Author Archives: Janet

About Janet

Dr. Janet Smith Warfield serves wisdom-seekers who want understanding and clarity so they can live peaceful, powerful, prosperous lives. Through her unique combination of holistic, creative, right-brain transformational experiences and 22 years of rigorous, left-brain law practice, she has learned how to sculpt words in atypical ways to shift her listeners into experiences beyond words, transforming turmoil into inner peace. Janet lives in Sarasota, Florida. For more information, go to www.wordsculptures.com, www.janetsmithwarfield.com, and www.wordsculpturespublishing.com.

Fear and Honesty

The municipal officials looked just like little Hitlers as they strutted into the hearing room. They refused to look at us. The first one on the stand stated my client should camp out in his tenants’ yard to make sure the tenants behaved.

I can’t say I felt fear before the hearing, but I did feel tension. I was not primarily a litigator, this was not my usual territory, and I wasn’t familiar with the procedures or personalities of that particular municipality before I stepped into the hearing room.

I had, however, prepared both law and facts thoroughly. As the hearing progressed, it became obvious that the municipal officials were familiar with neither.

I knew the police chief’s list of violations was inconsistent with the notices he had sent my client. After he haughtily read his opening testimony listing all the violations of which my client was guilty, I simply asked him to show me where my client had received notice of the violations. He spent a full two minutes looking through his file. Every eye in the hearing room was on him.

Both my client and I sat respectfully silent while he looked, but we were both chuckling inside. Finally, he had to admit on the record that my client had never received notice. The police chief’s arrogance suddenly evaporated.

The Code Enforcement Official, hands trembling, testified that the last time he had viewed my client’s property was over four months ago. He nevertheless adamantly stated that the property did not meet the Code requirements as of the hearing date. Did I hear that right?

When I asked him how he could possibly testify that my client’s property didn’t meet Code requirements today when he hadn’t viewed it for four months, he backed down, retracted his statement, and suddenly started testifying honestly. Interestingly enough, his hands also stopped shaking.

When Are Words Dangerous?

The biggest danger with words is self-righteousness. Often, without even realizing it, we grab hold of someone else’s words and repeat them, massage them, exaggerate them, and argue for or against them. We do this without any direct experience with which to give the words meaning. We manipulate these words in our heads without making any experiential or emotional connection with what we are saying. All we are working with are the learned emotional connections that are triggered by the words themselves or by whether we like or dislike a particular speaker. Whenever we do this, we are functioning entirely in our heads and subconscious emotions. Our words are not grounded in the awareness of our own personal experience and choice.

How many of us take the nightly news as gospel when we haven’t personally experienced Iraq or Afghanistan? Have we personally experienced the many different nuances that play out in those countries in every single moment in every single life? Have we even stopped to consider how distorted and limited the view of a single reporter may be? Yet, many of us accept the words of others as truth without thinking further.