Alison Braithwaite - Words are powerful; embrace the messiness of our lives.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

October 24th, 2018



The Gazette met Alison Braithwaite a number of years ago when she was in the private sector. She had this capacity to pick a point in a conversation when she could shift the direction a conversation with a few words.

I wondered about how she had done that for some time after the coffee meeting we had.

Alison Braithwaite -

Alison Braithwaite –

“Words powerfully manifest our lives

“Words are powerful. The words we choose to use influence what we manifest in our lives and how we feel in our bodies. This week, I was speaking to someone who is very special to me. She was talking about her life and some of the challenges that she is facing at the moment. What I heard her saying was: “I am in a fight with this. I am fighting that. I need to fight this other thing.” For her, in this moment, everything seems to be a battle.

“The words we choose affect our bodies

“What I observed in her body as she spoke was how she tensed up as she spoke. The more she spoke of her fights, the more her body tensed up. It was like her body was preparing for battle and getting ready to ward off the missiles being launched her way. I could see the energy she was using just thinking of the battle.

“Let go of the fight

“The metaphor of war is used a lot in our culture. It seems that we, for whatever reason, always need an enemy. We battle the bulge, we battle drugs, we battle cancer and mental health issues. This battling an enemy becomes a big problem when the enemy we are battling is a part of ourselves.
“Shift the metaphor

“We need to shift our metaphors. The metaphor I like to use is that of a kayaker, skillfully navigating white-water. We all have white-water in our lives at times, fighting the water is not going to get us through it.

Reading the water, feeling the water, dancing with the water and skillfully navigating through it works much better.

“Embrace the messiness

Alison Braithwaite logo“A kayaker does not run from the messiness of the whitewater, she sees it, recognizes it, accepts it and moves through it. There is no fight there. Her body becomes as fluid as the water as she chooses her path, navigates her way through and celebrates with euphoria when she is through the tough parts.
“Let’s embrace the messiness of our lives. Accept it without fighting and navigate our way through.”

Questions for self-reflection

1. Over the next week start to notice the words you use. You may want to get some help with this. It is always easier to notice what someone else is saying than hearing what we say ourselves.

2. Notice what metaphors you are using. Are you struggling, fighting, stuck, challenged or moving through things?

3. How is the language you choose limiting or expanding you?

4. What shifts could you make to use more empowering and expansive language?
Remember, you are amazing, you are capable, you are skillfully navigating through life and that is worth celebrating every step of the way.

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