From Curses to Blessings

By Martha Marcom

Last week in our 200 TT discussion on ethics, Marcia and I were pointing out how carefully students tend to study their yoga teacher. They are looking to their teacher for clues on what yoga is and how it manifests. We said to assume everything you do as a teacher will be noticed. This prompted one of the teachers in training, to relay a story about me.

This happened five years ago--our sweet Kelly Rose, a very thoughtful teacher who also worked at the front desk of YOHI overheard me say the f-word after hanging up on a call with Lowe’s. Kelly Rose related this to her friend, now in our teacher in training program, and expressed to her the relief she felt knowing that I was capable of letting loose with an expletive. I felt relief myself, hearing this story for the first time, that it turned out ok in the end!

I’m confessing here that I’ve been cursing and using language unbecoming of a yogini. I see the problem as being lack of mindfulness and presence as much as the actual curse itself. It seems I’ve developed well-worn pathways for this pattern and it’s requiring a strong dose of awareness and attention to remedy the habit.

Some words have power for good and for transformation. The word “om” is known to have beneficial bodily effects and for its potential to raise one’s vibratory quality. The power of sound is a double-edged sword though; curses carry negative energy and lower vibration.

In the Lowe’s case, I am saying to myself, it was justified--we were ready to put our house up for sale in a tough market and the only thing holding us back was that Lowe’s couldn’t come through with a new counter we’d been promised long ago, and then was finally delivered, but damaged…ok, but I noticed myself curse about a red light. Reacting over a traffic light? Even if I was running late, even if it was said softly, that reaction lacked discrimination and discernment, and it’s painful to think that the word which came so thoughtlessly is reflective of my state of mind.

I realized I needed to plan out an alternative, a go-to word for sudden situations when I might have reached for an easy expletive.

My friend Angelique, who is an actual embodied angel, says, “Good Night!” when she exclaims.

My charming friend Rhonda says “Dang!”

My elegant grandmother used to declare, “Oh, my!”

Some I’ve tried out:

Lord have mercy!

Heavens to Mugatroy, or to Betsy

A rustic one: Land a goshin!, or gosh for short

Goodness gracious. This is it--so benevolent. How much more useful, beautiful, pleasant, uplifting than a curse! But in a trying situation, could it ring true? It may not hold up in every instance …but as a go-to phrase…I’m giving goodness gracious a go.

It is so easy to label something with a careless word, and the f-word can get easy too. It is so short and explosive. So, I will try to blurt out “Goodness gracious!” instead of something more reactive, but this is my challenge to myself: what word choice could express and reflect the actual intensity of the situation? And won’t it be interesting to look more deeply to see what is at the heart of the issue and to identify the emotions and needs arising and to name them? I’m imagining that silence would be the appropriate response much of the time…or a thoughtful silence before coming up with a useful comment on or summary of the challenge at hand.

And going forward, when I curse I will attempt to do it mindfully, using a powerful vibration-lowering shock word only when the occasion truly warrants a sharp slap of negativity. I’m wishing you goodness and graciousness and the intent to always be radiating blessings for all beings--reflecting in the language what is truly in your heart.

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One Response to From Curses to Blessings
  1. Rhonda

    Daaang! That’s a very thoughtful and fun post Martha.
    I love that you are being mindful and considering how to respond to things with words that reflect the emotion, yet that somehow have a ‘higher vibratory frequency”…beautiful!