December 16, 2013

Soap. In. Mouth.­­­­­­­­­­­­­ ~ Theresa Pauline

As awful as soap in the mouth sounds, sometimes I deserve it.

With holiday parties in full swing and constant small talking, lets be more mindful about what we are saying.

We all know the feeling, when some horrible or unnecessary thing that, at first glance, seems important or funny, comes tumbling out of the mouth before there is time to think about it, and upon entering into the public realm… silence, horror, or a uncomfortable giggle. Uff-ta! It’s the worst!

In the good old days, literally putting soap in the mouths of children was a popular method of teaching kids to watch what they say. Since then it has gone by the wayside and is viewed as cruel. However, as swearing, gossip and other unnecessary bull-sh*t are on the rise, we do need to clean up our behaviour, and perhaps, soap would do the trick.


Patanjali’s first of five niyamas, is about being pure. It is, in one way, about clearing up our verbal communication.

Important Stuff

A good friend of mine, Faith, said, “Think about how much time we spend carefully examining what we put into our mouths, and yet are totally oblivious to what comes out of it.”

For some this statement may not resonate, but it is a poignant observation to me. I choose to have healthy people in my life, people who inspire me to be a better me. People who see the brighter side of me, and push me into fulfilling that role. I want to be the same inspiration to my friends as well. We practice daily in many areas and yet this is one area I know I sometimes slack on.

When speaking there are a two simple rules we can follow in order to ensure we aren’t polluting others with our garble. First, put in place a filter and second, learn to be ok with silence.


First, we must put a filter between our brains and our mouths.  Our minds are not the most trustworthy tools of communication, at least mine isn’t. I am a believer in the idea of ‘monkey mind’, a ceaseless rant of thoughts that jump from point to point aimlessly, occasionally drawing up emotions, that are not real, and that will pass. When they come up, and I am freely putting all my ‘monkey mind’ thoughts out into the open, free for all to hear, I could potentially cause harm to myself or to others. I know it’s ‘monkey mind’ if it is the first thought that comes into my head. For me, I should never openly state the first thing that comes into my head.

Here are some guidelines for when to speak and when to keep quiet. Answer the following questions and then proceed with care.

T: Is it Thoughtful?

H: Is it Honest?

I: Is it Inspiring?

N: Is it Necessary?

K: Is it Kind?

It is a good idea to think about these simple questions before deciding to gossip.

Sometimes it’s easy to make excuses, and rationalize why it’s okay to gossip. Sometimes people just deserve it according to out little ‘monkey minds’. But, gossiping is never okay. Never. It only tarnishes the reputation of the gossiper. It is negative talk and it isn’t necessary.

When talking to a friend about a sensitive issue we get caught up with our own opinions when, really, they don’t need to be shared. And sometimes we keep talking, even when we aren’t really that interested, but instead because we are afraid of silence.


Being ok with silence is an important quality to have. This is because being true to our own thoughts and feelings means only speaking when we actually want to share something. This may sound silly but it is amazing how often we speak to each other simply to fill empty spaces, and avoid awkwardness.

Sure, small talk can be nice, but seriously, sometimes the things we go on and on about are just empty needless words!

Osho says, “If you don’t feel like talking, don’t. Don’t say a single word that isn’t coming to you spontaneously. Don’t be worried if people think you are going crazy. If they think you have become dumb, accept it and enjoy your dumbness! The real trouble is with people who go on talking and don’t know what they are talking about and why. They go on talking because they cannot stop. In the beginning it feels as though you are losing the capacity to communicate, it is not so. In fact people talk to avoid communication. Just wait, and don’t force anything. Don’t be worried about the silence… Once you have gone deeper into silence then your words carry meaning for the first time. Then they are not just empty words, they are full of something of the beyond. They have a poetry to them, a dance.”

All I have to say to that is,

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  

Gandhi, Mahatma

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Assistant Editor: Ffion Jones / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Jennifer Moo/Flickr

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