What We Call Things

Have you ever noticed the places where what we would say we are doing as a culture flies in the face of what is actually and truly happening? It often feels to me like the equivalent of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Do you know that story? The one where the Emperor, the “wise” ones, along with the masses are being misled into believing, or at least acting as though they believe, that the display they are bearing witness to is finery, when in fact it is an all out duping? More to the point, that what is being represented and sold as the finest imaginable is in fact, a lie? And how in the end, it takes the integrity and honesty, along with a lack of commitment to the status quo, of a child, to name the Truth? A kind of Truth, by the way, that every adult in that moment was capable of claiming?

An example of how this goes on regularly in our culture occurred recently while I was taking my husband to an eye appointment; the kind where you need someone else to drive you because your pupils have been dilated. This meant that I was the one driving him, which meant that I found myself moving through an area saturated with enormous building after enormous building of medical offices. Row after row of factories housing our “health”/disease care system. No more fully in evidence than when I passed what is named, “The Center for Cancer Care.”

The Center for Cancer Care?? Did I read that wrong? I must have because how could we possibly have created, gone on to fund, stand behind, and elevate to a position of being the gold standard, a center that cares for cancer?! Have we lost our minds?

Why is it not “The Center For Healing?” For Hope. For Human Care & Possibility. For Human Dignity. For Getting To The Root Cause of Disease. Why is it the cancer we are caring for? Does this focus leave us spending too many of our precious resources “caring” for cancer when in fact we should be caring for people? And is this why we have such a hard time eradicating it? Because we are pouring all of our resources into the wrong place, the wrong set of beliefs, the wrong set of approaches, and ultimately asking too many of the the wrong sets of questions because we are beginning with the wrong thing? Because we are beginning with what we are afraid of, instead of what we love? With what we want to eradicate instead of what we want to cultivate? Because we have not called it and defined it by its real name?

Here’s one for you. Does it strike you in any way odd that cancer has become such big business? And that for all of the billions and billions thrown at it, remains the disease that continues to thrive despite our best efforts? Is the war on cancer the best approach, or are we defining it in the wrong terms, ultimately taking us off course for a cure?

Maybe you find what I am saying naive, insulting or disrespectful. Maybe. “Of course we are not caring for cancer, we are caring for people,” many would say. Maybe. But the words being used tell another story. The words demonstrate an unavoidable truth; the focus is on cancer. The starting point is on cancer. On disease. On the problem. Not people. Not health. Not healing. Not the solution.

What we name things matters. The ability to call something by its true name matters. The real and true name serves as the starting point, after which everything else will follow. Therefore, if we do not get it right at the start, it will never be right. It follows then that it is essential that we recognize that the words we choose carry weight and tell a story; both obvious and hidden. Words reveal powerful meaning around how we really think about something; holding all of the intentions, beliefs, attitudes and motivations embedded within the words we use, along with the reasons we use them. But only if we are willing to pay attention.

While the West does not recognize the energetic and vibratory nature of language, traditions in the East do. Sanskrit for one, does. It recognizes that sound, words, are the most powerful medicine on the planet, and therefore are to be used with great care, respect, clarity and reverence. Even the Bible recognizes this; “In the beginning was the word…”

Look around. Where do you see things not being called by their true name? What would it take for you to be more intentional with the words you use? What would it take to bring more discernment around what you are accepting as truth? And where can you step beyond your comfort zone, the need to belong to the wrong thing, along with lifetimes of fears, to call out the culturally agreed upon falsehoods that we are calling our finest, all while elevating us to our very worst.

(Inspired by Vici. Thank you dear friend.)