Using Words to Shift Perspective: Getting Hip
By Maya Talisman Frost
Jan 1, 2006 - 8:04:00 AM

Diane is one of my favorite clients.

A warm and engaging woman, she is a loving grandmother and a talented painter. We worked, think of it as playing really, together a while back to help her reignite her creative energy after a major move.

Diane was scheduled for hip replacement surgery recently, and she sent me a little note saying she was looking at it as an opportunity for greater mindfulness.

Do you see why I love her?

One benefit of mindfulness is an increase in our ability to shift our perspective. I wrote recently about an inspiring group of women breast cancer survivors��ubbing themselves the "Golden Mammaries��who use the word ��emory��as their cue to shift their minds in a new direction.

Whenever they hear the word ��emory��they mentally replace it with ��ammary��as in Ū have happy mammaries of that time��or ŵhanks for the mammaries.�� It�� a seemingly silly way to take a word that has become loaded with images of pain, fear and anger and overlay it with new, happier connections.

It has a way of making you grin. Happy mammaries? Now, there's a perky mental image! Think of a pair of smiley faces. How uplifting!

It works remarkably well. Connecting words that have acquired any kind of negative connotation with ones that are more benign (or vice versa) is a powerful way to develop greater linguistic intelligence while enhancing mindfulness.

Diane knows what's hip. She�� an artist, remember. But ��ip��now conjures memories of limping, pain, surgery, and worries about getting older.


So, I offered this mindfulness trigger as a healing hip tip for Diane:
Replace the word ��ip��in your mind with the swingin��version of hip. Picture yourself swaggering with confidence and non-stop style. When you think about having your hip bone replaced, consider it an infusion of panache and wild creativity! You are literally having your ��ipness��replaced with a sparkling new version guaranteed to help you go, go, go for many years.

Well, Diane was delighted with this assignment, and looked forward to shifting her perspective��nd boosting her awareness��y switching to this hipper than hip definition.

You can do the same thing.

Pay attention to a word that makes you grimace, or one that sends a little ripple of despair through your body. It could be weight, or life, or headline, or honey. Choose to notice that word whenever you hear it, and watch the ways you respond to it.

Recognize and replace your personal angst-inducing word with one that creates a sense of calm and offers a blast of confidence and humor.

Get hip to the words that worry you, and start seeing them as welcome opportunities to swagger!

Maya Talisman Frost
Maya Talisman Frost is a mind masseuse. As a teacher, writer, facilitator and mediator, she has inspired thinkers in over 70 countries around the world. To learn more, visit

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