The Practice of Renaming & Finding Words That Let You Breathe Again

Everyone is saying it’s a weird world we’re living in right now. I can only nod my head in agreement.

The caution tape wrapped around the playgrounds resembles a crime scene.

The daily death tolls tick in the back of my mind as I hear of fellow humans losing the fight with the incurable.

Masks cover once friendly smiles making us all look like we’re all preparing for a visit to the ER.

Everyone is possibly infected, so we pass by on the other side.

I even had a series of silly Corona nightmares- hordes of people in my home and strangers trying to hug me.

“We’re closed” signs are taped up on restaurant windows and business doors and the world feels like it too is closing down.

Every morning I shuffle to my kitchen surprised to see our little world still going ‘round and ‘round and the birds chirping the tune I need to learn.

There’s no buzz from the traffic flying by on our once busy street, and now I’m wishing I hadn’t complained about the cars a couple of weeks ago.

Do the geese flying overhead even have a new social distancing formation?

I’m channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder, and kicking myself for not learning how to can beans last summer. The vegetable garden feels more like a necessity for survival rather than a fun summer hobby.

I find myself researching how women survived the Great Depression and tuck away mental notes on their frugal living. If they can do it, I can do it.


What strange times, we all say.

And I find myself searching for new words. As it’s been said before, words create worlds. And I need words to rename and reframe what is actually happening.

So, I started with the thesaurus and glanced over the synonyms for weird.

Bizarre, strange, awkward, unnatural, strange, kooky, freaky, and eerie.

And then, there it was. A word that fit snugly into my heart and called me toward hope and helped to root out anxiety, seeing beyond the surface and the scramble.

The synonym was magical or, if taken another step, enchanted.

You could call this whole thing weird or you could declare life as enchanted, you choose. The second offers us a change of perspective, an alternate passage through some of our more bizarre experiences.


I admit, as an adult, it comes easier for me to call life freaky or awkward before I’d ever give it the title enchanted or magical. It just proves how much my lenses have changed for the worst. Perhaps, our sight is the reason why so many of us are tempted to throw in the towel with life- we’re content with our less than perfect vision.  

Children, of course, don’t need a reminder to look again at the world, their eyes are fresh and fascination comes first.  

My kids are delighted by a cup of strawberry tea or the sight of grass sprouting up from a can of dirt.

They are spell bound by a speck of a flower seed or a potato bug.

They are impressed with a still warm egg from the chicken coop, a rotting log, or the big dipper.

Children need no help with seeing what is. We do.

We rub the morning crust from our eyes but still can’t figure out how to awaken with expectancy and eagerness. We feel dull and life feels draining, and sometimes we drag ourselves through the day.

How do we see like we once did?


I think it starts, as all change does, by admitting that perhaps our sight has become a tad fuzzy.

Maybe we’re not actually seeing the whole picture?   

Could we exercise curiosity – Perhaps there is more here than meets my eyes right now?

And then, this is where we can set to work renaming, and thus reframing, our reality because maybe, just maybe, what we’re seeing is only a tiny glimpse.


Here are a few heavy words I’ve been overhearing lately, and consequently I’m choosing to rename because they feel tight, constricting, and not the full story. Again, to be clear, I am not denying reality or the seriousness of the situation…

I’m only wanting to see life from another angle, a different vantage point, to zoom out for a fuller picture.

What if unprecedented times became an extraordinary season.

A crisis became a shift.

A global pandemic became inclusive love.


Isolation…peace and quiet.




Economic decline…slowness.  

Do you feel it like I do? Just a slight tweak, a tiny adjustment to my position and already I can breathe deeply again.

Perhaps this is a practice you can do for a few different scenarios in your own life.

Try on some other words with the help of the thesaurus and see if they fit better and allow you to move more freely, giving you space to stretch and grow and travel beyond your little corner of the world.  

As always, I love hearing from you! Please slip a message in my inbox or leave a comment with your new word(s) and how it feels and what you see from another standpoint!

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