First Take a Breath & Center Yourself!

Updated: September 9, 2019

When I was young, my Dad would always tell me to “think and breathe before you speak.” He was one of these very thoughtful men who never went anywhere without a book in his hand. He was all about learning, about expanding our view of the world, and he was all about being grounded and centered before opening one’s mouth. He spoke 14 languages fluently (although with a strong accent.) He taught me words were everything, and even more to listen deeply beyond the surface to what is not said too.

I, on the other hand—rebellious, reactive, noisy, always challenging everything asking “Why?” and not giving much credit to his love of clear focus and being discerning with one’s words. 

He’d remind me, “Be careful once you say that because you can’t take those words back.” 

This week, in particular, I’ve made a commitment to do that. Think and breathe before I speak. But that actually doesn’t work (sorry dad) because it’s backward. Breathe first, think after—then speak! 

Let me break it down for you. If you’re in a stress response—you’ve activated your fight/ flight part of the brain and the thinking mind goes buh-bye. You can’t think. You’re on patrol seeking potential threats because you’ve been exposed to something that pushes the trigger button. There’s a spectrum too—from mild—where you are in low-grade stress and you’re constantly managing your surroundings—to high where you feel threatened (happens a lot on social media) that triggers past memories stored in the body, that then triggers behaviors and survival techniques you may not even know you have. So you act out of fear and cause more difficulties for yourself and others because you’ve also kicked an invisible hornet’s’ nest and it takes a beat to calm down for the buzzing to move on. 

You can’t think until you step back and breathe. 

So restraint of tongue and pen and keyboard (especially keyboard these days) is a necessary step. Deep breathing, even if only 10 times, can calm the nervous system down and restore your capacity to think. I learned from a dear friend to “put a pin in it,” knowing that whatever is there can be responded to if I could take a beat and breathe, and if it’s not important to address right now—it can wait until the rational mind and calmer emotions come back online.

Embarrassing to admit, Chicken Little still wakes up in me before I can breathe, and can cause quite a kerfuffle. The trick is to know your triggers and to do your best, be ok that you might not get it right every time, but you can turn it around quicker every time something comes up that turns on the stress response.

I’ve had to work on this one a lot lately, but choosing to breathe with focus before speaking/writing/acting is an amazing way to shift. Then, decide what you really want to say.

Breathe deeply until you feel that sense of coming back into your body—then you can think—then you can be kind, firm, expressive, assertive, creative, curious, open, receptive, strong, perceptive, intuitive, loving, etc. 

The other way—the reactive triggered way is fearful, angry, defensive, aggressive, hostile, closed, righteous, obsessive, indignant—all the way to hate. 

So which door will you step in, and from what place will you share? I think I am going to practice “breathe and put a pin in it” and pick the first batch. You?

I’d love to hear how you shifted and what happened as a result of breathing before speaking. Do you see the difference? I bet more good comes out of it than you expected. It has for me. 

Lots of love until next week! 


Showing 21 comments
  • Annemarie

    Great read, as I have just recently connected some dots and triggers about myself. Thanks

    • Dorothy

      I chose card 2 and it really did make an accurate predictionto what I need to do! Thank you so much!

    • Sharon

      This is a wonderful lesson to learn. I actually learned it when being involved in Oracle School last year, and it has served me well, especially recently. My mother passed away in the last 3 weeks, and before then we had many talks about end of life and what she wanted. So when the time came, she put me in charge of everything (funeral arrangements, will, etc.) because she knew that I would take care of everything and respect her wishes. My youngest brother however did not see it that way and proceeded to try to pick a fight with me at every turn, calling me controlling and manipulative. None of my other siblings had a problem with what I did. So rather than engage in his combative behavior and say something I might regret later, I stopped, took a deep breath, and thought, “What would mom expect of me?” The answer was easy because she wouldn’t want any of us fighting during this sad time. So I very nicely told him this was not the time or place and if he wanted to have a conversation about why I did what I did, we can talk later. Mind you, this was a pretty incredible feat as our family members have always had very hot tempers (including me) and burying my mom was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But since I have learned just how damaging words can be, I have worked very hard on breathing and thinking carefully before I speak. Of course, talking to God through my WOTO or Goddess Power decks have been priceless in helping me stay the course. So I have returned to Oracle School again for a refresher.

      • Sarita

        Thank you for sharing this, i have been aware just recently of my triggers, and now i have something to use in these situations, blessings to you Colette for who you are. 💚🙏

  • Brigitte

    My youngest daughter tells her children to “smell the flower and blow out the candle”.
    I love the metaphor and the image of a flower now automatically appears to remind me to breathe. Somehow the breathing combined with the image, and scent of the flower brings me joy and realigns me for my highest.
    Somehow the breathing out happens naturally in order to smell the flower again so I dispense with blowing out a candle.
    With Love, Joy & Light
    And many many thanks to you Colette

    • Mary

      So true thank you for the reminder of the loose tongue without breath or love♥️

  • Kathryn

    So true. I always felt I was on trial when my husband & I had a “discussion”. This really triggered my defense mechanism & I reacted & cried as he verbally bullied me with his loud voice & I was left frozen. Deep inside I knew there was love all around us & I took it upon myself to work on my reactions. It took a lot of practice but I finally am able to state my truth, express my needs & have a boundary. He has changed to & listens & hears what I say in a responsive tone. Breathing really helped me stay calm & figure out the best way to respond & sometimes it was to say nothing at all. It’s funny how when you work on yourself the stuff around you responds differently too. Love you Colette!

  • Dana Hauser

    I kept hearing the number 3 and of course it was Yin. I had drawn it this morning as well!…Spirit knows I can go from 0- 100 in a flash…the “old” me has a tendency to try and control everything and stress about it. This message encourages me to slow down. Breathe, meditate and receive before jumping right in to fix, solve, and talk. Beautiful, and spot on for me as we begin Oracle School💫🙏🏻

  • Andrea

    My thoughts before seeing the weekly video seem to reflect the cards this week:
    It’s all about Preparedness, Detachment, Flow [Poised/Breath/Yin]. Be ready to respond respectfully, say no more in the heat of the moment, and be open to further perception.
    Anchor card: All that Glitters: go beyond the superficial

  • Mary

    Thank you great read. I Have tended to react first and think later and then feel bad or need to appologize.I am slowly learning to bite my tongue until I am calmer and thinking straight. Getting better but I need to keep working on this

  • Cynthia Eyer

    My mind is hyper vigilant, so I have to tell my mind and body to breathe deep a few times and center myself, seeking within my why and sense of reality (which is almost always an illusion). I have been focusing on how to respond with more of a “Is this kind, is it truthful, and is it for the greater good of all involved?” If even one is not applicable, I go back to step one and breathe, perhaps coming to the realization that my silence is the best response. That isn’t always easy. So I’m also practicing non-attachment. With so many things to put my mind on, I can see how it doesn’t leave much room for the spoken word. I guess that’s Spirit’s point–to put the focus back on myself and ask the question “Why.”
    Much Love Milady! May the Light of Peace, Love, and Joy be who we are.

  • Sandy

    OMG! This is here in perfect timing for me!! Thank you! I am working hard at Breathing and slowing down my actions! Trying hard to be a better listener, stop interrupting thinking I know what was going to be said!!! So very RUDE also. Learning to meditate and slow my crazy fast mind down and to just Be! I am 59 years old and have learned I am enough just the way I am!! I truly LOVE every part of me! I seen you at CYL Phoenix Az in 2016…… I have followed you since, Love your cards and am learning how to use them, even have gave friends readings!!! Thank you for everything you do……
    much Love, Sandy

  • Kathryn

    Oh your back yard is beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  • Eve

    Oh my goodness this resonates beautifully with me today!

  • Janet

    Thank you for the tip!! I didn’t see my Moon sign. Is it the same as my Sun sign as there was not a separate one?

  • debi

    LOVE this!!!! I taught my kids as they were growing up: Words are like toothpaste. Once they’re out… you can’t put them back!” That analogy works great with kids (and probably some grown ups too!)

    I’ve learned the feeling of when I’m BEGINNING to be triggered, and I try to almost always, step away… so that I can be conscious of deep breathing before I just react. It’s changed my life! Just wish I had learned it 40 years ago haha.

  • Renee Sugar

    Thank you Colette;
    Always a reason for a certain topic chosen each week. I will take note.
    I remember some simple words I learned while attending Al-Anon in my 20’s.
    Is it kind? Is it true? Is it necessary? How important is it? As someone who is usually the ” strong silent type”, I have learned what a gift this can truly be. I am a very active listener, and because I hear behind the words, it helps me to be present, and to sometimes not say anything. It also helps me to be a more understanding, and compassionate person to hear someone else’s side of the situation. Having allowed the space for another to voice their concerns, or opinions is one way to diffuse the reactive energy and not to feed into it. When someone feels truly heard it can really change the dynamics. When I think of the escalation in gun violence in our city, imagine taking a moment to step back before taking an irreversible action that could have consequences that will alter the course of someones’ life and could prevent an unnecessary death.
    I used to be a very harsh critic mostly toward myself. Today I value my peace of mind, so “taking a breather” allows for some situations to be resolved without tension, and competition.

  • Diana Davis

    Thanks for your article. It is true that we must step back from situations that makes you want to be like a dragon with fire sputting out of the mouth.
    Things of late has had me on the edge and I have had to keep my mouth shut so that I don’t make things worse for myself.

  • Brena

    Thank you great guidance, I do this more now than I ever did however we do need a shake up now and again to ground myself

  • Lin d Miller

    Working on remembering to follow my breath this week. Thank you for the reminder, Lovely Collette🌺

  • Anonymous

    i love you cal your wee pouch little kisses…bisou

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