• Cecilia Macaulay

KotoDama: Words for Overcoming Loss

Updated: Jan 11, 2019


According to Japanese tradition, words have their own soul. 言霊 koto + dama means word + soul. Once you utter them, they come out of your mouth and become their own little selves, roaming the world, doing what they do. Thats why being choosy about our words matters. There they are, for eternity.


I learned this from a Japanese friend, who was trying to console me after a big loss. The loss was a year and a half of work, after a computer, with back-up disks, got lost in a storm. 'Cecilia' He said 'You are a lucky person. To keep this luck, every day, you should say 'Thank you!' for this accident. Out loud. You don't have to mean it in the beginning, but you will eventually. Words have a spirt, and will walk around and give you power.'


A few times each day I'd dry my tears 'Thank you that I lost my work'. Thank you that I lost my computer'. I waited for the luck to come.

Then one day I was standing waiting for traffic lights to change. Usually I'm impatient, hopping from one foot to the other, hastening the green light. I used the wait to create another 'Thank-you' KotoDama, word spirit, and I had a realisation. I'd just lost a year and a half, and I was alive and well. That meant, I was allowed to loose one minute waiting for the lights. Enjoy the void. The years all go down the river of life anyway. If I was happy while I did the work, and have done enough work for a secure old ladyhood, thats all that counts. From that time on, I've been swift at re-framing those antsy moments of impatience. I'm able to generate a leisurely happiness when I'm stuck and there's nothing I can do about it...thats a treasure, a lightening of my load.


When you have a loss that leaves you feeling crushed, or discouraged, remember the Kotodama. Choose 'Thank you'. Victim words kept the sadness going, unhelpfully. The 'Thank you' is something with power, that can calm you down, as you wait for the gift to arrive.


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Cecilia Macaulay All Rights Reserved