Since releasing the Peace EP in April 2013, I’ve been consciously working on cultivating a mindful relationship with the intentions behind my actions. Over the course of my last month at Cabin Fever, I decided to do a simple experiment:
I cleaned, rinsed and filled two jars with a cup of water and a tablespoon of chia seeds each, then sealed them both with a lid. On one jar, I drew a heart and a smiley face and spoke sweetly to it. I often mentioned how nice and happy it was looking and and generally held it in high regard. On the other jar, I drew a frown face with x’s for eyes and the word “die” on it. I said awful things to this jar, things I would cringe to say to another person and do not wish to repeat. While sitting at my workstation, I would often look at the jars on the sill and smile at the love jar, while casting glares at the hate jar.
After 30 days passed, as I was packing up my studio in preparation of heading back to civilization, I decided to open the jars and snap a photo of each one:
Sight: Thin layer of coalesced chia seeds floating on top of the water, a few green sprouts here and there. Slight film on top of water.
Smell: Sickly sweet, almost like a sugar-y / fermenting alcohol smell. Not exactly pleasant, but not offensive either. Kinda like the last sip of a microbrew left in a bottle overnight.
Sight: Nearly all seeds were sunk to the bottom of the water. Slight film on the top of the water, appears to be devoid of life, no signs of sprouting.
Smell: Made me gag, smelled sickly of sulfur. Still fills my mouth with a terrible taste as I think back while writing this blog post a day later.
I’m aware this isn’t a perfectly executed experiment, and rather than do the experiment again on my own, I figured I’d encourage you to do it for yourself and share your findings with me. It’s simple and only takes a few minutes of effort. Use different seeds. Use different jars. Use a control jar that receives no attention whatsoever. Maybe try it with two of the same plants and speak to the water you feed them. Get creative. Be intentional. Based on the past year of my life, I have come to believe the intention behind the words we speak to each other can have a very real and profound effect on our lives. Something as simple as a “great work” or “I noticed your effort” or “thank you” or “I love you” can help us grow and thrive, while something as seemingly innocuous as “you’re stupid” or “you look ugly” or “what a piece of shit” can have real consequences beyond the initial sneer and spiteful laugh.
I know what my intentions were in speaking to these jars and I see night and day in these two photos. Perhaps you see intriguing evidence, perhaps you see a poorly controlled second grade science experiment. I’ve seen the effects of intention in my life, in both positive and negative light. What have you professed with intent to make someone feel good? What have you uttered with intent to make someone feel bad? Is there anyone alive undeserving of love? Are there people out there who deserve to be the target of hate? I don’t really expect answers, I’m just intending to make you intuit the next perfunctory string of aural symbols you encounter on this current trip around the sun.