I HATE WORDS (and Zen)

Sometimes I can be in the moment for like….60 seconds? If that. But today is one of those times where I just can’t fit the wisdom of zen into my life.

It’s one of those days where I made the mistake of comparing my words to someone else’s words, and theirs were better. A day where I realize how really, really, really jealous I am that someone else’s words have more recognition than mine–and MINE are better.

A day where my son and I, and my husband and I, exchanged all these words, sharp and angry and cutting…and I have never felt so far apart from understanding either of them, nor they me.

A day where someone’s careless words, admonishing me to “hurry up, people are waiting on you” erased my happy little moment. A day of my words, spilled in anger at a telemarketer–why didn’t I simply take a few seconds to be kind rather than righteously indignant and pompous? A day of words I used to try to curry favor from someone, hating myself the instant they were out of my mouth.

Even my shipment of custom mats for my new work turned out to be the wrong size. Because–yep, you guessed it–I used the wrong words to describe what I wanted.

I’m ready to spill over, frustrated with my lack of patience, my lack of self-respect, my lack of insight and tact and balance. I found myself actually crying in the shower. That time of month? Hah. That train has left the station, baby, and good-bye.

Today, I wish I’d had no words. Bah! Who needs ’em?? They just get in the way of everything.

In the moment? I HATE this moment!!

But then I remember the sweet words I gave my horse today. She met me halfway when I asked her to do something. “Good girl!” I trilled. I know she heard me, too.

I remember I tried to make it up to my son. I reached out, let him know I’m just trying to figure out how to be a good mom to him. “I love you,” I said, as his door closed in my face. I could almost here him mutter “Whatever…” behind it.

Soon I will have to say, “I’m sorry” to my husband. Even though I still think I was right. I’m trying to remember that new mantra we’re working on: “Who’s right?? Who cares?!!” It’s the “us” that matters.

Hospice is teaching me that I can’t count on words, not all the time. Sometimes, someday, they won’t be there, and sometimes they just are not enough anyway.

But for now, I realize I just want to look up again at that beautiful New Hampshire sky, so blue today, so swept through with lacy sheets of clouds fanned by unseen winds above, and in the silence so deep I could hear the wings of a wren a dozen yards away, I, too, yearn to hear a sweet, small voice trill…

Good girl!

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

19 thoughts on “I HATE WORDS (and Zen)”

  1. It may not be from the right person but “good girl”. I thoroughly enjoy your words and advice and my day is a little brighter after getting your post in my box. I think you touch so many people with your words for you definitely have inspired and touched me. Thank you, you are a gift to us all.


  2. Ah Luann. I’ve been practicing ‘walking in love.’ Its so darn hard to do! When i snap at someone, i try to think about how their day has been and what may have caused them to snap at me first. I should think of this before i snap, but i am still new at it. We are only human. Forgive yourself~
    PS. Good girl!!


  3. Luann, I would like to echo those words, Good Girl. It is easy to let words slip out before you know it, but recognizing it when it happens is a great thing. So many don’t! Most days you probably don’t have that problem. You write inspirational messages and I think that shows that you are probably way more conscious than a lot of the world, most of the time. 60 seconds, doesn’t sound like much to the average Joe, but it is huge! We all have our moments and most likely will, but you recognize it, and that is way more than most of this world. I am so envious of your writing abilities and love reading your posts. You are making a difference in this world, and that means a lot!! Thank you for your writings and insights.


  4. Good morning Luann,
    Just read your last post, a few days late and now you are probably in a totally different place. I’d like to throw a different slant on words. I don’t hate words. In fact I love them. I don’t always love the way I use them – or don’t use them when I wish I had – but words are good things. They enable us to express so many thoughts and feelings. They are what makes us human, and separates us from so many other species on the planet. They are also a vehicle through which we learn; learn new information, new ways of thinking, new ways of being. All that is so very important, don’t you think? They also provide us with challenges and allow us the space to change. That’s important, don’t you think?
    I’d like to share with you the wonderful view this morning that is outside my office window. I’ve multiple bird feeders hanging there. And as I sit and write this response I have 3 visitors: a squirrel and a male and female cardinal. How could I have shared the beauty of this scene and the joy it gave me if we didn’t have words?
    Have a lovely day,
    Jane Herman (fabulousfelt)


  5. Yeah, words. A blessing and a curse. My aunt taught me how to take someone apart with just a few choice ones. A lesson I wish I had never learned! The curse of the glib. But I do know what comes out of my mouth and what ends up on my blog can be inspiring, tender, thoughtful, insightful and without ego. What’s our alternative– texting? What you say does not cause a reaction— people choose to react. They need to take responsibility too. Thanks for sharing.


    1. I find my writing–and my art, come to think of it–help me be a better person. Just as long as the discrepancy between contemplation of life & the real thing doesn’t get too profound, I think I’ll be okay. :^D


  6. Hi Luann,
    I so appreciate the way you write. It makes me feel as if I might be sitting across the table from you enjoying a cup of tea. Thanks for the heart of honesty you share in your blog. Love it. Have a super day. Gracia


  7. At the end of every circus class, no matter how dreadful, how badly we whined, how stiff we were, we lie on our stomachs in a circle and sing the goodbye song, which finishes “We did GREAT today” which, somehow, is my bery very favorite part of the day.


    1. Lee,
      Do you remember the rest of the words of that song? I’m thinking it could be great to translate into a felt piece, or 2.


  8. Wow Luann, I was reading your note today RE: Art Collectors from the FASO newsletter and stumbled upon this blog of yours … it was meant to be. I struggle with being the “nice” girl. People will say too often “you’re too nice” and it doesn’t sound right to me that so many others would NOT BE NICE. Maybe in my past it helped me survive with 6 siblings all boys and trying not to catch the attention of angry parents trying to cope with all these children at different developmental stages when parents had no support groups or anyone for that matter telling them “good girl” or “good parent”…for whatever reason hearing the words “good girl” hit me even harder since I’ve never heard them myself but use them repeatedly with my cat. Did I remember to say those words to MY daughter? Not often enough I suppose. As a Taurus she challenged me since she was 3 years old! I have shed some tears today with your blog and use of honest, simple words conveying heartfelt emotions. I have learned more from you in this solitary moment when I decided to just read a fellow artist’s struggle to stay afloat in an emotional sea of words, than I have in having finished two self help books recently. I even found a little Zen time today for myself. Thank you. A thank you also to all your responders for reminding us all to stop beating ourselves up and giving ourselves and each other that pat on the back with a heartfelt ” GG” more often.


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