Words, which begin in thoughts, have more power in one's life than one realizes.
As a child, and having been raised by a preacher, I got an earful of Bible Scriptures whether I wanted them or not. Being a precocious child I questioned every one of those quotes that I was expected to live by, just in case I wanted to refute them, especially those I thought I should analyze before incorporating them into my playful life. I was probably about the age between 6 and 9 years old. Then we separated from my father, and that was the beginning of a more serious endeavor about my main topic for today.
Anyway, the reason for this introduction goes back to the idea of thoughts and words. How can words, which derive from thoughts, affect our lives?
My father once told me that people should not pine. Why, I wondered? He said that it was bad for the soul. He said that pining was different than repentance, because it did not stop a person from changing their habits about sin. The example was Lot's wife: the woman who turned to salt. I saw this woman changing literally into salt. This was my first experience with metaphoric language.
Pining was an indication that one felt remorse or regret about things that they could not let go of, and it brought about despair, which was loss of hope. And despair brought dryness to the bones, which meant that people would get sick. And dryness to the bones brought early death. I was intrigued by this imagery.
You would have to know my father to understand how he taught things to me. Everything he taught was given in entertaining way, such as a song, an act, or just a gentle story on a lesson in life. He was charismatic, entertaining, and a fine humorist, too. If anyone has ever seen the movie "Elmer Gantry" with the great Burt Lancaster as the artful preacher man, this is the kind of person my father was.
So when my mother announced that Grandpa had died suddenly and we needed to move to L.A. I began to suspect my grandfather might have been pining for something, and this is why he died suddenly. I watched my relatives intensely. These grown-ups were crying and lamenting over Grandpa's death. This made me very sad because they kept saying he was gone forever. I deduced that this was an example of pining.
The idea of Pining and despairing and dying was melded into my brain after this, and I vowed--in a thought (or maybe imagery at that young age)--that I would study this topic for the rest of my life. There were other things about me I had not yet known. I was exceptionally creative, highly compassionate, and inherently romantic--and I was good at communicating as well as my father was.
After Grandpa died, and we moved to L.A., I observed the nature and behavior of everyone with whom I came into contact, from relatives to classmates, to teachers, to the post and milk men. I watched for signs of pining, and got pretty good at reading peoples' personalities, watching their behaviors and the things they talked about to me, or each other.
I theorized that some people were innately romantic about everything they did and saw. Some people were stoic and seemingly uncaring, while others were deeply compassionate, and pined often over everything more than was healthy for them. And then I would secretly seek out information to help me understand them: how were they doing physically--were they well? Were they getting sick? How did they FEEL? I became a child Sherlock Holmes.
For me it was like an investigative puzzle I had to complete. I was curious why I was such a serious little person at 10 years old, writing stories, songs, and poetry, usually sitting by a window crying, or imagining me in a movie, or singing songs, or writing scripts for my friends to act out.
I lived so much in my mind that most of the time I missed whatever others were saying to me directly, and soon I picked up the nickname "space cadet." Which is to say, I was always thinking about other than where I was, and I was always somewhere else other than with those around me, (except when I was observing them).
As I grew up I was concerned with people having lingered too long in sadness or as my father would say, pining. What on earth could they be longing for, or what had happened to them that made them yearn so? Why couldn't they let things go? I became an expert observer, and discovered a forum where I could read articles about such mental processes.
At the age of 12, I discovered Psychology Today, and read it religiously. My father drifted in and out of our lives every now and then, and tried to convince my mother to move with him into a safer neighborhood. About the time I was in my teens--14 years old--he found a place east of the city, in the suburbs; not quite East LA, but close to it. My mother finally accepted, and we moved with him, for a time.
All this distraction did not change my life's work on finding out what made people happy, sad, laugh, love, live, or die. I learned a lot from the movies on television, how the characters dealt with death, with love, and with loss of any kind, even simply growing up. I started to wonder about the people who made the movies--were the characters created by the writers/directors acting out what those movie makers were really thinking about? I could not help wondering what went on in their heads that made them do what they did, and cause them to make the next step in their life, or to kill themselves even, like Ernest Hemingway. This became my central life pursuit: to find out how peoples' metaphysical thoughts could actually change them physically, or change the way they defined themselves in their lives--or even change others around them, by their influence.
I have spoken a little about Stanley Kubrick, the famous director/camera aficionado, and script writer. He came to my attention just before he died because he was directing the movie (and written) with Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise "Eyes Wide Shut," which was in his usual dark perspective. I was attempting to begin this whole conversation about thoughts to words, to character, with Kubrick and that his thoughts were his eventual illness and death, as his movies were indicators of his thoughts. I deduced, through reading articles about his professional way of working on his movies, his work helped create a lot of stress in his private life.
I plan to use a lot of peoples' lives as examples of their thoughts in action, including my own, and it would be helpful if I acquired comments and thoughts of readers, for this may well become my PhD work.
Since blogs are only meant to give a short essay on a topic, to the mass readership, I will carry on through a serial of blogs. But consider this succinct idea: when one falls in love, and one longs for that lover in their life, and cannot have that one person....it actually hurts [the person pining] the body's health, and can have an adverse affect on the person.
Do you agree with me? We experience this in our own lives as well as those most close to us. This is something I would like for us all to think about...
...I'll be back...