Finding Strength Within Vulnerability
The concept to 'Let go' for me is a tough one. I can let go in the sense of giving in to the moment, resting, allowing myself to be flexible and go with the flow. However when it comes to allowing myself to let go of negative thoughts, worries that keep resurfacing or tough situations, I continue to hold on. I push the surrounding emotions and feelings deep and keep things hidden because I feel resistant to exposing my deeper emotional side and to trust that I can keep it all in control.
How many of us feel like this? We live in a society where on the surface everyone else seems to have it all figured out but under the surface is usually a very different landscape. So much of our lives are lived within our minds, consumed by our thoughts and worries, dealing with stress, anxiety and life pressures. By recognizing the influence that our thoughts have on our quality of life, we can learn take back control and learn to live in the present moment by connecting to the body with the breath. The breath is an amazing tool and can be an anchor to draw us back into the body and away from the mind. We often forget that we have a body that also has it's own intelligence, beyond the mind. Our bodily functions, including our breathing, simultaneously work without our minds having to even think about it.
What the mind thinks, the body also feels. The body has it's own way of dealing with our emotions and thoughts and paying attention to our bodies through felt sense, body scan meditation and breathwork can allow us to tune into what our bodies are actually feeling. We can work with the breath to bring us back into the body, but we can also work with the breath to delve deeper within the layers of our bodies to see what stress, emotions or past traumas are being held underneath. Through breathwork we can then learn to breathe into these situations and decide what we want to process and what we are ready to bring to the surface and maybe be able to let go of.
I personally keep my guard up as a self preservation method, especially around my illness. It's an emotional armour which I rarely take off in front of others and my guard is the hardest thing for me to let go of. This is something which I have only really just started to accept within myself and the work which I am doing as a breathwork facilitator trainee is really making me see a lot of new things about myself that I maybe hadn't allowed myself to see before.
I read recently in And Breathe by Rebecca Dennis, “Emotion is energy in motion,” Rebecca explains that emotions should simply be seen as energy rather than good or bad. I believe this and its really helping me to see things differently with trying to let go of some of my own emotions.
Breathing into Emotion
This seemed like a perfect place to start with my first ever 121 breathwork session which was with my wonderful mentor from my breathwork training, Daisy. Prior to the session, I told her that letting go and connecting on an emotional level was hard for me and actually something which I felt I needed especially this week, as we get towards the end of the year, I am feeling pretty tired and need to let go and put some stuff down - a surrender.
We discussed what emotions feel like within my body, where I feel them and how they make my breath feel. I cannot believe I have never really thought or connected so clearly to these points before but as I was explaining the need to push things down, I could already feel the sensations which I was describing within my body. Heavy upper chest, my throat was starting to lock, shoulders and neck tightening. The way I explained it was that it was my body's response to my mind, which is resisting the energy in motion and trying to suppress it. I've realised I choose to hold it all together because I'm afraid of what will happen if it (whatever it is) all comes to the surface. How will I deal with it? what will it look like? Do I really want to see or feel it?
Daisy has the most wonderfully gentle, kind and powerful presence as a facilitator, she holds the space beautifully, allowing me to feel safe and held. She reassured me throughout that it was ok to breathe into the feeling and sensations. This conscious connected breathwork session was incredibly powerful from the get go. My breath felt tight especially at the top my inhalation and the bottom of my exhalation, creating a physical shudder which I have never experienced before. I decided to let go of the control and just keep breathing into it with trust. As I started to work deeper into this with Daisy's gentle words of encouragement, I breathed through that resistance within the breath and could feel that energetic shift within my body. The tears came, not sad, not happy, just releasing tears. Then laughter and my breath and body felt completely reset, spacious and without any effort. A wave of calm swept over me once everything started to settle.
Along with Daisy's calming words of guidance and encouragement, I was holding onto that quote "emotions are energy in motion" during the breathwork session because it helped me to find some freedom and not be fearful of the outcome in letting this energy surface.
The energy in motion, I realise is also the rhythm of the breath, within us all, like waves. When we breathe into the emotions we can choose to ride these waves or let them swallow us up. I'm realising now, that's where the strength is! Thats where the hardest work has to be done. Not in the control and pushing it all down, but in allowing these feelings and emotions to surface and accepting how they make me feel. Being brave in diving in deeper to myself and not sinking.
This breathwork allowed me to experience how I can safely let the emotions within me come up to the surface and understand what happens when I listen to my body on a deeper emotional level.
I am so grateful for this experience, for the depth of the breathwork, for Daisy who facilitated and held me so beautifully and also towards myself for letting myself move into the scary places, gaining confidence and trust within this process.
Being a breathwork facilitator trainee, I have been thinking about this recently and in order to be able to learn on a deeper level, how to facilitate and essentially hold others through breathwork, I myself need to be able to allow myself to be open during times when I am feeling vulnerable. Open to let in whatever I am feeling to come to light, acknowledge it and let it go when it feels right!
This journey is testing me but for all the right reasons! I cannot wait to be in a position to be able to hold space on this depth and level for others when working with their own breath.