“Because even the smallest of words can be the ones to hurt you, or save you.”
― Natsuki Takaya
I recently spent an entire hour being guided to replace the word but with the word and, even if it sounded crazy. I didn’t realize until then that the word but has the power to negate all things good- beauty, love, positive intentions, gratitude, transformation, etc… The word and has the power to say that two seemingly conflicting ideas can simultaneously stand together.
I began seeing buts everywhere. I could hear it in my thoughts, my words, and in conversations with others.
The word but has two unique powers: It is a justification to stay stuck and a reminder to stay fearful.
I caught myself in a doozy of a but shortly after my hour of observed practice. It was a beautiful day out in the garden. I was so in the moment, enjoying everything around me and the peace within me. I became aware of how grateful I was for my growth, values and actions aligning with who I am. The sun was warming my face, the breeze was rustling the oak leaves, the seedlings were emerging, the cat was resting near by. Then, a dark cloud of thought passed through and said: Yes, these are wonderful moments, but you are not where you want to be. Marengo, Illinois is not where you would choose to be. You are stuck.
And then I changed it. This is a wonderful moment, and you are not where you think you want to be and we are working on it. I can be happy today, where I am, and accept that I am working towards my goal of re-location.
The but negates the moment, and has us following the dark cloud, until we lose our gratitude and end up anxious, overwhelmed, and filled with grief.
The and lets us soak up our happiness and watch the dark clouds pass by.