Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Photo © Jenn Shallvey 2015

Words can be cheap these days.  With news, magazines, social media, personal websites, blogs, text messages and emails we are bombarded with text.  It takes much energy to sort through the fluff to find meaning and relevance.   In this context what you take in may scratch the surface, go in and out without registering.  This is a modern predicament in our world of communication. We have greater and greater access to what others have to say and teach us yet still yearn for a way to sift and sort through the overwhelm to find something of use.

At this same time individuals continue to search and seek out answers for their personal development.  Reading and learning is one avenue to such answers.  We think that the topic is what we want to know. Yet what we really seek is the experience of knowing our self better than before, to find the answer to questions like “Who am I?” and “What am I to do in my life?”.  To read and enjoy books and publications that open us up to ourselves is then a great find amongst the myriad of words coming our way.

Despite appearances of the title, “These ARE Words to LIVE By”, and the above comments, this book is not one about language.  Instead this book offers up some words for reflection, consideration and action.  The ‘words’ as I may refer to them from time to time, are like guiding principles or higher level thoughts converted into language.  Like a translator I am creating a space for each of the words selected to elaborate in ways that can be universally understood and applied.  

Before we get into the actual words, lets consider a few points about words, even though I am not writing about language.  Firstly words do have power.   For example, we are often drawn to quotes and meaningful comments from famous people both living and long since gone.  There is something wrapped up in a few words borrowed from a great person.  Who and what we are drawn to will of course vary as much as our personalities do.  Yet what strikes me is that though these words are borrowed from someone else the energy still resonates and impacts us as readers.  I believe that the words work us at a level beyond our conscious awareness.  Have you not read something so powerful that you either shared it with another, posted a copy on your social media or did the old fashioned thing and printed out the words on a piece of paper to remind you every day of the thought?  Powerful words have powerful energy.  As we connect to them we can begin to shift in our perspective and views. The words help create a lens through which to see the world, perhaps in a new and exciting way.

Whilst there is universality in words and their meaning there are also limitations in the potential for variations in implied meaning.  I have long felt that as a writer what you say comes from within.  What the reader, audience perceives is entirely up to the reader and in no way within the control of the author.  It is likely that what I see as important is being filtered through my personal and professional bias.  I could also say that what I choose to present in this book is different than what I would have written ten years ago and likely different than what I will write ten years from now.  Likewise your experience and interpretation will vary from others depending on your stage of life and experience.

So how do we come together as reader and author with this book?  

To start, suspend judgement and open up your mind.  Welcome the opportunity to challenge yourself at the core where your values an beliefs lie.  Bypass your personality preferences, let go of your social and cultural conditioning and start with a curious and objective mind.  Then from there feel and connect with your heart and soul. Ok this may be a bit much for you, but then if you are reading this far I suspect at some level you already listen to more than just your head.

The words in this book are here because it is my belief that they capture a sense of universal truth and are worth striving to live by.  As is implied in the title of this book such words are so powerful that if we do live by them we can find happiness, develop and maintain healthy and loving relationships and most of all create a more friendly, peaceful and unified community within which we live.

My experience with these words is by no means perfect.  Though some authors portray themselves as the expert and authority on the topic I put myself humbly next to you on the journey.  Partly why I think this book is important is because we all live our lives in the most humanly way possible.  This means we are not perfect nor do we get it all right. We are all works in progress aspiring to live with joy and happiness. If you are not one seeking such outcomes in life then perhaps you are not ready for this book.  I hope you don’t give up.

As a person who has devoured and enjoyed self help and personal development books and courses I notice the overlap and similarity between so many teachings. I am therefore covering territory also covered by many great teachers before me.  Again I see myself simply as another messenger, translator, not a guru to go on a pedestal.  What is contained in this book is another way of engaging with the world.  It may or may not suit where you are now in your journey.  If it does you will know. If not then put the book down and come back again later when you feel the rise of curiosity again.

I sincerely and whole heartedly wish for you an enlightening and conscious raising experience. Is this a lot to ask? I hope not. What I wish for you is a personal growth experience that continues long past reading the words in this book.  I hope that you come back from time to time for a boost and refresher.  I want these words to sit with you, lodge into your psyche, work their way down into your very being and essence of who you are as a person.  By sitting with the words, letting them work you I believe you will experience shifts at both a conscious and unconscious level.  Of course I can not scientifically prove this will happen. Nor do I intend to.

Aside from being the reader with an experience you are also the one I hope to take action and exemplify what it means to live by these words.  Your effort as one individual aspiring to live these words is one example.  The more you do what you say, well in this case read, the more you influence those around you.  Then imagine if those around you catch on.