.
3. (formerly) a mounted infantryman armed with a short musket.
verb (used with object)
4.to set dragoons or soldiers upon; persecute by armed force; oppress.
5.to force by oppressive measures; coerce
1. the writing of the lives of the saints
2. biography of the saints
3. any biography that idealizes or idolizes its subject
1. To use evasions or ambiguities; equivocate.
2. To change sides; apostatize.
As I started honing my skills of attention towards the usage of words, I discovered a myriad of ones I either wasn’t familiar with at all or had a cloudy understanding of. I frequently came across new words in books, online in the news stories I would read, in the nightly show I watch on Netflix: Frasier, or in conversations with friends. Gradually the light of mindfulness shone on a whole new world of words that surrounded me everywhere I turned!
With each new word I came across, I took the time to look up its definition, verses skipping over it or coming up with a close-enough meaning for it in my own mind. And I’ve been interestingly surprised many times looking up words I thought I understood only to find that I’ve been totally off-base.
Once the light of mindfulness is turned on to any particular topic, subject, or area in our life it’s near impossible to turn it back off. While I will be laying this practice to rest, now that 2018 is coming to a close, I am certain that I will continue to be more attentive to new words when I come across them. I imagine I’ll even keep looking up their definitions once in a while too, as I enjoyed the process of adding new words into my vocabulary as a writer.
I declare: Onward ho to 2019! Where I will be sure to pick up and create new mindfulness practices to enfold into my daily/weekly routine :)