Last weekend I couldn’t remember the word for socks. I knew I was wearing fabric on my feet. I was too warm and needed to take off my things that were on my feet. I have an excuse: I was recovering from a COVID booster and those give me a variety of side effects including brain fog. My cat and I laughed that I couldn’t remember the word for socks. Then I got on with my day.
I tell you this story as an example of knowing something without being able to articulate it. This is an important kind of knowing that we often discount. Societal norms say that if you can’t verbalize something, you might have dementia or at least brain fog or the regular effects of aging. But think about the developmental cycle: before babies can speak, they know things and communicate in their own way.
I believe there are many experiences of knowing that matter even when we don’t have words for them. We get a flash of intuition. We get “a feeling” about something. Our bodies shy away from a person or place or get drawn toward someone from desire. We move and act from a sense of knowing without being able to say it in words. And most of the time, that’s OK. InterPlay practice teaches that we can “have” an experience without being able to articulate it. We can pause and let ourselves take it in without analyzing.
Think about how you feel after watching a dance performance or hearing a symphony or a drumming group. Think about the first time you saw a work of visual art that moved you profoundly. Communication without words can be an event of mystical proportions, a truly religious experience.
This summer, I invite you to allow yourself to know without speaking. And this suggestion from someone like me who loves words! Let us experience the poem behind the poem.
Rev. Dena McPhetres, Associate Minister