What’s your word limit?
May 17, 2019

In her book, Answering 911, Caroline Burau says she can only tolerate so many words in a day.

Can you relate?

I can. I spent seven straight days -- long days, barely-a-quick-break-for-dinner days -- at the Biocybernaut Institute in Sedona last year, and by the end of each of them I had…no words.

The week was as intense as anything I’ve ever been through. We were learning to control our brain waves (really!), so of course it was intense. There was also a lot, and I do mean a lot, of what amounted to therapy -- healing childhood trauma. For starters. I went at the training the way I do everything I care about. All in. By early evening I was wiped. All I wanted to do at dinner was eat. Listen to the others. Not talk.

For as extroverted as I appear, I told my new friends, I’m really an introvert. I hoped they wouldn’t think I was rude. I was just spent. For that day. The next day? Chatty as ever. Until the next evening. And so it went.

It’ll be a long time before I’m able to completely process what I learned in Sedona, assuming I ever do. But one of the things I found most fascinating was a report from my trainer after still another session studying my brain waves. “You can’t abide small talk,” she said. “You just don’t have the ability.”

Which makes sense. If I’m only given so many words to absorb in a day I don’t want to waste them.

Until that moment, and with the help of some not-so-well-meaning people, I’d always thought my impatience with small talk was a character flaw. It was such a relief to realize I was wrong. It isn’t a character flaw. It’s how I’m wired. The only thing wrong with my wiring was thinking there was something wrong with my wiring!

I’ll leave it at that for now. Because (you guessed it) I’m out of words.