Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: words (page 1 of 2)

So, tell me about yourself

More than one friend has told me my blog tends to be a bit like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates in that you never know what you’re going to get. And I love it that way. True to my generation, I hate being boxed in. But, part of me often wonders… what do others think? How does this help? Where do I miss the mark?

It’s funny, some of the pieces I write that are dearest and in which I’m most excited to hit “publish” are the ones that barely make a blip in response. And then others, it’s like I struck a nerve, and I had no idea I was sitting close to it.

So, give me all you got. It’s like 6 questions and a free space. It’s all anonymous, I’ll have no idea who says what. (But please, be kind. Remember, I’m a words of affirmation person.)

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Learning our words

Mr. M entered that frustrating stage of toddlerhood where the language input is a vast playland, but the verbal output is excruciatingly minimal. “Ungh” and “eeeeehhhhhh!” apparently have two separate meanings but those meanings can evolve based on circumstance. Understanding early toddler language is worse than learning English as a second language. Using sign language as a bridge is helpful, but overall I feel as if I should be able to list “translator” on my resume following the job of raising non-verbal humans.

A while back, one of the children came home complaining that a boy at school had been kicking during meeting time. We talked about the appropriate course of action – asking politely to stop, getting the teacher to help. In this case, both of those avenues had been pursued. “Why would he hurt us?” they asked.

Well, I said, sometimes kids need something and they don’t know how to ask. Sometimes they don’t even know what they need, they just feel like someone needs to give them something, so they use whatever is available. Sometimes that means people hit or use unkind words, or don’t use words at all.


I wish these were isolated incidents. Yet life seems to be about learning our needs and how to express them in a way that actually fulfills them. How often do I crave connection and try to find it in the bag of Peanut M&Ms? Or seek approval through making loud and inconsiderate comments? What I’m asking for is love, but I never use those words.

What if we began to see all of the ways in which people simply don’t use the proper words? The rude person behind us in the checkout line. The irate driver in the lane behind us. The explosive father. The overly-involved mother of the playgroup. The disengaged husband. The drunk neighbor.*

We’re all seeking something and often it takes a lifetime to figure out both what it is and how to ask it of others. Our frustration grows as they don’t respond appropriately, giving us more milk instead of green beans, but we only have the sign for “more” and “more” of what remains a mystery.

Back in the day, my partner-in-crime, Kristy, would reach a point of stress and frustration and turn to me and say, “what I need for you to do for me is…” and she laid out exactly what was expected of me. Sometimes it was “5 minutes of quiet” or “carry this box to the other room.” Imagine if we all utilized this skill? Mommy, what I need for you to do for me is give me a hug. Dear, what I need for you to do for me is keep the kids for 2 hours so I can remember my personhood outside of their existence. Church friend, what I need for you to do for me is express you’ve forgiven me in a way that I can move on without always feeling I “owe” you.

Let us learn our words.  Let us be patient with those who don’t know them yet. And let us teach others how to use them.

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I recently attended a gathering where this was read and I had a chance to reflect upon it. I hope it lights something in your soul as it did mine. (Originally published here).


Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and the absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.
A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings,
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.


Image via CC - Creativity103

Image via CC – Creativity103

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