These days I am utilizing my breathing a lot.
For many years I have been using my exhalation as a way of letting go. “Letting go” can be such a difficult thing to do – letting go of emotions, reactions, pain, people, the past – so hard! It seems that when we are deep in the thick of those feelings, if someone tells us, “Just let it go,” then what we are actually apt to do is to hold on more tightly! Struggling with attachment is normal, that’s why I often recommend to my students to instead try to breathe out. Breathing out itself is an act of letting go. Just breathe out a long gentle exhale through the mouth, and continue to do so until your mind returns to stillness.
And nowadays, I have become very interested in my inhale. I don’t mean a huge, strained, gasping-for-air inhale. I simply mean that when difficult thoughts, emotions, feelings and situations are taking place in life, I try to actually breathe in to them. I have discovered that if breathing out is an act of letting go, then breathing in is an act of ACCEPTANCE. Breathe in and lean into the feeling. Don’t fight it, don’t judge it, don’t blame it, don’t hate it and DON’T try to run away from it! Just breathe in and fully try to feel it. Feel it 100% – no matter what it is. I know that this is not easy, but when you can truly do it, you find that the feeling begins to dissolve like mist in the morning sun. It’s a great exercise for keeping you present and facing your issues, instead of hiding from them because, as we all know, they only get worse and manifest in more ugly ways later on.
Also, it’s not easy to “accept” our pain. If you are in the middle of deep heartache or struggle and someone says, “Just try to accept,” then you may have a knee-jerk reaction to reject that idea altogether. You might think, “If I could accept, I would!!” That’s why, I want to say, don’t try to consciously accept. It is highly likely that your ego will not let you get off that easily 🙂 . Instead, just try to breathe. Breathe in and completely feel the feeling. Embrace it. Lean into it. That is your way of naturally telling it, “Ok, I allow myself to feel you.” And this leads naturally to a sense of acceptance. When we feel the feeling of acceptance in our bodies, it is extraordinarily calming and healing. It comes with a wonderful sense of peace.
This breathing exercise has been a great way for me to practice shifting my perspective and having a new experience with all of my moments. The so-called bad moments, and the so-called good ones as well. I breathe in and feel the feeling of the moment completely. I enjoy the sensation of feeling all of me. And it seems to me that my body loves to receive this attention from me! My energy gathers, and as I continue with it, I begin to feel full and bright. Then, as I breathe out, I gently relax. Through relaxing, I let all of the feelings be as they are, and a letting go of all of my reactions to my feelings takes place automatically.
Is this easy to do? No. Absolutely not. It requires constant practice. Do I forget often? Of course. And then I remind myself and begin again and again and again. Isn’t this what life is all about? Try, try again, practice, stumble, fall down, get up, try, try again, get better, and breathe your way through it all! That’s the best news: There’s nothing that you CANNOT breathe into! It’s a wonderful tool for your self-healing tool bag. Give it a try 🙂