Making friends with platzgeist

Posted by on 10.27.09 | 6 Comments
Filed Under Uncategorized

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

Warning: Illegal string offset 'status_txt' in /home/virtu151/public_html/wp-content/plugins/share-and-follow/share-and-follow.php on line 1168

I discovered a new word this past
weekend and got really excited. I mean,
really, how often do we come across new words that we can use? And, what is more important to how we are in the world than the words we use?

Intellectually, at least, I get that it
is the words I “own” and the words I choose not to “own”, my relationship to
them and how I string them together into sentences and those sentences into
stories that define me…that make me, me.

For the most part, I have taken my vocabulary
lightly. But, there have been “important”
words that, in the making them mine, have changed both my inner and outer
dialogues drastically and thus changed my experiences.

Take the word “discernment”, for
example. Such a simple word to write and
pronounce yet it points to one of the most impactful and difficult areas in my life: what to say, when to say it, how to say it
and whether or not to say it. Getting
better at it has required emptying all my baggage onto the floor and sorting
through it piece by tiny piece…a process I wish I could say was complete.

Another word, that I used to not like
very much, is “humanness”. When I’m “being
human” that normally means I didn’t censor my reaction and no telling what came
out of me. The beauty in that is sometimes
it is beautiful, extraordinary, beyond loving and completely alive. Sometimes though, it is raw and scary. Now I see discernment and humanness going
hand-in-hand, sort of like yin and yang, and I adore it. What an amazing, descriptive word and I’m
glad it is now part of the lens I look through.

A word I just realized I don’t own is
the word “yes”. In training dogs for
agility “yes” is said to the dog pretty much every time they do something right…except
for my poor dog, that is. Sure he gets a
lot of “goods” but they pale in comparison to the positive energy in a hearty “yesss”. It’s crazy how unfamiliar to me this simple word
is and how difficult it is to get it into my mouth. Unlike the word “no” which is spoken swiftly,
I clearly don’t own “yes” yet and can’t help but wonder what impact that has on
my experiences.

So the word I discovered this past
weekend is “Platzgeist”. It sounds
strange and hard but apparently it points to a very sweet notion: to capture the “spirit” of some place or some
one (in writing).

It excited me because it is a single
word that I can apply in my little head to all that is wrapped up in the idea
that the stories I tell myself and others are, to a very great extent, what
determines who I am. At least, that’s one
of the meaning I’m choosing to attribute to it.
I needed a good word for that and my thanks go to “Via” (the magazine of
Triple A) for introducing me to it.

The other, more universal, definition I
will also use is why I love to read the works of certain authors and
poets. I love it when they use only
black words on white paper to take me into the heart of a moment…into the
middle of a time and a place. Take the
first lines of a poem by Shel Silverstein:

“There is a place where the sidewalk
ends and before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft &
white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright

And there the moon-bird rests from his
flight

To cool in the peppermint wind…”

To my knowledge, this place exists only
in imagination yet every time I read the poem, it’s as though I can feel the
air in my lungs and the dew on my toes. Perhaps
this is truly what is meant by platzgeist?

Here’s my attempt at it:

The autumn wind is angry, ripping
yellow leaves off their tender branches and smashing them violently against my
windows. It’s like watching two scorned
lovers dance a tango. I decide not to
cut in for these two are perfect for each other.

How fun was that (for me, at least)? New energy is freeing and inspiring and I
would so love to “own” this word in that way.

Here’s a final example of platzeist…John
Muir may or may not have heard the word before yet he certainly owned it when
he wrote: “How deep our sleep last night
in the mountain’s heart, beneath the trees and stars, hushed by solemn sounding
waterfalls and many small soothing voices in sweet accord whispering peace!”

]]>

timeline

6 Comments

have your say

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. Subscribe to these comments.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

:

: