what happens when you add breath to fear?
*First published via email on Thursday, April 4, 2019. Click here to subscribe.
How are you?
Yesterday, I was on a group video coaching call leading everyone through a meditation. One of the ladies had mentioned that she's on a momentum upswing right now and feeling that familiar tug of worry of what if - "What if I lose this momentum?"
So I had everyone slow down their bodies, close their eyes, and imagine breathing deep into their bellies.
When I'm leading meditations, once I see that everyone has their eyes closed, I usually look off into the distance in order to easefully channel whatever needs to come through for the group.
But yesterday, I decided keep my eyes on the screen for the most part.
As I asked everyone to draw up their worst case scenario in their minds and feel how and where their fear and anxiety sits in their bodies, something very interesting happened.
On the screen, I could see each women sitting with their eyes closed. And I could see their chests rising and falling.
For most of them, I started seeing their chests rising and falling more rapidly and in shorter bursts. This tells me they are breathing quite shallowly. And shallow breathing is the body's manifestation of fearful thoughts and emotions.
I asked everyone to sit in this space for a little bit and just notice the thoughts in their mind, the emotions they are feeling (aka putting names to them), and what their bodies are doing in response.
Shallow breathing continues.
Then I asked them to imagine breathing into wherever their anxiety and fear are coming from, I could see some of them struggling to deepen their breath, even though they were perfectly capable of doing so at the beginning of the meditation.
And in this moment, I sent each and every single woman a huge burst of love and gratitude for showing me and reminding me just how powerful the mind and the breath truly are.
We can change the way our bodies move with just the way we think and feel.
When we are feeling fear and anxiety, our body responds with shallower breathing. When we are feeling expansive love and joy, we deepen our breath. And vice versa!
After a couple of minutes of breathing into their fear, I could see smiles start to spread on the screen as each woman successfully deepened her breath again. Some women had instinctively put their hands on their chest or on their diaphragm (solar plexus) as well.
After I brought them out of the meditation, each woman reported how surprised she was to notice how quickly her body changed with just a thought experiment (thinking of the worst case scenario = shallow breathing) AND how quickly her mind changed with a body experiment (breathing into fear = peace).
All of them reported feeling like they could breathe even deeper than they could before the meditation!
And it's not that after just a quick 10 minute meditation, they were able to completely dissolve their fears and worries.
Those were still there. The difference was that they could notice them as separate parts of themselves now. They weren't so attached to them.
For the woman who was afraid of a downswing in momentum, she realized that life is cyclical and downswings are inevitable. Instead of feeling frustrated and disappointed in herself like she normally would have whenever a downswing happened, she realized she needed and wanted to ALLOW herself to feel inner peace and joy! And as long as she allowed herself that much, there wasn't anything to fear.
I think this inner peace is truly what all of us want. With coaching being popularized these days, we think we need to "get rid of" our fears and worries and, my favorite, "blocks."
But like it or not, our fears, worries, and perceived blocks are a part of our very human existence. They will always be there. They are the manifestations of the ego, and the ego is a part of each and every single human being. She's our protectress.
When you get rid of block, you'll grow, and before long, another one (or few) will crop up. And instead of feeling disappointed in ourselves like many of us have been taught to do, we can choose to feel peace in the process instead.
What do you think? What are you currently worried about and what happens when you breath into it for just a few minutes?
PS: Is this a meditation you would be interested in listening to? Hit reply and let me know. I can make a recording of it.
Spoiler alert: Quite a few people requested this meditation so I ended up making a recording of it. It is now available for free download, and you will actually get it as a free gift right down below after subscribing and joining The Love Yourself Community. Don’t forget to enter your name and email address below!
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