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4 Steps To Wisdom

August 27, 2014

. Pause

. Breathe

. Drop Your Story

. Soften

I encourage my clients to put these phrases on an index card and carry them with them.  And as crazy as this may sound, I suggest that they chant them, over and over (lol silently to themselves) when they’re not stressed, when they don’t need them.  Pause…breathe…drop your story…soften.

My basic instruction is to chant and practice them until they take on a rhythm and a personality and become a natural and automatic response to whatever stressor is showing up in their life.  Pause…breathe…drop your story…soften.  It’s a powerful intervention that literally only takes a couple seconds once it’s a habit.

Practice so that when a stressor does show up (and you’ll know it’s there because you’ll freeze, or you’ll be ready to fight or take flight),  you’ll have a response that will serve you.  This intervention has at times saved me from myself, and has most certainly had a positive impact on some of my most important relationships.  In head out mouth stopped working for me when I was around 10.

PAUSE means just that.  Stop whatever you’re doing so that you can check in with yourself before your next action.

BREATHE – put your attention on one breath which will ground and center you enough to then notice what you’re thinking.

DROP YOUR STORY – whatever you’re thinking, drop it.  Painful, proud, sad, happy, resentful…drop it and bring your attention to your body, and

SOFTEN – drop your shoulders, relax your belly, relax your jaw, relax anything that is tight and tense and closed.

Once you’ve gone through those four steps the magic happens.

When I soften at step four I know what to do.  It’s crazy.  Where a moment before I had nothing (which is what we have when we’re on automatic pilot and shut down), once I’ve gotten through the fourth step I’m in touch with my heart, and with the inherent wisdom that’s in all of us.  I know what to do.  And sometimes it’s as simple as doing absolutely nothing.  Sometimes it’s knowing, or saying, or feeling something I’ve not allowed myself to know, say or feel.

I never know what will show up until I do it.  But it’s always more loving and helpful than any reaction I have from automatic pilot.  Please share your reactions and thoughts in a comment.

Much love,


  1. Chris says:

    You keep my mind moving
    Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, “The flag moves.” The other said, “The wind moves.” They argued back and forth but could not agree.
    The Sixth Ancestor said, “Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves.” The two monks were struck with awe.

  2. Dick says:

    Robyn, this struck me as similar to Bill W.’s suggestion, “As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action.”

  3. suzy says:

    Love this! So near & dear to my heart! Said to me over 5 years ago & still use it today. Not ALLl the time but getting better at it lol. It has made me a better friend, daughter, & most importantly a better mother.. it allows me to detatch from the negative energy & thoughts & allows for the positive to come in… Still so meaningful as the first time I heard & practiced it!

    • Robyn says:

      Thanks so much! And I’m with you – I don’t always remember but when I do the world around me seems to change.

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