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    Spells & Magic - Words That Work

    Excerpted from
    Hannah Keeley's Total Mom Makeover: The Six-Week Plan to Completely Transform Your Home, Health, Family and Life
    By Hannah Keeley

    Words carry with them a mighty force. Believe it or not, all of us possess magical powers, and we can choose to use these powers for evil or for good. We perform magical incantations every day, using words to hurt and to heal, to push forward and to pull back. If you can harness this power, there is no limit to the magic you can perform, both in your life and in the lives of others.

    Casting Spells

    My two oldest children are die-hard Harry Potter fans. When they were younger, they would pretend that they were students at Hogwarts. They fashioned wands out of sticks and learned all of the magic spells. I would often hear them casting spells on each other. "Petrificus Totalus!" - and all of a sudden the opponent would be frozen solid. "Tarantallegra!" - and the other person's legs would begin dancing uncontrollably. They were pretending, of course, but the magic of words is just that tangible. Words can immobilize us, and words can make our lives a beautiful dance. They have unbelievable power.

    When you voice something, you give it a life and the permission to exist. Our words often dictate our behaviors and the behaviors of others. For example, in the learning room of my house I have a list of rules on the wall. One of the rules is pretty obvious - it's the word can 7 with a big slash mark through it. None of the children are allowed to say can? when referring to their abilities. By saying you can't do something, you have already defeated yourself. A math problem or a vocabulary word doesn't have the power to defeat you; only you have the power to defeat you. And when you use limiting words, you are limiting yourself.

    Black Magic, White Magic

    It's not just what we say but also what we hear that affects our lives in powerful ways. Positive comments can propel us to new levels of greatness; negative comments have the potential to scar us for life. I don't know if you have any toxic spells infecting your life, but many of us walk around with verbal curses shadowing our pathways. Perhaps someone close to you has told you, "You're not smart enough," "You don't have what it takes," or "Don't get your hopes up." Little curses can work black magic over our lives, just as real as if a sorcerer waved his wand and cast a spell. These toxic words infect your entire existence. They put up parameters where there should be unlimited potential, and they need to be wiped away. You have the power to perform your own white magic.

    When you feel those past comments striking you down, be armed with your own quiver of white magic arrows to shoot each one - a blessing for each curse. For example, if you have been told you are not smart and those words continue to haunt you, then give yourself a positive message: "I am a smart woman. I am intelligent and creative." Positive messages drain these curses of the spell that they have cast over you. Curses and blessings have no power other than the power that you ascribe to them. How much do you believe in the negative messages that have been given to you? Maybe it's time to develop a new reality - a belief in the potential that lies within you. When you give yourself positive messages, believe them. Make them real, say them out loud, support them with your actions. If you believe you are smart, intelligent, and creative, then you will act accordingly. You will read quality literature. You will act on your creative ideas. You will engage in stimulating conversation. Words are powerful, but it is your belief in those words that will determine your response.

    Power Up Your Vocabulary

    You can transform your world when you transform your vocabulary. Whether we realize it or not, the words we say carry a lot of weight. Begin to consider your words carefully before you utter them. Start minimizing your negative comments and maximizing your positive ones. Once, I felt very ill. Evidently I was battling some kind of bug that was going around. But I would never say that I was sick. To me, sick carried too many negative connotations. When my husband, Blair, would ask how I felt, I would reply with something like, "I'm feeling a bit challenged," or maybe, "I'm just a tad uncomfortable." Finally, he said, "Would you just admit that you're sick?"

    It may seem ludicrous to some, but I really do believe that there is power in the words you use to describe your situation. You can feel angry, or you can feel a bit put off. You can feel happy, or you can feel overjoyed. The use of powerful words can actually put you into a more powerful state. Try it today and see for yourself. Be selective about the words that you choose. Make sure that the toxic words are leaving your vocabulary and that you are replacing them with words that are strong and instrumental in helping you get what you want out of life. Toxic words imply that there is no change possible, but words that carry potential suggest that there is room for improvement. I hear a lot of "mommy talk" in my circles, and unfortunately a large amount of it is toxic. Begin taking measures today to replace those phrases with something less negative. You will find that it really does make a difference.

    The Language of Love

    I have found that when it comes to our homes, we loosen our belts a bit and let our hair down. What we would never say in public comes spilling out of our lips when we are safe at home. I have heard moms chastise their children terribly in public, and I can't help thinking, If she is saying that here in public, then I'm scared to think of how she speaks to her children at home. Of all places to foster enriching speech, the home should be at the top of the list.

    Our children are absorbing everything we do and say. Don't just think about what you are feeding their bodies; consider what you are feeding their minds. Let the words that you direct toward them, as well as toward your husband, be words that lift up instead of tear down. They need healthy food to build strong bodies, and they need healthy words to build strong spirits. There will be enough in the world to challenge their confidence. It is your job to create unshakable character through the words that you choose. Eliminate the toxic phrases but also look for opportunities to feed them with words and phrases that enrich and empower. "You did it!" "You are so smart!" "You amaze me!" "I am astounded at how incredible you are!" These words act like building blocks, creating strength and competence. And the opportunities to build them up are always there.

    I remember once, two of my boys were having a difficult time getting along. They would either bicker over toys or ignore each other. I finally decided to conduct my own experiment in shaping reality. I began talking to them about how great they played together, about how happy it made me to see how much they loved each other. I even made a point of talking to other people about them when I knew the boys were close by so they could hear me gushing over how wonderfully they got along. (Hint: Kids always listen more carefully when they overhear something.) In other words, I began speaking the reality that I wanted instead of the one that I was currently faced with. Remember, in order to shape your beliefs, you create a reality and then step into it as if it already exists. I created the reality that I wanted (my two boys getting along) and then started behaving as if it were already in effect. And the results were amazing. Within days, they began playing together and enjoying each other. After about a week, I overheard my older son talking in the other room, and when I peeked in, I saw him reading a book to his little brother. The transformation was incredible, and it testifies to the power of the words we speak. As a mom, you have the power to shape your children's world, so choose your words wisely.

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