Another day of music down as I edge towards the finality of my college career! We sang in a cappella groups today, working on music intervals, rhythm, and articulation in bringing a piece to life. Somewhat surprisingly, when it came time to share with the class, the hardest part was beginning the piece in unison. We practiced breathing together, noting how one simple breath before the notes can hold the meter of a song. It seems like magic, but it works.
After running errands this afternoon, I set aside ten minutes for guided meditation in my car. The backbone of meditation is breathwork and, as much as I know this to be true, I oft have difficulty fully relaxing and tapping into the organic pleasure of breathing full, deep breaths. (Humor me: try it now! Take a deep breath! Feel it fill up your belly, tip into your rib cage, and tickle your heart. Exhale slowly and make whatever sound feels best to you. And voila, you’re doing it!! You’re self-care-ing!)
But for whatever reason, today I was able to truly loosen the shackles of my anxious mind, open my chest, slacken my muscles, and really embrace it. This is a huge win for me, never mind I practiced this in the parking lot of my college. I feel incredibly empowered and calm, and it only took ten minutes and some air.
I’ve been attempting to unwind via meditation and breathwork for upwards of a year now, with limited success. I think what hindered me was the sheer determination I had for it to work, which clogged up my access to exploring how it all feels in my body. I constantly felt like I couldn’t do it correctly, that there was something I was missing, and I was just broken.
I don’t know if it’s because of the singing we did in class, or because I just chatted with a very *chill* yoga instructor, or because I had come just a half step away from resigning myself to believing it was an impossibility for me to ever calm down—but today, breathwork fucking worked.
Its results were temporary and literally took me well over a year to garner, but I am elated by this massive victory. I felt connected to the space between my sternum and my spine—I could feel my heart “expand,” like I’m constantly hearing these spiritual gurus promising will happen. It felt nothing short of a miracle. I walked with winged heels to this café and ordered without the usual crippling dose of social anxiety. I felt connected to everyone within a twenty-foot radius, and (for once) in a good way.
I don’t know how much I buy into the sensationalism of “empathy”. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that healthy human beings are inherently empathetic—but it’s developed into a spiritual movement which wanders down alleyways of the spirit I have yet to brave. I feel on the precipice, however. I am in that liminal twilight stage.
That being said, I have been told over and over and over again throughout my life that I am borderline debilitatingly empathetic. I have a hard time separating my emotional body from that of those within close proximity to me. I’ve gone to countless “energy therapies” designed to stitch me back up, but I always seem to “leak” again within that same day. My energy bleeds. It muddles. It catches, like molasses, the wavelengths of those entering my orbit, and then I am a confused, disembodied mess. I’ve had multiple therapists suggest “grounding” exercises for me. I guess I wasn’t ready for them before now.
I finally have a tool in my energetic toolbelt which will help me establish boundaries with other energies. Instead of becoming overly invested and mothering those who are hurting (because their hurt became my hurt) I can focus on loving myself and setting those gentle but essential boundaries which are laced with love and support. It’s awful to be in pain, but if you have lungs and a few minutes, there’s a world at your disposal. I am only just dipping a toe in…but it feels so good!!!
I am imagining making this a daily practice just to see how far I can go—what depths of the heart I can map and how I might use this to protect myself and nurture those around me. Part of me feels very behind the curve, but I also know those worldly gurus would tell me that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I choose to believe them. The alternative is not a reality which might lead me to a higher path—if I even can use such spiritual words willy-nilly!
So, dear reader: wherever you’re at in your healing process, keep your head up! Just when you feel you will never feel good, there will be a “W” for your stat board. Don’t give up on the self-care routine you’re working on, because the results will eventually come if you keep at it—and the reward is so rich for all the wait.
Whoever you are, I love you, I believe in you, and I know you can overcome your hurdles. Until tomorrow!