The Power of Words

To be honest, I did not think this would happen.

I didn’t think I’d write a blog.  And yet, as an English major (decades ago in college), and an editor at a publishing company (when I lived in Boston in the 80s and 90s), and now as a Nia instructor (, I know about the power of words.  I feel drawn to play with them, explore them and share them.

Each week, I pick a focus and intent for the Nia classes I teach.  Throughout the week, I find that the focus shifts; I learn more about it and how to communicate it.  I learn from my body and I learn from my students.  I often find that I have more to share than the short time at the beginning of class allows.

So the idea of a blog emerged:  Focus Pocus ~ The Magic of Intent and Inquiry.  A way for me to play and explore more deeply with the themes and ideas I’m using in class.

And so, this first post is about the power of words.  Or more precisely, One Little Word.  Throughout 2011, following the inspiration of Ali Edwards (, I chose one word to use as an intention and guide.  Ali discourages over-thinking (one of my best skills!) and instead suggests to let the word just show up.  And as my thinking brain scrambled (“Oh no, that’s not a good enough word.” “That’s too stupid/boring/trite.” “What if I don’t find one??”), there it was:  OPEN.

Once I had a word, I knew I wanted to invite my artistic and adventurous friend, Jane, to go through the year with me.  She picked her word (COURAGE) and we were off!  The four of us had a great time together:  Jane and COURAGE, Susan and OPEN.  Every month, we did something different to explore our word:  writing and photographs, music and crafty things.  It was great fun, really, and more than that, it turned into a support.  I found that OPEN became the first word that would come to me when I had a dilemma.  I looked for OPEN in books and signs and images and nature.  I realized that to be OPEN required COURAGE, and that COURAGE needed to stay OPEN.  Amazing the power of that One Little Word.

So as December rolled around, I opened my ears and mind and waited for a new word to find me.  As I was driving home from class last week, it did:  RELEASE.  Lately, I notice that I tend to carry a certain level of tension and anxiety almost all of the time.  Even on vacation.  Even while I sleep.  Even when there is no need to, which, truth be told, is usually.  I could use some RELEASE.  A whole year of it, even.

The first week in January, my Nia classes will focus on the practice of using one word to guide you for a year.  So whether you are dancing with me in Charlottesville or not, I invite you to OPEN your mind and heart for a word to take you through 2012.  RELEASE any expectations and see what word finds you.  Take a big breath of COURAGE and let’s jump into the Focus Pocus of 2012 together.

  1. Jan Jones said:

    This will be a treat…so glad that you’re sharing! What a great start for the New Year!

  2. Connie Clark said:

    You’re so smart and wonderful. I’m glad you’re writing a blog! Love, Connie

  3. Rosemary said:

    As an English major also, then a HS teacher for a short while, then United Methodist pastor, “arranging words” has been central in my life as having the power to heal or hurt. I will miss those rich healing times of Nia when I move in February. Yeah for your blog!

    • oh NO! You’re moving?! I will miss you so! I hope we can keep in touch this way! And I’m certain that you have healed many with your words both in and out of the pulpit!

  4. Some of the words that friends have shared with me in the past few days: CONNECTION, SPACE, THIS, FORWARD, KNOW… What is yours?

    • jan said:


      • of course…listen in, listen out. love it.

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