Breathing In to Let Go
What does September represent to you? For me, September has the quality of a big long exhale. It's that transition time when things start to slow down. There is a preparation for heading indoors. The same feels true personally. There is a shift from doing to being, from action to self-reflection.
While I love turning inward and slowing down, I also know that feelings of loneliness and depression can creep in during this time for me. These are now old and familiar (although not necessarily welcome) friends for me, who return for visits unannounced and without telling me how long they will stay. But I have worked hard over the past several years to lessen the intensity and duration of those visits. Thankfully, I have practices that help me through their stay.
They arrived early and unexpected late last week. They also had the audacity to bring their heavy baggage with them. So,I am using my wellness practices to try to name exactly what has shown up, be with it, and try to let it flow through and move on. I know. Easier said than done, right?
Emotions are energy. They don't want or need to stay unless I make it too inviting for them. They are not something to be scared of. Nor are they necessarily good or bad. They are often protectors They may be sharing that something deeper is happening. And they can get stuck if we don't listen to them and let them be felt/seen/heard. And they can start manifest in pretty awful ways if we ignore them for too long.
Meditation helps me to identify the feeling and really feel it, even when it's uncomfortable and all I want to do is run away. Instead ... eventually ... I sit with it and breathe into it. I notice where the actual feeling of loneliness is showing up in my body, what it is like. For me, it's often a tightening and heaviness in my chest and all over, a crumpled posture, and my head feels foggy.
Movement can help get me out of my head and literally shift the energy. My favorite ways are running and yoga, but sometimes I throw a random dance party for a few minutes in my kitchen just to shake it out - literally.
Nature offers wisdom as well. There is space outdoors. I realize how I am a small part of something so much larger than me and my current emotion. Nature offers perspective, calm, and peace. If you can combine movement or mindfulness with nature ... even better!
Coaching is another wellness tool. I am fortunate enough to be working with a coach, and I also had access to coaching through my coaching training (which I completed this weekend!). There is something tremendously healing from being deeply listened to and feeling seen/heard. My coach will reflect back what I'm saying and offer new perspectives. They help me see how old stories can show up and hold me back. They help me realize my power to let go and create something better.
I invite you to notice an uncomfortable feeling for you. I know it's not pleasant, but see if you can stay here. Breathe. It's ok to feel it. It wants to be felt. It needs to be felt. Take another deep breath. And huge sigh out. You've got this. And here is a practice if you'd like to try it:
Breathe in what you are feeling and really feel it as you say "I breathe in __(loneliness)__", then breathe out the positive opposite, "I breathe out __(love/connection)__".
Repeat this until you begin to soften around the feeling (which really can happen, I promise). Then you can expand it outward to take in the feeling for others. As you breathe out that new emotion, imagine it blanketing the other person in it. You continue to slowly increase who you are taking in that emotion for until you are taking it in on behalf of everyone.
During this practice, you are simultaneously increasing the opposite emotion that you exhale back into the world. How beautiful is that? While it may not erase the original feeling completely, it helped me to realize that I am not alone in what I am feeling and lessened it tremendously. It also generated a feeling a love and connection with the world.
I would be honored to serve you in working through any emotions if you want support through coaching, yoga, or meditation. I know what this can be like to go through on your own and the power of having someone to go through it with you.