Zip the Lip

Sometimes It's Better to Breathe than to Speak

Wouldya keep your mouth shut?

One of the best things I’ve learned about how to make my day run smoother is to get some space between what my brain wants to sputter and what I know my mouth should speak. Ahhh. The one moment of waiting, taking a breath, asking myself, “Is this kind, helpful and necessary?” before I speak.

It’s not always easy. In fact, it’s one of the toughest things in the world. I have to pause and ask myself, “Does it have to be said? Does it have to be said by me? Does it have to be said now?”

Making the next chapter of my life the best chapter sometimes means a lot of quiet. Not vengeful quiet, not fuming “I’m going to show you” quiet, not quiet filled with scorn that is perversely satisfying. Just a smooth, still, serene quiet even when I want to scream.

That’s discipline. That’s harder for me than running 10 miles. That’s will-power. But that’s what keeps me happy and therefore, those around me happy.

Just for today I’ll practice taking a deep breath before I speak.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a freelance reporter for The Jerusalem Post, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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