Home Gratitude A Soft Word

A Soft Word

by Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 47 comments
By Molly Hahn Cartoonist, Children’s Illustrator/Author
Today, I am excited to welcome one of my most favorite writers. She is also a very dear blogger friend who authors the inspiring blog at 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (And Staying there)
Dear Readers – here is Galen Pearl.
I am always thrilled when I visit a blog for the first time and know instantly I am going to get hooked to it. Galen’s blog is one of them. Her blog is devoted to helping us develop habits to grow a joyful spirit. In addition to writing, she leads workshops and discussion groups focused on increasing the joy in our lives. I love that she is a Nunchucks Nana!
In my eyes, Galen is a born teacher with the talent to turn a simple, ordinary occurrence into a beautiful and extraordinary life-lesson. Her writing is simple, poignant, yet delightful with each word tugging at your heartstrings. I don’t mind confessing that when she sent me her post, I cried when I read it – with joy, with love and with gratitude.
Her book “10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place” is scheduled for release in October this year and I know it is going to be fantastic.
What can I say? I hope to meet Galen in this life.
Over to you, Galen – please weave your magic – and welcome again! It is an honor to have you here.
A Soft WordGuest Post by Galen Pearl
A soft word turns away wrath….  –Proverbs 15:1
My daughter called me the other day, all upset because someone had been rude to her on the phone.  She was going to have to talk to this woman again to get some information, and Mia was already agitated and defensive about the prospect.  I would like to say that I imparted some great wisdom to her, but I was in a hurry and sort of brushed her off.
Later when I came home, Mia was chatting amicably on the phone.  After she hung up, she told me that she was talking to the woman who had been so rude earlier.  When I asked her how she could account for the change in tone, she said, “Well, I just decided to be nice.  I told her I thought she must have a hard job, probably having to talk to people who were sometimes demanding and unappreciative.” 
After Mia made this overture, the woman admitted that she had been having a frustrating day at work.  Her attitude changed and she was friendly and helpful to Mia. 
Wow, I thought, out of the mouths of babes.  My daughter modeled for me exactly what I hope I would do in a similar situation. 
In another situation, I forgot a commitment I made to a good friend.  In fact, the commitment was to write this very guest post for Vidya.  I didn’t mean to forget, of course, but I didn’t write it down and, as my daughter says affectionately, I have the memory of a gnat.  Bad memory is no excuse, though, and Vidya was counting on me.
As the time approached for me to send the post, and she had not heard from me, she sent me the sweetest email addressed to “Galen dearest.”  In the nicest way possible, what she called a “gentle nudge,” she asked me about the post.  Naturally, I was mortified at my oversight.  After all, who would ever want to disappoint Vidya?!  But her gracious spirit and kind words soothed my own self judgment.  Like Mia, she modeled for me exactly what I hope I would do in similar circumstances.
How easy it would have been for Mia to get defensive and combative with the woman on the phone.  How easy it would have been for Vidya to be irritated and hurt by my forgetfulness.  But each of them took a situation that was fertile ground for discord, and instead sowed seeds of peace.  So generous.
As we go through our daily lives, we have so many opportunities to choose what role we will play in various encounters.  Will we get our knickers in a knot over some perceived slight?  Will our egos rise up in righteous indignation?  Or will we instead choose to be kind, to offer soft words, to extend an open hand?
A Course in Miracles teaches that everything we do or think or say is one of two things.  Everything is either an expression of love or a call for love.  Every time we are poised to speak or think or act, we choose one or the other.  Mia and Vidya both chose to express love.  With both of them as inspiring examples, I hope I will do the same.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.  –Matthew 5:9
Thank you, Galen! 
Please visit Galen’s blog at 10 Steps to Finding Your Happy Place (And Staying there)you will love it!  Connect with Galen Pearl on Facebook and on her Fan Page
Question for you:
Ever faced a situation when you wished you could have taken back your words? 
Ever wished you could rewind an occasion and make it better?
Please share in the comments!


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Harleena Singh August 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

Nice to see you here Galen and you couldn’t have got a better person over Vidya :)Loved all that you write about Mia and of course Vidya, who is indeed a kind and generous friend, someone whom we all love to have. I guess you mentioned a very valid point about how we would react if we were in a similar situation. Would we be as generous and peaceful or would we get irritated and create problems.Life gives us many choices, but it depends on which one you take and how you handle the situation. You can either be positive and optimistic about it or be negative and pessimistic about it – it all depends on you and your outlook – isn’t it?Thanks for sharing and heading right over to connect with you on Facebook as well 🙂

Vidya Sury August 30, 2012 at 8:21 am

Thanks for the love, Harleena! You’re right – Galen is the best! The power of words is magical! Thank you for the lovely comment and yes – I know you’ll enjoy connecting with Galen on Facebook! Have a fab day!

Galen Pearl August 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Harleena, I agree–Vidya is a kind and generous friend indeed, as are you! Thanks for your kind words and for connecting on FB.

My Inner Chick August 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm

**Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.** –Matthew 5:9

One of my fave verses. If we were all peacemakers, the universe would trasform into pure love…

Beautiful, thoughtful, powerful post.

Thank you Vidya & Galen. xxxxx

Galen Pearl August 30, 2012 at 6:25 pm

That is one of my favorite verses, too. Even saying it to myself helps me calm down and remind myself of my higher and deeper purpose in this life. Thanks for your comment.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:28 am

You know, Kim, when I highlighted those words, I thought of you – no idea why. Probably because the verse is so beautiful. I just felt you would love it. Hugs and thanks for being here!

Betsy at Zen Mama August 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Galen and Vidya,
I love this post! I say this quote that my father in law used to say to my kids all the time, “You catch more flies with honey.” And my husband always says, “I get so much done just by being nice.” So true! Thank you for the reminder!!

Galen Pearl August 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Betsy, I like the connection your husband makes between being nice and being productive. Sometimes we think that being aggressive will push people to do what we want, but it more often slows things down and leaves us all with a bad feeling. I was pleased the other day when my daughter observed that I don’t get angry very often anymore. She saw this as a great improvement! Thanks for your comment.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:31 am

Betsy and Galen – there IS a definite connection between nice and productive. 🙂 I say this from my experience with kids. Ask lovingly, and they’ll move the earth. Yell and them and their instinctive reaction is to rebel. 🙂 Why, my son Vidur will do just about anything when I ask him lovingly. I mean, who likes being yelled at? 😀 Thank you for being here, Betsy.

I am enjoying your beautiful words, Galen!

Martha J. M. Orlando August 30, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Fantastic post and advice, Galen! May we always choose the path of love and soft words.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:47 am

A very warm welcome to you, Martha! Love always finds a way 🙂 And kind words are powerful! Thank you for your presence here today!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Martha, A lovely sentiment. Blessings, indeed!

Elle August 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm

This was just lovely Galen and Vidya. Love the little stories where we experience shining lights in our life. And both of you shine in mine.

Thank you.
Love Elle

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:49 am

Hugs, Elle! The best part is, it only takes a little practice to start thinking that way. I’ve always marveled at how my Mom would be sweet no matter what. Even to the people who were unkind to her. I would secretly be so mad sometimes. Hugs – I am so happy you’re here today!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Elle, Since my word of the year is Shine, I especially loved your comment. Vidya and Mia shine in my life, too, as do you!

Grandma Bonnie August 30, 2012 at 9:10 pm

That is some great advice to follow. I find my self very quick to become defensive. Although I have a great example of patience and kindness every day in my dear husband. He is the one who is kind when faced with anger or rudeness. I am always striving to be more like him.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:52 am

Welcome, Grandma Bonnie! You are right. I love how most families have someone who’s soft. In mine, it was my Mom. I grew up being polite yet, inside I would be irritated when someone was mean and I was expected to be nice. I am glad I emulated my Mom, though. There’s more peace that way.

Thank you so much for your comment!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Bonnie, You and Vidya are fortunate to have or to have had someone in your life who sets such an example of kindness in action. There were times in my life when I just couldn’t understand how someone could be so darned nice in the face of rudeness, but I understand now that the inner serenity we experience is more important than a sharp retort. Thanks for commenting.

Cathy | Treatment Talk August 30, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Great post Galen and thanks for sharing it Vidya! Your daughter sounds so mature and knew by instinct how to handle the situation. She most likely has a great example in her life. 🙂 Being kind brings joy and happiness into your life, and as you said, there is always a story behind behavior that is not so wonderful.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 9:58 am

Cathy, that’s exactly what I thought! I am pretty sure that Galen is the example 😉 Like my Mom always said, happiness breeds happiness. There are very few people who can’t smile back when you smile at them.

Hugs! Cathy & Galen!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm

Cathy and Vidya, Thanks for your vote of confidence. I was not a great model in my earlier parenting years. I yelled a lot. I like to think I evolved into a better parent before it was too late! Finding my own joy definitely affected how I parented. It was very pleasing to see Mia handle the situation in such a kind way. I was very proud of her. Thanks for commenting.

Vishnu August 31, 2012 at 6:10 am

hi Galen – enjoyed this post. great to see you here on Vidya’s blog.

LIfe is constantly testing us on a daily basis and we tend to forget that. So, I am missing the mark half the time. like today when i got a second parking ticket in 2 weeks!! hard to feel love there:)

Also, I work in the social justice, no longer law, and regularly get shaken up by injustice and those taking advantage of others in our society. I’ve tried to treat those who oppress and take advantage with love but sometimes find it challenging.

I think the goal is to become more like your Vidya and your daughter:) and strive to show love, be love each day more than the previous one?

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

Vishnu! 🙂 Welcome back! I know it is hard to keep smiling (I handle traffic in an area that has no road rules)all the time. But believe me, it is possible. You know – some days, while navigating the 2 km to Vidur’s school, buses graze my arm and every single day, Sury asks me to stop using the bike. He often wonders how I don’t get mad at my fellow travelers. But what’s the point in getting mad? I’ve made it a practice to recite slokas when I drive. I stay focused and calm. I drive slowly.

I understand what you’re saying about people taking advantage of others – breaks my heart too. But getting mad at these things only takes up our energy, energy better spent productively. I know it feels good to think of smashing that guy’s head in 🙂 but that’s not practical.

It takes practice. It takes time. And it works. Hugs, Vishnu!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Vishnu, Your work for social justice is another aspect of our legal profession’s focus on justice. When I was teaching at the law school, I had a verse from the Tao Te Ching on my office wall for students to think about. “When the Tao is lost, there is goodness. When goodness is lost, there is kindness. When kindness is lost, there is justice. When justice is lost there is ritual.” It always helped me to keep in mind that justice, although important, was not at the top of the list!

Fran Sorin August 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Dear Vidya….You are a generous and loving soul…so it is no wonder that you and Galen have found each other. Thank you for sharing her with us.

Galen…I love your personal stories. Isn’t it wonderful when others end up being our teachers. It is a privilege to be surrounded by individuals from whom we learn empowering and compassionate lessons. Blessings…Fran

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Fran and Vidya, Thank you for the kind words. Vidya, I’m glad you remembered how we connected. I remember that once we did, I was intrigued right away with your spirit’s shining light, and with your great photos!

Fran, it is wonderful, as you say, when our daily encounters bring us deep lessons. Thanks for your comment.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Fran – I am glad we found Galen! 😀 I think I first connected with her when she guest-posted on one of the blogs I visit regularly. Am I glad! What’s more, I love reading her comments on the blogs I visit. There’s always something to take away. True teacher.

So happy you’re with us today, Fran! You’re right about the learning from those we connect with. I learn something from my son almost every day – in an unexpected way. 🙂

carolynhughesthehurthealer August 31, 2012 at 9:15 am

What a lovely remiunder to step back from a situation instead of reacting to it! Just because someone else may have a bad attitude at that moment doesn’t mean we have to respond in the same way.
Thank you Galen, your peacemakers scriptures has also reminded me to do what is right and not necessarily what I feel like doing!

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 10:08 am

Yes, Carolyn! That’s exactly what it involves – stepping back from the situation! Takes just a few seconds. You’ve expressed it perfectly! I loved the scriptures Galen quoted – so apt. Thank you for the lovely comment, Carolyn!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Carolyn, As Vidya said, you are right on target with the importance of stepping back. I wrote recently about an incident in which I did not step back. A pause to take a few deep breaths might have helped me react in a different way. Thanks for commenting.

Vidya Sury August 31, 2012 at 10:12 am

Dearest Galen,

Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom here. Being nice for me is a choice I make. I prefer harmony as I would like to channel my thoughts and energy into productive things. Of course I am human and feel bad, feel hurt and upset. But then, I have the option on how to feel and react and I simply choose the happy path. One life – so I’d rather put a smile on someone’s face than an expression of sadness or anger.

I love the verses you quoted. And I’ve also been browsing the site for A Course in Miracles. They have a home-study online course and I’ve just started the first lesson. Galen, thanks for being a gift!

Galen Pearl August 31, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Vidya, Thank you so much for the opportunity to guest post on your lovely blog. You are a constant model for us all of living in kindness and grace.

I’m so excited that you have started A Course in Miracles. I would love to talk to you about it. We’ll email.

Also, just wanted to mention to you and your readers that I will be leaving later today for a weekend at my cabin. I have no Internet there, so I will look forward to responding to new comments as soon as I get back.

Emily Sovich August 31, 2012 at 6:53 pm

This was such a soothing post. What a forceful reminder that we can use our everyday actions to help spread peace!

Vidya Sury September 1, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Thank you, Emily! I just read your latest post – and I love your Mom! 😀

Galen Pearl September 3, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Emily, So true about everyday actions. Mia and Vidya have moved on from what they did, but the effect it had on me lingers and reminds me every day that I can have a similar impact on someone else. Thanks for commenting.

vanita September 2, 2012 at 11:32 am

Galen, Mia is super smart! A kind word, trying to understand a person’s situation, really can go a long way. This post was wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Galen Pearl September 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm

vanita, I will share your comment with Mia–she’ll love it. I do, too! Thank you.

Vidya Sury September 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

🙂 So happy you’re here, Vani!

Hiten September 2, 2012 at 11:20 am

Hi Galen,

A lovely guest post and thanks Vidya for getting Galen over at your blog!

What you wrote Galen, reminded me of something I’ve been thinking about recently and its ability to transform our attitudes and the way we communicate. It is by putting ourselves into the shoes of others before we react. It sounds like Mia could have done something to similar to this. What this seems to do, almost like magic, is to keep ourselves calm and increases our compassion to those who we are communicating with.

Galen Pearl September 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Hiten, The Native American proverb about not judging someone until you walk a mile in his moccasins has spilled over into many cultures because it’s so true! When I can manage to just pause for a second and think about what another person is experiencing, I can open the door to compassion and connection. I like what you said about “transforming” attitudes. It is a transformation, isn’t it?! Thanks for your comment.

Julie Timms September 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Galen, dearest Vidya has been a faithful reader of mine for a few months and this is my first time at her blog. I hope to only be as graceful as her. I loved this guest blog and the wonderful advice shared.

Galen Pearl September 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Julie, I’m so glad that on your first visit to Vidya’s blog, you were able to read a story about her wonderfulness! I’m sure you will be constantly humbled and awed by the light that shines so brightly from her spirit. Thanks for your comment.

Vidya Sury September 4, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Julie! Welcome hugs to you! I always love how your posts sound just like something I might have written. 🙂 Glad you’re here today!

LeAnn September 4, 2012 at 5:15 am

Another lovely post from Galen. I love her thoughts today and find in my own life that kindness, respect and peaceful attitudes go a long ways in solving struggles.
Blessings for this one!

Galen Pearl September 4, 2012 at 7:54 pm

LeAnn, Thanks for your kind words. You will find another kindred spirit in Vidya. Thanks for your comment.

Vidya Sury September 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Dear LeAnn! A warm welcome to you! Yes, I agree with you – love how Galen writes.Thank you so much for dropping by!

Therese September 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Simply lovely post, as always, Galen. In a world where we are usually hurried and bumped around and often frustrated by…well, whatever… kind words can be like a cool refreshing drink of water. We all appreciate them so it’s nice to give them when we can too!


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