Life and death are in the power of the tongue, speak life, every cell in your body

Life and death are in the power of the tongue

I’ve been somewhat unsettled in recent weeks hearing masses around the world chanting “I can’t breathe”. I believe in the power of the tongue in creating wellness and illness in our bodies.

I pin my hopes on George receiving justice: what was done to him was an abomination. I firmly believe that the systems that stand in place to perpetuate injustice and prejudice should be exposed and torn away—all the wrongs of those who are silenced and told that their opinions don’t matter.

I wasn’t going to write this post. This has been sitting in my drafts for two weeks. Not my place to comment. I didn’t want to be one to criticise.

But does holding back my voice not make me part of the problem, rather than contributing to a solution? So, let me say this clearly:

I am horrified by the continued use of the slogan”I can’t breathe“.

On the one hand, it’s great for the media. On the other hand, do those chanting it consider the double-edged sword it can be for their health?

Words spoken by masses with strong emotions: powerful stuff.

Calling into existence that which is spoken.

The question is: what does it create?

What spells are we casting?

We laugh at “abracadabra” – but many believe that the word actually has meaning and power.

Scholars who support the Hebrew etymology say that abracadabra is a corruption of the Hebrew, ebrah k’dabri, meaning “I will create as I speak,” ie that the act of speech will magically create new realities. … the words and letters of the Hebrew alphabet have the power to create.


life and death, Every cell in your body is eavesdropping on your thoughts & words, i can't breathe, #icantbreathe, united we stand, we can do it

Similarly, you may scoff at those that use affirmations and recite promises to themselves or God, claiming a blessing or healing.

But what if words and thoughts and emotions do have power?

This is particularly true of words spoken full of emotion.

What if I can’t breathe has power?

The first reference I can find to this slogan arises in late 2014, shortly after the asphyxiation of Eric Gardner by a police officer. His last words “I can’t breathe”, were raised like a mantra in the protests that followed in New York City.

“There was this quote staring me in the face, and that’s something that should be the quote of the year,” Shapiro recalled.
So the Yale Law Library’s associate director and lecturer revised his 2014 list, placing “I can’t breathe” in the top slot. His widely cited annual list, which is intended to capture the political and cultural mood of the country each year, serves as a supplement to “The Yale Book of Quotations,” originally published in 2006.

‘I can’t breathe.’ Eric Garner’s last words are 2014’s most notable quote, according to a Yale librarian

Unfortunately, when I took a quick look at the 2014-15 flu deaths for that same period, there was a small spike – from the usual 36,000 a year up to 51,000. Mere coincidence? Quite likely. There are probably a million factors that played a part in the increase. Again in 2017, when the book “I can’t breathe” by Matt Kaibbi comes out, and Queen Ifrica publishes her song “I can’t breathe”: we get another spike up to 61,000 flu deaths. Probably irrelevant.

However, at this moment in history, following on the heels of mass sickness caused by a little-studied virus, we have angry crowds chanting “I can’t breathe”. We have media pushing fear and uncertainty. We have politicians using fear for personal safety and security for their platforms and personal gain.

So, if our words do have power and every cell of our body is eavesdropping on our thoughts, emotions and words – recreating what we declare into existence – how important then are the words that we choose to chant in protest?

Justice for George becomes much more powerful than I can’t breathe if we believe that we have a hand in creating an outcome!

every cell in your body is eavesdropping on what you think, say, do and feel

Every cell in your body is eavesdropping.

In the same way that our mind is aware of everything that goes on in our body, our body and cells are listening and experiencing our thoughts, emotions and words. Unfortunately, our body takes those thoughts, emotions and words literally.

Our cells don’t differentiate when we are protesting from when we are having a phone call or merely meditating alone. Your body experiences your thoughts, emotions and words as they are. You can’t tell your body “I was just joking”.

Like a child that doesn’t understand sarcasm, our body responds to what was said and doesn’t take a joke. It takes everything we feel, say and think quite seriously.

In many different teachings, we find the effects of emotions on our organs:

  • anger: affects the liver
  • fear: affects the kidneys
  • grief: weakens the lungs
  • worry: affects the stomach
  • stress: wreaks havoc on your heart and mind

Examine, for a moment, how your words spoken with emotion are affecting different parts of your body.

Consider your inner child and the children around you:

We all have the voice of an inner critic stuck in our heads – and quite often it’s the voice of a parent, teacher or someone we respected or feared as a child. The voice that our child hears now is the voice that will become their inner critic in the future.

Do we want our children to have an inner voice that says “I can’t breathe”?

consider the impact of words on children

What are our children hearing and experiencing in the chants and protests? How are we explaining the situation to them? What conversations do we have that allow understanding, compassion and wisdom to guide the experience?

Consider a child: how do you build them up after you’ve stripped them down with words said in anger? Think for a moment about any relationship where words have been spoken in anger: if you don’t move past the hatred into love, understanding and acceptance, what footing is your relationship on?

The protests in Panama are not about Black Lives Matter: they are about the lock-down and people going hungry. I have it so much easier in what I have to explain! But I still have to explain to my daughter the images, emotions and even violence that she is witnessing if she catches the news.

At the same time, I explain how incredible our bodies and immune systems are! I talk about how we eat, and even how our emotions and thoughts can help us stay healthy and strong. I check myself any time I notice that I am feeling fearful or anxious: careful not to stuff it down but to release it. I don’t need my daughter to latch onto my fear or anxiety!

In the same way, I have to relate and quieten that inner child of my own: that part of me that feels insecure in any way.

Philippians 4:8, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.

The power of your thoughts

Your thoughts influence your words and your actions. Long before you choose to do something, you have probably considered it multiple times.

Think, for a moment, about words that you spoke to someone in anger. How many times had you thought that before you actually said it? Then, in a moment of rage and slightly out of control (or perhaps in control but no caring about the consequences) you actually said what you’ve been thinking for a while. You voiced how you truly felt. Maybe it wasn’t the whole picture. But it started with thoughts that you have mulled over.

Consider the effect of thinking “I can’t breathe”, with all the nuances that it carries. Perhaps one of those nuances is that the system is unjust and doesn’t allow you to speak your mind.

If you regularly think “the system is unjust”, are you motivated to change it? Or do you get caught in a feeling of hopelessness? Notice the difference between thinking “I can participate in changing this unjust system” versus thinking “the system is unjust”.

Have you noticed how all your thoughts influence your emotions and your words? If your thoughts control your actions, then they have a role to play in creating your future! The action you take has a direct impact on your results.

The power of our emotions when mixed with words.

Our words are so much more powerful when they are spoken with emotion. It doesn’t matter if you are creating and destroying.

Anger at injustice can provide us with the strength and courage to embark on a journey that we might otherwise never take. Unfortunately, anger can also eat us up on the inside if we bottle it up, rather than channelling and releasing it.

Before becoming a bitter person: this was probably an angry person. Over time, the fire of the anger dies down, but the embers continue to burn within. The dissatisfaction and discontent are still there, unresolved. After the explosion of rage burnt out, bitter ashes and disillusion are left.

When we start a journey to transform our community, we may embark on it out of anger and frustration at the current situation. It is terrific to shout out to the world:

This is wrong! Wrongs must be righted!

"Your anger is the part of you that knows your mistreatment and abuse are unacceptable. Your anger knows you deserve to be treated well, and with kindness. Your anger is a part of you that LOVES you."
“Your anger is the part of you that knows your mistreatment and abuse are unacceptable. Your anger knows you deserve to be treated well, and with kindness. Your anger is a part of you that LOVES you.”

But at some moment, love and compassion for our community need to replace that anger against the aggressors as the driving force of change. When we fail to recognise that our passion is driven by love and stay only in the rage, we miss an opportunity to grown in greater love and compassion.

Revolutions begin in angry protest and perhaps even rioting but have to end in love and compassion to build!

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Make sure your thoughts, emotions & words serve your goals.

I love that injustice has awoken people to stand up and make a difference in their worlds. But if I could ask just one thing, it would be this:

Choose your words carefully, especially those spoken with emotion.

I want to hear the masses chanting:

Justice for George!
We can do it!
United we stand.
Black lives matter!

Fighting for justice!
We stand for justice.
We demand justice!

Respect me.
My voice matters!

I’m sure you could make a better list of powerful statements that could create change, without cursing your body or those supporting you.

And when we are done tearing down what no longer serves us, let’s build communities of compassion, love and kindness. Communities that are safe for our children, and that allow us to learn what it means to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Your words can either speak life, or your words can speak death. Our tongues can build others up, or they can tear them down

Life & death are in the power of the tongue.

Prov. 18: 21

pay attention, words, sight, heart, health, guard your heart, bring healing, tongue of the wise, as a man thinks, so is he, a cheerful heart, good medicine,

If I look to Proverbs for Wisdom, these are but a few of the reminders about the power of our thoughts, emotions and words:

Proverbs 12:18
The tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 23:7
As a man thinks, so is he.

Proverbs 4:23
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:20-22
My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

Proverbs 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

discovering God, discovering the Divine, finding God hidden in plain sight, looking within, God is everywhere, the fear of the Lord, the power of prayer, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the role of Women in the church, humility, searching, the power of your tongue, watch your words, speaking things into existence, positive affirmations, taking responsibility

10 years searching for hidden treasures: discovering God

In February 2020 it will be ten years since I started this blog on WordPress, in order to have a place to write about practising the presence of God in my life and encouraging others to take their own adventure of exploration with the Divine.

Yesterday, I took some time to read my first blog posts and review some of the very first things that I wrote on here, and to see how far I’ve come – and how some things remain the same!

I chose then to look at five topics and hold these topics at the forefront of my spiritual learning for a decade. I admit, the last three years, I’ve gone off that track slightly, and yet … I find myself looking at them over and over again still!

The topics that I had chosen were:

The fear of the Lord (which is the beginning of wisdom, according to Proverbs).  Who is God?  What does it mean (in this day & age) to fear him?  What is “fear”?

An intimate relationship with God: which is really 2 topics – Prayer and speaking to God; and being filled with the Holy Spirit.

The tongue – blessings and curses, the control of the tongue, the power of the tongue for good and for bad.  What we build up and what we tear down.

Women – how do I reconcile the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31 with what Paul says about women in 1 Timothy 1: 11-12.  Throughout most of what is written by Paul, he makes mention over and over to the fact that women “caused” the fall of man and were lead astray, and lead man astray. But, how do I reconcile this model to follow in Proverbs with other parts of the Bible. 

Spiritual growth for a decade

I am still asking myself today some of the questions that I asked myself ten years ago.

Some things have changed

At the same time, I also look at my spiritual journey and see where I have changed and where I am no longer trying to fit a square peg into a round hole! For example, ten years ago I said

Now… I don’t want you to believe that I’m into paganism of ANY sort, but to me it’s VERY clear that God is not only the God of my heart, my spirit & my soul, but God is the God of the world (in every sense of it).  Of the rivers (dividing the River Jordan); the seas (drying the Red Sea); and the forests (He uses them as weapons at His will). 

The forest

Today – I would have written that differently!

I don’t care what you think or believe about what I believe. I’ve gotten over trying to explain myself to others or tone my writing down so that I don’t get any Christian backlash. It’s not that I don’t care about other people, but caring for people is not the same as caring about their opinion of me. I’ve learned the hard way that their opinion of me is none of my business!

So, rather than putting all kinds of disclaimers in what I write, so as to not offend anyone, I am looking more and more at being authentic in what I say. I would have openly stated that I can honour pantheism in its understanding of the presence of the Divine everywhere and in everything.

I am searching for Truth and for the presence of the Divine in my life – and sometimes that just gets messy!

I read all over the place – from all kinds of ancient wisdom, not just Christianity. Because I think that on some level, everyone is searching for the Divine connection.

As I said a few months ago:

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that God is standing outside of the window. The Bible is simply the finger that points TO God, standing outside the window.
We, unfortunately, have gotten hooked on looking exclusively at “the finger”, rather than to where the finger points us!
At the end of the day, our relationship is not with the Bible – the relationship is with God. … God speaks THROUGH the Bible – the Bible is not God.

The best self-help book I’ve ever read?

So, the same way that I consider that the Bible points us to God, I read other people’s experiences in finding God as well.

Which takes me back to where I started – ten years of studying five subjects, to master them.

The fear of the Lord

Allow me to start by saying, I’ve stopped using “the Lord” in my terminology when speaking about God and the Divine. I prefer I AM or the Divine.

These things happen when you start to look into translations and original meetings, and discover that “the Lord” was a translation of a translation and there wasn’t actually meant to be an original meaning of “lord” but it served a purpose. So, for example, you could travel down this rabbit hole and read things like:

I must say… ignorance was bliss.

It was so much less confusing.

Finding God

Even ten years ago, like today, I am intrigued by the question of how Abraham and others discovered I AM – where did they experience the Oneness and presence of the Divine in their lives? Even today, that question still has me reading new stuff like:

I’m not even close to mastering the topic for myself of “the fear of the Lord”, as it seems the deeper that I go, the more questions that I have. The only certainty I have is that the Infinite is infinite… and Never fully understanding is okay with me. It doesn’t stop the search or the desire to know, but I am perfectly comfortable now with having questions and doubts, rather than certainty of any kind.

Prayer & meditation

Ten years ago, I wanted to set up a prayer centre, as a physical place and space. I attempted it a number of times, but never really putting myself out there. Because my view on defining God has changed over these ten years, so has my definition of prayer.

I am much more interested now in sitting in the Silence to hear that small, still voice, than I am to tell God about my problems and needs!

The meaning of

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you

Matthew 6:33

becomes more clear each day. My role in prayer is not to sit and beg a God sitting high in the heavens for some desires, but rather than trust and have faith that it has already been done!

The more that I believe that God is being God WITHIN me, the more I recognise that my role is to listen and do. And in that doing, whatever it may be, is the answer that I seek.

Sometimes, the doing is as irrational as Naaman bathing in the Jordan River, and other times it makes perfect, logical sense.

One of the challenges has been creating that space. And at the end of 2018, it magically showed up for me. I had been looking at the Power of Eight, and how the power of small groups holding together an intention could work, and was inspired by a friend’s post on Facebook to suggest we create our own Facebook group to get together. This began with the simple intention of creating a group that would meet once a week, and hopefully have six to eight members.

This Facebook group now has over 100 members and meets regularly each morning Monday to Friday – “Practising the Power of Eight“. At the moment, we have a short 10-minute meditation for abundance of health, wealth and well-being. Then we have a longer get together for holding specific intentions for those who show up.

But what I have learnt over the last 11 months of running this is that showing up daily to sit in Silence or lead meditation where you hold an intention of healing for another, is so powerful. We were meant to be co-creators, not idle bystanders. we have a role to play, that we fail to step up into, preferring to declare ourselves helpless.

I tell you this: if you had even a faint spark of faith, even faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and because of your faith, the mountain would move. If you had just a sliver of faith, you would find nothing impossible.

Matthew 17:20

Being full of the Holy Spirit

Two verses are always on my mind when I think of this topic:

19 Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? 

1 Corinthians 6:19 (CSB)


16 Don’t you yourselves know that you are God’s temple and that the Spirit of God lives in you?

1 Corinthians 3:16  (CSB)

And yet we continue to pray to God as if God were somehow so far away. Instead of believing and looking within. Instead of finding God hidden in plain sight.

But, what I have learned over these ten years is the role that humility plays in taking responsibility for this power and this relationship.

The hardest part is getting ego and fears (years and years of fear) out of the way. To start believing that God chooses to be part of me, within me and that there is no need to go looking any further for God.

God’s not sitting up in a temple in the sky, far from reach and view. God is everywhere – and possibly most important – in each and every one of us. But we fail to make space. We fail to open up. We prefer to remain asleep, helpless and hopeless – because there is so much less responsibility when God – out there – is all powerful and I can do nothing.

We are each called to more.

My tongue, your tongue – the power of the tongue

Most of us know “in the beginning was the Word”… and we also know that when God made men and women, we were “created in the image of God”. As I already mentioned regarding prayer:

I tell you this: if you had even a faint spark of faith, even faith as tiny as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and because of your faith, the mountain would move. If you had just a sliver of faith, you would find nothing impossible.

Matthew 17.20

And yet we fail to recognise that what we are saying each and every day is creating the reality we live in. We cry out, I don’t have enough – and fail to see how this is manifesting physically in our world. Because it is the faith that we have! Somehow, we reject that God has taken care of all of our needs, and we insist on saying “it’s not enough”.

Rather than claiming, with actual faith (not begging and hoping that perhaps it might happen) – “My God shall supply all of my needs”… we ask God to save us.

Consider how many verses in Proverbs alone speak of the power of the tongue:

  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
  • A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
  • There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
  • When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
  • A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
  • The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
  • Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
  • Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
  • Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
  • With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
  • The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
  • Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.
  • A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
  • The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body.
  • With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
  • There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
  • A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
  • A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.
  • The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
  • If you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth,
  • Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
  • and this list is not complete… but I think you get the picture!

Whether you like to watch your words or not, understand that at every moment of every day you are speaking things into existence!

How many people do you see now doing positive affirmations? Working hard at changing their subconscious mindset and the words that they speak to themselves. Because the power of the tongue to create your reality is happening all around you.

The role of women

I’m still searching for answers on this – because the history of the church (especially decisions made of what doctrines to follow and what to leave out), leave me with more questions than answers.

And the same way that the more you know, the more complicated things get — this is another one of those topics.

This thought might rattle you:

“How can women be in the image of God if God cannot be imaged in female form?”

― Marcus J. Borg

But, we know that Shekinah – the Glory of the Presence of God – is female form. We know Divine Wisdom is feminine “she”.

So, what is the role that women are to play and how does this play out in my life, each and every day? Because, I admit, my quest and journey is a personal one. It’s about learning things that transform my life and how I relate to God and others.

Along the way, I share what I am learning and reading, but at the end of the day, the most important transformation that happens is the one within me, where I am transformed by the renewing of my mind.

And hopefully, along this journey, I will be a blessing to others as well!

“God is here, right now, at our side. We can see him in this mist, in the ground we're walking on, even in my shoes. His angels keep watch while we sleep and help us in our work. In order to find God, you have only to look around.” Paulo Coelho
“God is here, right now, at our side. We can see him in this mist, in the ground we’re walking on, even in my shoes. His angels keep watch while we sleep and help us in our work. In order to find God, you have only to look around.”