Sticks and stones. I don’t even need to use the phrase in its entirety. We all know it by heart. Words can hurt. Words can heal. But, have you ever given much thought to the power of the words you speak on a day to day basis? I decided to conduct a little experiment, more of an awareness than anything, and pay attention to the way I speak -or rather, the things I say- for twenty-four hours. The way I speak about myself. The way I talk to others. The way I talk ABOUT others. Wow. I knew it would be enlightening, but it was the mental equivalent of a spot light right in the eyes. I caught myself speaking negative things over my life, framing statements that opposed abundance, minimized my best qualities, refuting compliments instead of simply saying, “Thank you.” Several times, my dialogue was wrought with “But, “Can’t” as well as “Never” and “Always.” The real kicker is, I sincerely believed I was almost “always” positive and optimistic. Have you ever mentioned a person’s name, or even thought about them, and, bam, you pass them at the supermarket a few days later? Thoughts produce brainwaves, and brainwaves, frequencies, vibrations. (It’s science, if anyone is rolling their eyes at me by now…) We casually use the word “vibe” in conversation. When we say things like, “High vibing,” “Sending you good vibes,” “Don’t mess with my vibes,” what are we saying, really? On the most basic level, we generally mean we are feeling good, full of energy, happy and upbeat when our vibes are elevated. There is a reason different parts of our brain light up when researchers attach electrodes to our craniums and have us concentrate on gratitude, love and kindness or show us images of calming landscapes, smiling babies, puppies and myriad “feel good” snapshots of life. That different parts of the brain also light up when viewing disturbing scenes of car crashes, threatening scenarios or devastation on large scale is no mystery. We’re conditioned to believe if we can’t see it, it’s not there. It’s there. And, while it’s “in your head,” it’s still as real and valid as if it were tangible, visible. You can Google the guy who was diagnosed with cancer, died months later, only to have his doctors discover afterward that he was misdiagnosed. He was healthy. The documentary covers a broader range of the placebo affect, and is aptly named just that. The two camps on this idea of thoughts and the law of attraction seem to have no middle ground. As you can tell, if you’re still reading this, I am of the strong belief that thoughts shape our world. I have overcome some serious illnesses, not by the dozens of prescriptions given to mask the symptoms, but by deliberately and fully believing I was already well. I realize this is an extreme example, but one worth sharing. I have shown up to follow up appointments to have doctors say, “Excellent news, the (insert pill here) worked!” Some will immediately wonder why I even subject myself to Western medicine if I don’t follow orders. It’s as basic as, I believe Western medicine has its place and I do respect many of the physicians who have been proactive and compassionate in my quest for physical recovery from some significant complications. I also believe I play an even bigger part in my own healing. To relinquish my power over my own health by mindlessly accepting diagnostic possibilities, by dosing myself with their countless attempted prescriptions, by not skydiving, dirtbiking, rock climbing, and living my life with zeal, I am accepting their degree as having more powerful an affect over my health than I do. Nay. Nope. Fraid not. While this rant morphed into one of health, my intention is to magnify the concept of the power of our thoughts as well as our words. I was a laughing critic at the ridiculousness of “affirmations” and “attracting” things and people into our lives. I now have a long enough history to look back and see with crystal clarity, the times I’ve been surrounded by healthy, encouraging individuals and when I had an insane ratio of toxic people in my life. Nobody was more surprised than me to learn that I don’t “enter” those groups, and THEN find out what I’ve become a part of. My thought patterns, either high-vibing or down in the trenches brought me and my tribe together. Toxic people aren’t often found in nontoxic environments. And, when they are, they don’t stay there long. Sure, you may be forced to interface with emotional vampires, but your higher thinking will ALWAYS win the battle for you. You may be exhausted, frustrated, ready to punch a throat…but, ultimately, your peace surfaces and you are unaffected. It is ever so easy to say these things, I know. I know it’s equally easy to chose, beforehand, to disengage. But, the problem we all face, is not nitpicking Nancy at work, it’s not the grouchy cashier or the guy who cut us off in traffic, or the punk that whipped into a parking spot you’d been waiting for. The biggest problem is sitting right between our ears. It’s how we manage the Nancy’s and the vampires and the jackass in the parking lot. I swear to you, on days I am rushing around to get out the door to the dropzone, if I spill my coffee on my shirt and have to change and bitch about it while I’m changing, I’ll then misplace my phone, drop my banana, trip over the dog and suddenly hate the color of my granite. When I can take a deep breath and be glad I got the coffee spilling out of the way, clearing the path for a good rest of the day, I don’t lose my phone, I eat my banana in peace, and I pet my dog on the way out the door and I’m probably not thinking about granite. The same is true if you force yourself, I mean, dig deep and think positive thoughts about someone with whom you may be in conflict. Wish good things for the bastard. Send them love, light, whatever you would wish for yourself…see them being a person you not only tolerate, but enjoy. You’re just imagining here. Then, see how differently your next interaction goes with that person. We begin to FEEL differently about these people. Eventually, you may even be able to speak health, happiness and joy over their life and mean it. Try to hate them, NOW. It won’t work. You’ve just risen above the mire. They may not change, it’s true. They may remain toxic. But, YOU have changed everything. You’ve changed how you now experience this person. But, it’s fun to witness the ones that grow without them having knowledge that you’re fertilizing their soil…kind of like a soul farmer. Think good thoughts. Vibe those high vibes. Speak victory. Expect the best possible outcome. If people are annoyed by your optimism, smile at them and show some compassion that they are a miserable cow. And, as you go through this life, if you can be a farmer or a bloodsucker, always, always be a farmer. Peace, Warriors.