Monday Musings…. A Great Cure for a Good Night’s Sleep
How many times have you said to yourself: If only I'd kept my mouth shut! You make a comment or you relay information, and then the wheels of regret start turning over and over in your mind. Why did I say that! It can haunt you for days, weeks, even years. Some people can brush these kinds of things off easily, but for many people it hangs on through the day and into the night.
Well, I talked a few weeks back about my hiking buddies and the one lady who was struggling with her food cravings. The cravings chair was one of her solutions, to go and sit and think about whether she really wanted that snack. She then came out with this very profound statement: Be Mindful Not Mouthful. Now while she was applying it to what she puts into her mouth, I instantly thought of how it applies to what comes out of it.
There’s the old adage that you should think before you speak, but the tongue is a difficult beast to control. Like a horse, your conversation can start off with a gentle walk. Perhaps a complaint or a slight irritation. Then, more details come forth, and you’re trotting along at a good pace. As your emotions get involved, you speed up to a conversational canter, and especially for women (if you remember from last week’s video, The Tale of Two Brains) it's easy to go off on related tangents, providing more evidence for whatever your mouth is digesting and spewing out. And lastly, you say, And, one more thing and then I’ll shut up – and by now you’re into a full gallop!
You may feel refreshed, like you’ve gotten something off of your chest, and had a good venting session, but then, the aftermath. Just like gorging yourself on some hidden food pleasure that tastes so good at the time, it doesn’t take long for your body and mind to be in payback mode. And you say to yourself: Why did I eat that? It was so not worth it? But you know, our pleasure-seeking human nature goes out and does it again and again. The same is true for what comes out of our mouths. In both instances comes the question: Why, oh why, can’t I just keep my mouth shut!
What’s the solution? The most logical choice is to remove the source of the problem. But you can’t tape your mouth shut – you’ve got to talk (and eat). You may even think that if you avoid people all together, and especially certain people, you wouldn’t fall into temptation. But you can’t remove yourself from the world entirely, (even though in Covid times, it's easier to come up with an excuse due to social isolation). Neither of those things is addressing the fundamental issue.
The answer really is to Be Mindful and Not Mouthful. Whether you believe it or not, you always do think before you speak. And those words that you regret saying, stem from a critical or negative spirit. While whatever you communicate may be factual and true, what is the real reason you're saying it? Ask yourself: Is what I’m saying going to help me but harm someone else? Am I painting someone else in a negative or judgmental light when maybe I don’t know the whole story? Am I looking for agreement for my own poor choices, and want to be validated in my excuses? Am I wasting breath sharing with someone who may then take my words and twist them as they relay what I said? Do I really need to be verbalizing what's bothering me - is it even something I should be bothered about?
Remember: once the gate is open and the horse is let loose, he’s off to the races, unless you rein him back in.
Be Mindful Not Mouthful. It’s about setting your intention, being thoughtful before speaking, and using restraint.
You all have things you want to talk about or even need to talk about. Spend time with your own thoughts first and organize them. Pray or meditate on where the thoughts are coming from and how helpful it will be to bring those thoughts into the open. If you cannot work through them, then choose wise counsel, someone who can be objective and guide you. Listen to yourself as you speak and catch yourself when your mind is asking you if you should say it or not. A great rule of thumb is to listen to that inner voice. and when in doubt, close the door of your mouth. You won’t regret what you didn’t say if you have a conscience about it. Say no more, then pray, meditate, and be mindful.
One of the best cures for insomnia is to have peace before going to bed. As you look back on the day, were you intentional in your thoughts? Did you restrain your words? When you did speak, were they words of encouragement and blessing, or words of complaint and judgment? Take note. Have no regret. Sleep well.