I mentioned a blog or so ago that I wanted to get into the power of the word a bit more. I am deeply affected by other people’s words, to a fault. I find the power of the word fascinating. Humans wield words in love or anger that have the potential to make the world a better place or to inflict deep and lasting wounds.
Dr. Masuru Emoto, who passed in 2014, devoted his life to the study of the effects of words on water. Dr. Emoto believed that clean water, in ponds and lakes outside of cities and towns, reflected the surrounding consciousness of an area, and that consciousness in the water could be changed again and again by various elements, specifically words and music.
He would bottle the water and then wrap it with paper with either a negative or positive word facing in, towards the water. He would then freeze it, and look at the crystals under a microscope. Words like LOVE created beautiful crystals, words like NAZI created malignant, off color crystals. He invited monks to bless a pond, then tested the crystals when frozen, and found perfectly lovely snowflake like images. Conversely, words like, ILLNESS, FOOL, HATE, had the opposite effect. It’s interesting to know that the crystals reacted the same way to a negative or positive word no matter what the language, Japanese, English, it all resulted in the same crystal designs.
The power of the Word, a Word specifically, affected me profoundly throughout my life. STUPID. I still wince when I hear that word. This includes all of Stupid’s Cousins words; Dummy, Idiot, Moron. These were words I heard often in reference to myself when I was coming up. I believed them, of course. Even worse, I felt it was my secret, my shame that I was stupid. I didn’t want anyone to find out.
When my daughter was born, I wandered into a bookstore in LA. She was on my back. I toted her everywhere in my baby backpack as many young mothers did. I saw a pile of IQ tests for sale. I circled the book racks for a while, and kept coming back to the pile of IQ tests. I bought it quickly, embarrassed as if I was buying a porno rag. Once home, I put my baby Gilda down for a nap, then sat down to secretly take my IQ test. Afterwards I planned on burying it deep in the trash. Maybe I’d burn it in the sink so no one would know just how dumb I really was.
To my absolutely utter shock, I scored very high. I’m sure my mouth dropped open, the world fell away, I became very light. I, Liza Forster, was not only Not Dumb, I was actually Very Smart. Those words had been applied to me when I was a kid, by an angry person who threw around words like fists, and kids are always fine targets. Those words stuck, like words do. They changed the crystals of my water filled body. They wormed their little malignant selves into my heart and my mind and became my truth.
I felt my new power (perceived as new, as Dorothy and her companions found, their gifts from the Wizard were always on board) surge through me, and I wanted to put something out there that would be helpful somehow. As I looked at my daughter as a baby, I remembered back to my high school and early college days when I suffered from horrible eating disorders. In those days, the words bulimia, anorexia, eating disorders did not exist. Karen Carpenter’s death in 1983 would start a discussion of eating disorders, but there was really no understanding before that. It had been really difficult to find help.
I decided to write a book, just like that, a Young Adult Fiction about eating disorders. I wanted to put a road map out there for young people suffering from the same issue. I wrote it with the assistance of a writing group I was a part of. It was called a fiction, but it was based on my life, my town, my high school friends. It was called “Perk: The Story of a Teenager with Bulimia”. It did get picked up by a publisher. It was not particularly well written, but it was a quick, down and dirty read. I received lots of mail from young people across the country that felt a kinship with the trials that Perk went through. I did book-tours throughout the Los Angeles school system. PERK became a staple in many of the school libraries, and was a part of the Los Angeles Times book festival. I shared my experiences with others so they would know there was a way out. I shared my word, which at the time was HOPE.
The excision of the word STUPID from my system changed my life’s direction and my perception of myself in an instant. An individual with a thicker skin may not have been so deeply affected by a word, but i would hazard a guess that children will believe that how their loved ones describe them as truth. And not for nothing, but young people’s bodies have more water in them than an adult. There are more crystals to influence.
When in doubt, say LOVE, when angry, breathe LOVE, when doubtful, say LOVE even if it twists your heart to do it. When you dislike yourself, say LOVE, fake it, until you it. When you dislike someone else, speak LOVE. That’s the word.
Photo Credits: Dr. Masaru Emoto