A still lake, a stream, a raging rapid river, a vast ocean then back to a stream and a still lake.
The imagery of water in it’s stillness to gaging has been the range of emotions that have painted my week. As the week progressed I kept thinking how fitting that I am experiencing and expressing such emotion on the week that started with a quote about emotion (Mindful Monday #22 – Emotion).
Grief, sadness, fear, anxiety, doubt, joy, delight and love are the emotions that I felt at various moments of this week. I don’t always feel this many emotions in a week, but this week was unlike any other week. Monday alone was filled will a lot of disappointment and fear and by the end of the day I was exhausted. I noticed I wasn’t centered and grounded so I went to a Yoga and Meditation class that night. Class began with us lying on the ground focusing on the breath. As I focused on my breath, a skill that I learned in my voice class, I went to combat with it.
Each time I tried to breath fully and deeply, I resisted. As a result, my breath became shallower and shallower. The shallower it got, the more I wanted air. Two years ago if I tried to focus on my breath, I wouldn’t have had the challenge that I had that night because I didn’t have the meditative or breathing practice and skills.
I knew that there were emotions in my heart that needed to be expressed further as indicated by my shallow breathing.
I gave into my breath and breathed fully and as I breathed tears rolled down my eyes. My emotions were so strong, that focused on crying a silent cry.
When I was in my hometown for my month of writing I had the opportunity to be a writing advisor for a youth writing program that my sister organized. Since I have studied acting, performance, and storytelling and have a lot of experience with public speaking I was asked to teach the students presentation skills. As I addressed the students I talked about the importance of adding weight to their pieces that they wrote for their public reading. What I meant by adding “weight” was adding emotion. Think about the emotion behind the piece, the words and the imagery. There was one main point that I felt I needed to make after reading their work. It’s a point that I feel should be a human mantra.
“I give you permission to feel your emotions. Emotions make us human. Like intuition guides us towards right and wrong, emotions act as a thermometer to tell us how we are feeling. I give you permission to feel.”
That point needed to be heard and the students practiced feeling their emotion in their reading and it made all the difference. Getting in tune with my emotions has been the best gift of life. I have learned so much about emotions in the process. If we allow emotions to pass through us, feel the emotions and give the emotions the attention it deserves, the emotion will pass. It is only when we chose not to feel an emotion or when we bury the emotion deep inside, that the emotion becomes toxic. Below are a few tips to guide your with a breathing exercise to connect you to your breath and to your and to your emotions.
Tips to Focus on Your Breath and Release Emotion
- Find a quiet place in your home or outside. And remove any an all distractions like a cell phone.
- Stand or lay as still. Make sure that you are comfortable in either position.
- Breathe in slowly through your nose and breathe out slowly through your mouth. (x3)
- Next breathe in slowly through your nose filling your lungs and diaphragm and breathe out slower from your diaphragm to your lungs. (x3)
- As you breathe notice any areas of your body that feel tight or are uncomfortable and try to breathe air into those areas. Hint: Visualize air going into that part of you body that feels uncomfortable and tight.
Note: Some days this activity will be a challenge and that’s okay. Notice when these exercise is a challenge and notice when it is not. And in either case explore why.
Track your progress either mentally or keep a journal. Over time you will find that you will become skilled with breathing fully and release your emotion. Try it. I’d love to hear about your progress too!!