PROMPT: What is your favorite word? Is there a word that spontaneously comes to mind? What are some of the reasons that it is your favorite word?
I love looking up words, so I have a big, fat dictionary stashed under my couch. It might seem a random place to store it, but it is a very handy location. I can tug at a corner of its spine and drag it out, dust the cat and dog hair off its cover, and voila: the vast universe of English definitions and etymology is at my fingertips.
The spine of this dictionary is spent from such abuse. I would place it in a more revered place — but it is so thick, there is no room on my crowded bookshelves for it. And there is no rational explanation as to why I store it under the couch. Maybe I was tidying up before dinner company arrived one time, and I wanted my desk to look more tidy. I can’t remember. It has remained hidden there long enough to create a habit of storage. I rarely dig it out to look up a word . . . now preferring the convenience of the “define: whatever” function in Google.
This dictionary has been bumped around by the vacuum, has survived periodic floods of red wine and other beverages, and has had close encounters of the fuzzy kind from the myriad dust bunnies that reproduce at an astronomical rate. I sometimes feel guilty when I bop it with the vacuum or shove it further from view when company comes over. There is a wealth of information in this tome. Just thinking about my cavalier attitude shames me into considering a new place for it to rest.
My favorite word?
I just love this word. It is so full and enriching and alive. It is ambrosia. It encompasses our perceptions, our beliefs, our assumptions, our loves, our errors, our forgiveness, our learning, our teaching. It projects into the future, embraces the present, and builds on the past. There is so much time in this word. So many dimensions of time. It is simultaneously eternal and present in any given nano second. It is both creative and stable. It can be embroidered with lacy fibs to make a story better. It can serve as a sage advisor. It can prove to be an insane springboard into the unknown. It blows our perceptions of time out of the Milky Way.
I used to date a scientist. One of his hobbies was to sit in his chair in a dark room and ponder the universe and the various dimensions. In these quiet hours, he came up with a breakthrough scientific theory that I thought was fairly plausible, at least to my neophyte’s understanding of dark matter and ordinary matter and black holes and universal space and time.
He painstakingly laid out the particulars of how it all worked, and I was really impressed. Truly, I didn’t mean to blow a hole in his hours and days and weeks of pondering when I asked him, “But what’s the point? What is the meaning of it all if there isn’t any reference of experiential and emotional and personal connection?”
I have to hand it to him. He didn’t perceive me as one of those naysaying hole-pokers trying to assassinate his theory. His response to my question was eloquent and beautiful: “Hmmph.”
I saw him a few nights later and, after many hours in his chair in a dark room, he said that he figured out how Experiential Connection figured into the swirly mix of our Milky Way. He had some kind of answer for it all, about how our experiences plugged up certain holes in the Universe. I am sure that his more technical language accounted for a more elegant way of explaining how it all comes together, but this is what I took away from his rather long explanation:
our future experiences of connection represent the dark matter
that balances with what is termed as “ordinary matter” throughout infinity
In retrospect, I am sure that my interpretation does not quite embody what he was saying. But it all makes sense somehow. I finally asked him, “How can there be ordinary matter? Doesn’t all matter have remarkable significance?” He didn’t have an answer as to why it is called ordinary, but I suspect that these questions made for some extra sitting time in his dark room.
It all counts. The seen and the unseen. The real and the invisible real. The ordinary and the dark. I find it fascinating to think that it is possible that there is 10 times more dark matter than visible matter in space. That is a lot of matter that I am not seeing. Just thinking about it motivates me to Pay Attention.
I am not explaining it very well. I am not an astrophysicist. I am merely a student of life who has learned that cultivating mindfulness matters. That my experiences matter. I want to connect. I want to experience Experience with a capital E.
It is said that there are roughly one million words in the English language. I would suspect that the world wide web would have a difficult time corralling so many permutations of any single word. Merriam-Webster chimes in with the following:
“There is no exact count of the number of words in English, and one reason is certainly because languages are ever expanding; in addition, their boundaries are always flexible.?” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/faq/total_words.htm)
In other words, language is expanding as rapidly as my ex-boyfriend’s explanation of what happens with dark matter in the Universe. Language expands and it is infinite. There are probably 10 times more thoughts and concepts and feelings and experiences than what the English language can account for. This makes sense to me.
So today, my favorite word is e-x-p-e-r-i-e-n-c-e. I embrace the Universal dimensions that this word represents. Dark matter is like a placeholder in the Universe for us as we face the unknown in our world — the unseen frontiers. So many experiences to build. So much dark matter to Experience.