11 August 2010

A Thesaurus Is a Girl's Best Friend

An experiment. In as few words as possible, encapsulate your biggest fear or torment. If you, like I do, find yourself fighting terrible battles with personal demons, try carefully turning your mind during some quieter moment to the taunts they consistently shout into your ears as they seek to wear you down. They are liars, but listen to them long enough to comprehend what they wish you to believe about yourself. Don't dwell here any longer than you need to identify their theme; the point is not to let them persuade you they're right. You're probably already half in agreement with them anyway.

Do you have some words in mind? Are they of a family? Can you consolidate them further? I came up with my own last night, one toxic theme to rule them all. When I feel my weariest and smallest, the lingering word on my lips seems to always be WASTE. It's the horror of my life. If I was standing at those proverbial pearly gates and was been given the opportunity to admit myself via the honor system, this would be the one curse of a word I might stupidly say to banish myself from heaven, if I allowed myself to listen to the rotten peanut gallery, who would surely be hiding behind some nearby (non-burning) bush, prompting me, as if I couldn't think or speak for myself—and hoping I'd forget that I could. 

Bullies. Cowards.

Here's what you do. Take that black magic word of yours to the best thesaurus you can find. Explore all your word's possible shades of meaning. Live with them, feel them, let yourself comprehend which ones "fit" your fears. Acknowledge how this word affects you, how it directs your beliefs. Keep in mind that there are underlying needs at stake here that want attending to. Your demons have amplified their accusations of you so you'll look where they want you to look: at the stagnant bleakness of self-condemnation rather than the bright opportunity for healing and growth. 

Taking notes helps.

Now look for the antonyms for your word. There should be a few listed along with the synonyms. Dig deeper; one by one, take the synonyms that resonated with your darkness, look them up, and hunt until you discover their beautiful hopeful opposites. These are to be your medicines. Don't leave any out. This new list of words will uplift you as you concentrate on them. Feel them. Imagine them. See yourself living fluently with them. Make healthy plans. Take more notes. Pray for help in establishing this new vocabulary in your mind and heart. 

Stop paying attention to the jerks in the bushes, the life-mucking voices in your head. Invest in some earplugs. Choose not to engage and let the war go on without you. Read your thesaurus. Listen for better words. Listen to a better spirit.
WASTE conserve, flourish, thrive, manage, make good use of, save, keep, preserve, protect, save, safeguard, look after, sustain, prolong, perpetuate, store, reserve, husband, flourish, grow, thrive, prosper, do well, burgeon, increase, multiply, proliferate, spring up, shoot up, bloom, blossom, bear fruit, burst forth, run riot, be in good health, be vigorous, be in its heyday; progress, make progress, advance, make headway, develop, improve, evolve, make strides, move forward (in leaps and bounds), expand, be in the pink, go places, go great guns, get somewhere, mushroom, succeed, boom, wanted, moderation, restraint, necessary, essential, restore, worthwhile, usable, profitable, cultivated, fertile, vibrant, habitable, in good repair, livable, settled, tame, calm, tidy, civilized, disciplined, considered, sensible, practical, hospitable, temperate, look after, nurture, provident, valuable, fullness.


erika danielle eddington said...

You never cease to inspire me, Georgia. Love you.

jILl PeTeRsEn said...

What a cool concept. I have so many words in my head, I need to narrow it down to one now! I love this so much, I am going to cut and paste this and send an e mail to my wonderful therapist. He could totally use this on his other clients/patients!

Geo said...

Erika, Jill, I love you both.

Jill, let me know how it goes for you. I'm interested too in your therapist's take on this. xo

Nancy Mataoa de Montero said...

I love everything you post! It never ceases to put a smile on my face. It's time you wrote a book called Geo's Musings- or something like it.
I'd totally be in line to have you autograph my copy! Love you- Nancy

Jamie said...

Oh, girl, I love you. Know what this made me think, most of all? "Damn, I need more quiet time!" But then I repented for cursing and made dinner. I've got all kinds of meditating planned after back-to-school!

anna said...

Yay! I love your new word list!

Melody said...


"Come here, little word, let's take a walk down by the river and talk about your life . . . and mine."

Anonymous said...


JBobo here.

I recently listened to a part of a story by Elna Baker on "The Moth Radio Hour".
I thought that you might enjoy.

Link Below:

It's fresh no does not appear to be up on their site yet:


Elle and Jared said...

Thanks so much for the nice comments. I looked your blog up as soon as I got in the car Sunday night and was intoxicated until I got really nauseous and should've stopped right then but couldn't. So I waited until I almost threw up all over the car and then Jared made me stop. So thanks for the reading. Look forward to more.