Monday, January 17, 2022

In a Word



Laurie Kasperbauer

The word was privacy. Our grandson, just short of six years old, and a few weeks into his kindergarten school year, said to me, “Nana, I can spell that word. Privacy.” Uh huh, I thought. “Go ahead,” I said.

P.” Good start. What comes next? “R. I.” Hmmm. Now he has my attention. “V. I.S.Y.

Nice work! I say. I’m truly impressed! Phonetically correct. Are they teaching kindergarteners to read, I ask my daughter? Evidently yes. I remember kindergarten as an introduction to the days of the week, snack time, recess and nap. But I am really excited the curriculum has changed! Because I am a logophile; a lover of words.

A few months back I downloaded an app on my phone called Dictionary. It has a Thesaurus as well as a Dictionary and I use it every day. The extra bonus? I get a “word of the day” that pings on my phone each morning. Words like winkle. Schmatte. Argy-bargy. Mien. Words I have never heard before. Words I can’t pronounce. Words that I can’t even guess the meaning of. Yet I am fascinated by them. I keep a list of my favorites in my phone. Added to the list are words I come across when I’m reading books. Unfamiliar words that I can’t define…I look them up on my Dictionary app and learn their meaning. Call it curiosity. Each word a bibelot to add to my cache.

I shared my Dictionary app with my sister. She’s an educator, with a master’s degree. Smart as a whip. I knew she’d like my little discovery. So now, just after the “ping” on my phone declaring the “word of the day,” I get a text from my sister. She uses the new word in a sentence and sends it to me. Who knew a fascination with words could tighten a bond between sisters? Maybe the bigger question is, who knew that my infatuation with words that ferhoodle, would contribute to my yogic life?

For instance, sang-froid. Sang-froid is of French origin and means coolness of mind; calmness; composure. I consider sang-froid to be a very viable benefit to practicing yoga. And what about pandiculation? Yoga is all about stretching oneself. Working out the kinks. Waking up the body as in pandiculation.

I recently used the word galumph during a yoga class. As the students arrived on the beach, one of our regulars mentioned how tired and unmotivated she felt as she plopped on her mat. I assured her that yoga practice would help alleviate the galumph she felt. Because yogic movement is the opposite of moving about heavily or clumsily. A body practiced in yoga is protean and light. Changeable and versatile.

Most recently I stood before my beach yoga class and asked them to work toward an irenic life. Not to be confused with an ironic attitude. Irony isn’t a bad thing. Using words or exhibiting behavior that is the opposite of what you really think can be humorous. But to act in an irenic fashion means to promote peace. Imagine the ripple effect if each day we directed our lives down the irenic path? Impenetrable borders and weapon control would be jejune news; without interest or significance. Our world would be strengthened by the amalgam of open acceptance, less judgment, and more compassion.

With each step we take toward irenic living, we improve the world we live in, and the well-being of all its inhabitants. We have the power to ameliorate our planet, and the quality of the lives it supports. But without action, it’s just words.



Laurie Kasperbauer is an active Florida Realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. Laurie also enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes.

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