6/19/11 When I was about 16, our Young Women president invited her Avon lady to come speak to the girls in our ward. The message she felt prompted to share with us was, “When you live in your heart magic happens.” I remembered that phrase during a depressive time today and thought, That’s my problem: I live in my mind/thoughts rather than my heart. But how do I remedy that? I was still for a moment, and then a word came to mind.
I was intrigued . . . Could this be another power word for me? A striving, stretching, growing, sharing word for me? I had some concept of what it entailed (being generous and helpful toward others), but I wanted to go look it up. Ironically, I learned that its Latin roots are magnus (great) and animus (mind). But being magnanimous is much more than having grand thoughts. Here’s how Noah Webster defined it: “[Possessing] greatness of mind, that elevation and dignity of soul which encounters danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness and which raises the [person] above revenge and makes him delight in acts of benevolence; which makes him disdain injustice and meanness, and prompts him to sacrifice personal ease, interest and safety for the accomplishment of useful and noble objects” (An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1812). There was so much in that definition that resonated with me!
Being magnanimous today meant calling my dad to wish him a happy Fathers’ Day (rather than just thinking about it). It meant buckling down and blogging in order to share my new power word. It will mean going down to prepare a delicious dinner for my spouse to help him enjoy the remaining hours of Fathers’ Day. It may mean hiring some help soon–which would keep me from being so scattered and benefit the family as well, I feel.
Magnanimous is a noble word. Choosing to be magnanimous feels good. It is refining. I believe it has the potential to keep me living in my heart.