I adore words (and having written four books and counting, I have a lot of them) and all the feels they give me.
And because words have power, I’m always looking for a word or even a phrase that says the exact right thing.
I’ve also seek out words and phrases from other countries and cultures. Here are a few of my recent favorites for how they make me feel:
- Arbejdsglæde is the Danish approach to work. It’s fromarbejde, the Danish for work, and glæde, the word for happiness. It literally means “happiness at work”—something that’s essential to living the good life for Scandinavians. MyWayfinding work gives me enormous happiness that spills out everywhere beyond my workday.
- Ikigai (Japanese) and plan de vida (the Nicoyans of Costa Rica) are words that translate to “why I wake up in the morning.” Did you know that knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy and significantly contributes to greater health and happiness?
- Shalom is the Hebrew term for peace. Something the world desperately needs right now.
- Wabi sabi is described as the ‘imperfect, incomplete, and transient nature of beauty.’ Objects that elicit a sense of quiet melancholy and longing could also be defined as wabi-sabi, such as wood that gains a mellow patina over time, falling autumn leaves, or a chipped vase.
- Sawubona is an African Zulu greeting. To another, it says, “I see your personality. I see your humanity. I see your dignity and respect.” Powerful. Powerful.
Again, I love these words and phrases because of the feeling they bring forth in me. A tender, loving acceptance. A gladness or a joy. Peace.
Why do I do this?
Frankly, I do this because sometimes it’s hard for me to find joy. She’s hidden under the news of the day, the debt of credit cards, the lack of connection.
I find unfamiliar words challenge me as I roll them around in my mouth. As I breathe them in. And as I say them aloud to the world.
I deliberately look for things that help me feel. And the feelings I’m going for are compassion, love, and understanding…for myself and for all others. (Just ask me about my “Happy Music” playlist on Amazon sometime…)
It’s a scary world out there if we don’t pay attention to our world “in here.” [That’s me pointing to my heart if you were unsure] If we ignore or forget our hearts. If we ignore or forget our neighbors. If we misunderstand the idea we are all one tribe.
Finding words that bring me the feeling of delight brings me back to myself. Into my heart. Into my humanity.
Will you come with me?