Turning my “f*%*” into “wow” has been transformational.

I’ve probably spent more time trying to craft that opening sentence (in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m trying to sell you something) than on the rest of this, but elaborating on a passing suggestion in Pema Chödrön’s latest book really has made a big difference for me. In the context of establishing habits that will serve you well at the end of your life, she suggests that when we catch ourselves cursing we instead say “wow.” She then moves on to other topics, but I decided to really try it.

The premise, for me anyway, is that when I’m cursing (by which I mean muttering something in reactive anger – just having a potty mouth, which is also true for me, is fine) I’m letting usually-trivial annoyances take over my energy field. Saying “wow” once I notice that offers my consciousness a chance to reset, and I’ve added to that the further edict of inserting something else that expresses a) gratitude, b) wonder, and/or c) compassion. I wind up practicing this several times daily (as that initial impulse hasn’t really changed, and it gets more pronounced the more tired, stressed, etc. I may be) and it’s becoming more and more habitual.  

So, for example, someone recklessly speeds past me while I’m driving. First impulse, invariably, is “you f*%*ing $^&*head!!” or some variation thereof. Now, I take a breath and say “wow” (or if I notice that I’m extra-agitated, “wowwwwwwww”) and follow it with something like one of these:

– “Wow, I am so grateful that I’m safe.”

– “Wow, I take for granted that the technological intricacy that goes into automobiles is incredible.”

– “Wow, just look at the sky right now.”

– “Wow, it must be really hard to be so dysregulated that driving like that seems necessary.”

You get the idea. It’s not my place to say you should try it, but WOW has it helped me to spend a greater proportion of my time in the energy states I want to inhabit.   


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