on July 10, 2004
Archbishop Desmond Tutu writes, "This is a beautiful book....a gem." Neal Donald Walsch's description: "an A-Z collection of words, the origin, the meaning and the impact of which author Garner explains with just the right touch, allowing us to 'see inside' these sounds and plumb from their depths the most effective use that we can make of them." Other notables that have conferred a thumbs up recommendation for this book are Barbara Marx Hubbard, Deepak Chopra, Sir John Templeton and Marianne Williamson. I am far from a notable but agree with their enthusiastic recommendations.
Garner has collected numerous time-honored words in our language and through sleuthlike diligence has ferret out the original intent or soul of each word. Garner explains, "The words we use everyday....are the symbols or links that convey our thoughts, feelings and intentions, and contain layers of meaning and nuance that comprise each word's 'soul'. These words spring from languages and circumstances now often lost to us. Poor translation and common, human misuse have blurred the meaning and spirit of so many words and caused hurt, conflict, war and misery for scores of individuals, communities and nations."
"Competition" is one surprising example of the misuse or misunderstanding of the soul of a word. The traditional use engenders a "them" and "us" comparison--a striving to win at all cost. From this distorted view comes fear there is not enough in life to go around. Garner discloses, "Competition is derived from the Latin competere, meaning to meet the requirements, also, to seek together....[and] conveys both a need to meet standards and to do so along with others." Garner informs us, "the person that we are meant to compete against, according to the soul of the word competition, is ourselves. There is no need for 'winners' or 'lossers' when everyone is seeking together. Then everyone wins, even at so-called competitive events." The original derivation of competition not only meant to meet requirements, but to do so along with others, not to dominate, but to bring out one another's gifts. Garner offers explanation on why, as she discovered, the distorted view of competition is fostered by a desperate desire for love and approval.
Garner's unordinary background (that includes law, clinical psychology, theology, also disarmament negotiation, along with a near death experience) allows her to offer inspirational insight on each soul of word and how it impacts on us. At the end of each word's discussion/examination, Garner transposes the soul of a word into stimulating questions. Her questions gently guide readers to observe/contemplate/assess significant aspects or areas of our lives, community and world. This allows a light of understanding to enter--and the transformation/healing to begin.
Garner accomplishes her mission. She not only reveals the hidden wisdom found in the ancient souls of words, but also, through this process, "shows us how words are symbols of Divine wisdom, gifts given to assist us in recognizing our inextricable, universal connection with God and one another, transcending all ideologies."