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FEATURE - May 2018

Are You Guilty of “Spiritual Speak”?

by Dorothy Tannahill-Moran 


When you’re meeting someone new do you find yourself listening for clues that this stranger might also be focused on spiritual matters like you?  I know I do.  I like to know other people who share my beliefs and probably place value on many of the same things.  We all do.


Every group or culture is defined by several things including what the group focuses on, icons of the culture such as symbols but most of all, how they communicate.  A culture of people develops these various constructs to aid in understanding each other and to act as a “short hand” for communication.  At a primitive level, these cultural elements easily help us identify one of our own.  Knowing we are amongst our own is comfortable and safe.


But, what if you are an outsider to a group?  Being an outsider can be uncomfortable at best and at worst life altering.  I’ve seen people leave jobs on their own or got fired because they never fully integrated or “fit”. This condition exists in every setting we experience–including families.


The importance of understanding your various cultural eco-systems is to have the sensitivity to operate with others in this world in an effective way.  As a light-worker or a high vibration individual, your communication may negatively impact your ability to attract and help others.  As a consciousness community, we must be mindful that words that have meaning within our community oftentimes don’t have meaning to those outside of it.  I call this “spiritual speak”.


As we become more involved and more integrated into any group, we adapt the communication style so easily we can fail to notice.  When I worked in high-tech, we spoke in acronyms and used high-tech terminology to describe human conditions such as: “Being out of bandwidth” (this describes an inability to absorb more information).  Bringing an outsider such as my spouse to work parties turned out to be a form of culture shock.  He couldn’t understand what we were talking about and attending wasn’t fun.  


Before outlining constructive steps to improve, I want to make what I consider to be the biggest argument for spiritual emotional intelligence. Even if you are new to higher consciousness, you already know your mission is to help usher in higher vibration for the entire planet.  You’re here to aid in the transformation and evolution of humanity–however, you are choosing to do so.  But, if you are confusing people with “spiritual speak” and causing them to not connect, you are failing your mission.  You must communicate in a way so the un-integrated person can comprehend.


How to become the bridge our planet needs:


Be mindful and conscious.  The greatest gift we can give another person besides our time is our attention.  Pay attention to both what and how you and the other person are communicating.


Mirror and adapt.  One way to signal a sense of “belonging” is to mirror body language and word usage.  This means you need to adapt to them, not the other way around.  BTW, adapting to another person isn’t dishonest.  We adapt to other people all the time. We just might not adapt as much as is needed. Think about how you interact with a child compared to your boss.  You select an arsenal of words, tone, facial expressions and gestures in order to increase your effectiveness with both people.  Mirroring and adaptation is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence.

Get feedback.  It’s very hard to be able to objectively view oneself.  You may overuse words that you don’t realize doing.  It’s also hard to obtain honest, open feedback about any quirks in our communication, so you must be careful about whom you get feedback from.  You don’t want someone to tell you things just to be nice or spare your feelings.  If you’re serious about your spiritual mission, you need information to help you improve.

Don’t judge.  This one is easier said than done.  When other people are different than we are, it can be all too easy to negatively judge the other person.  Your behavior can reflect your thoughts as well as energy with another person.  A great trick to drive away judgment is to be curious.  Curiosity and judgment can’t co-exist, so get curious, ask questions, and seek to understand the other person.  

Find alternatives for overused words.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your resume, your Facebook page or speaking to a person, be aware of words that might be loaded with meaning to you but not others.  A quick sweep through only two “spiritually oriented” websites gave me a list of 12 words, and that was before I got to more technical terms like Akashic, Reiki, and Shaman.  Rethink words like clearing, inner being, manifest, and energies.  I know I still struggle with the word “healing” because I don’t think I need to be healed.  I’m gaining a better understanding of the scope of the word, but it’s a bit off-putting.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of speaking like one of your own no matter your age or group you most closely identify with.  Be mindful (yes, that’s one of those words) that you want to be versatile and sensitive to those people who aren’t yet aligned with your spiritual persona.

Evolving Magazine

Kansas City

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Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is an author, speaker, and leadership coach.
For a half hour appointment go to
503 2601657
Video series -The 5 Common Ways Introverts Commit Career Self-Sabotage and How to Avoid Them:  




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