Searching for Healing? Pay Attention to Your Words

Aug 30

Did you know that you shape the world in which you live by the words and emotions you allow into your mind and heart? If you need to heal, put healing words and emotions into your life.

Forty years ago, I would have been skeptical of that message. The way I viewed the world then led me to believe that the problems I experienced were caused by others. After all, I was doing the best I could and yet awful things were happening. 

Now, I know differently. Forty years ago, I was simply giving my power away to people who didn’t deserve it. I didn’t have to do that. Because I was unaware, I unconsciously allowed it to happen. I permitted dysfunctional people to have free rent in my head all the time. 

What changed? As a young mother, I unexpectedly had a mystical experience. That experience started me on a long journey through the world of perception, thoughts, words, pain, despair, paradox, anger, fear, terror, joy, peace, skepticism, faith, humility, gratitude, self-esteem, and personal power. 

The mystical experience was not one I was seeking. It just happened. I couldn’t find the words to describe it. My religious training offered me no ready-made vocabulary. Yet the experience was so magnificently transforming I needed to find some way to communicate it. I desperately wanted to understand it. My search for the ‘right’ words turned into a forty-year quest that ultimately left me acutely aware of how many different ways I could perceive the world and how the ways I perceived it affected how I felt. 

I’m not going to go into detail here about the mystical experience. Those who want to read more can go to my website at or read the first chapter of my book Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World. 

As a child I’d been fascinated with optical illusions. The famous one of the old hag and the young woman is a good example:

Old Hag - Young Woman

Old Hag - Young Woman

The lines on the paper don’t change. What changes is the way our minds shape those lines and the meaning each of us gives to them. Depending on what we see, we use different words. We either use words like, young, beautiful, vibrant, charming, gentle or we use words like big nose, toothless, hag, jutting chin, drooping eyelids. Depending on what we see and the words we use, our emotions and energy levels change. Most of us feel better about the words young, beautiful, charming and vibrant than we do about the words drooping eyelids, big nose and toothless. 

Our real world is just like an optical illusion. We have a choice as to what we see, the words we use, the emotions we feel, and the actions we take. Perception, words, emotions, and actions are all interrelated. 

Eastern religions speak about piercing the veil of illusion. This is exactly what they are talking about. Christians talk about salvation. Same thing. Both are simply talking about consciousness-shifting experiences that suddenly allow us to view our world in a new, more harmonious, and creative way. 

How does shifting our consciousness allow us to heal? 

When we accept the fact that the influx of sensory data is what it is and that each of us is in a dance of consciousness with that sensory data, we suddenly realize that we have the power to change that dance by choosing our own perceptions, words, emotions, and actions. If our partner wants to tango and we want to waltz, we simply stop doing the tango. Either our partner will waltz with us or we will find a new partner who loves to waltz as much as we do. 

In short, by becoming acutely aware of the choices we have every minute of every day, we can seek out those people and experiences that enhance our energy and well-being and blithely dance away from those that do not.

Warm regards,


Janet Smith Warfield
Ordinary words, extraordinary insights
Author of Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World
WINNER: 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Best New Age Non-Fiction
WINNER: 2008 COVR Best Website Award


Aug 29

Dear Ms. Warfield,

I live in Boquete with my husband and little boy, and I came across an email about your work.

Some years ago I had an insight that is very difficult to describe… the idea that in situations… in ALL situations in life, if only we would ask the right question (to ourselves or to the other(s)), this would be the key to successful living, and even to spiritual growth.

The best way I can relate this idea is to use your own described situation from your book… the one where you asked the fighting boys questions instead of scolding or lecturing.

It takes practice, especially if one is rooted in a faulty foundation, insecurities, and anger. But I believe that the practice of asking the right questions works. And I don’t think it is unlike what you describe.

Yours, Elizabeth Slagle 

Elizabeth Slagle has a blog at – all about her family’s Panama adventure.


LOL! Questions are good. The right questions are even better. 

One of my struggles in writing Shift has been how to communicate my experiences and what I know without sounding authoritarian. This is not about following rules. This is about personal freedom. 

Over lots of years, I’ve learned techniques that work. One of those techniques is questions. Another is telling stories. A third is dialog. A fourth is first person singular. A fifth is poetry, particularly haiku. A sixth is thesis and antithesis. A seventh is paradox or unusual juxtapositions of words. The latter jolts people out of their conditioned linear thinking. Divisive, linear words simply cannot communicate wholistic understanding. 

If you look at the linguistic techniques great philosophers and spiritual leaders used, the best of them used one or more of the above techniques.

  • Socrates used questions
  • Plato used dialog
  • Jesus used parables or stories
  • Zen masters use koans and haiku
  • The Buddha used statements such as “I am aware.”
  • Kahlil Gibran used poetry
  • Hermann Hesse used novels
  • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Friedrich Nietzsche used thesis and antithesis.

Current spiritual writers also use these techniques:

  • Neale Donald Walsh uses dialog
  • Eckhart Tolle uses dialog
  • Elizabeth Gilbert uses stories and first person singular
  • Janet and Chris Attwood use stories
  • Esther Hicks/Abraham use dialog and questions
  • Stuart Wilde uses stories and first person singular
  • Dr. Wayne Dyer uses paradox

But getting back to the subject of questions, how do we know when we’re asking the right question and when we’re asking the wrong question? There’s a very simple answer. When you’re asking the right question, you’re putting the power to answer in your own hands, not in the hands of somebody else.

For example, you can ask, “Why is she always late?” It’s a question that puts the power for answering in the hands of somebody else. Maybe she will answer. Maybe she won’t. Maybe she doesn’t even know the answer. Maybe it’s conditioned behavior. Who knows.

But when instead you ask, “If she’s late again, how am I going to respond? you put the power back in your own hands.

 Warm regards,


Janet Smith Warfield
Ordinary words, extraordinary insights
Author of Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World
WINNER: 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Award for Best New Age Non-Fiction
WINNER: 2008 COVR Best Website Award

Do People Need to Socialize?

Aug 09

This is one of those questions that truly can’t be answered in its present form. There is no general answer. Some people need to socialize. Others don’t. You may need to socialize sometimes and not others.

One of my workshop topics is “Ask the Right Questions to Get the Answers You Need.” Isn’t that the bottom line? Getting an answer you need, right here, right now?

The questions I’d ask would be: 

  1. What do I get out of socializing with other people?
  2. What do I get out of being alone?
  3. When do I need to be with other people?
  4. When do I need to be alone?
  5. What kinds of people do I enjoy socializing with?
  6. What kinds of people drain my energy?
  7. Do I need to socialize with someone now or do I need to be alone?
  8. If I need to socialize, who can I socialize with who will support me and fulfill my needs?

Those are questions each of us can answer for ourselves at any given moment.

Socializing with positive, creative thinkers can be hugely supportive to your goals and visions. Choose wisely the people you socialize with.


Resisting Evil

Jul 25

A visitor to one of my other websites,, asked an interesting question:

“Do you resist evil 100%? Does the impulse come to resist, and what do you do with the impulse?”

What do we mean by the word “evil”?

Personally, I don’t much like that word. It smacks of judgment, and judgment is not my job. Discernment, however, is.

Discernment is just noticing and making choices about how I am going to respond to behavior I prefer to call “dysfunctional.” Dysfunctional behavior is behavior that is win/lose. Functional behavior is win/win. That means doing the best I know how to bring harmony into a conflicted relationship or situation. Sometimes, I just have to walk away. That, in itself, often leads to harmony, as well as a lesson to the person who is stuck in win/lose thinking.

As far as impulses go, I always notice them and listen to them, but I rarely act out on them. Instead, I make choices about them. It’s called “being the witness.” Impulses and emotions are generally bringing me a message I need to hear, decipher, and understand. Once I understand what I need to change in my own life to restore peace and harmony, I can make a conscious choice about the appropriate action to take. It is never about taking action against another. It may be about protecting myself from dysfunctional people and situations.

By making choices about how I am going to change, I put my power back where it belongs – in my own hands.