A Meditation for Healing Your Emotions
When I was 26 I made the mistake of moving in with my younger brother. He waited until I was on a month-long trip and, as I waited to board my flight to Portland, told me he wanted to move home to save money.
I refused to live with a stranger in my very mature late twenties, and I loved that apartment on 2nd and Pine. After moving around Philadelphia every year for eight years, I was hoping to be in this home for a solid five years. I loved that place—the butcher block counters, exposed brick, natural light, and beautiful wood floors. I had big plans of falling in love that year, and I imagined my future husband taking over my brother’s part of the rent.
A month later, on my 27th Birthday, I was in my parents basement in New Jersey with boxes all around me. I stomped up the steps, past my family mingling in the kitchen, grabbed sheets from the closet, slammed the door hard, and stomped right past them again because it was everyone else’s fault that I was in the life position I was in.
Through tears of loneliness and despair, I shoved sheets in between the basement drop ceiling tiles to create walls for my “bedroom.” I felt sorry for myself that I wasn’t where I thought I should be by this point in my life.
I was single, angry, lost, and broke.
Despite my strong ego and demanding attitude, meditation weaseled its way into my life. I always imagined that if I found myself in prison, I’d be become an enlightened Guru, connected to my divine inner freedom. Then again, gang leader seemed appealing, too. When I was in 3rd grade, I told a girl to give me her candy cigarettes and laughed in disgust as she followed my orders.
Clearly, I had work to do on myself.
They say go hard or go home, and since I was already home, I decided I might find my dignity by becoming a badass meditator, so I signed up for a 24-hour meditation marathon.
Now might be a good time to note that I hadn’t actually meditated before. You see, I was someone who believed in the benefits of meditation, but I wasn’t really willing to put in the work of quieting my mind. I didn’t know it then, but it was because I was terrified of facing the unprocessed rage, grief, and fears that were living deep within me.
I was under some strange delusion that being someone who identified with meditation meant that it would be easier for me, so it came as a rude awakening when I sat down and could barely sit for five minutes. I had already announced my 24-hour meditation plans to my tiny Facebook world, and I was very concerned with what other people thought of me so there was obviously no turning back.
It turns out that almost anything in life can be tackled by breaking it down into tiny steps. I worked my way up in 5 minute increments, until I was able to sit for an hour at a time. I built up some healthy confidence and learned how to be with my mind which, by the way, appeared to literally be ill.
Meditation became part of my daily life, and I spent 30 minutes each morning focusing on consciousness itself. It was a challenging way to meditate, but after a few years I began to notice that I had more patience and I was more self-aware.
I learned that my mind was, in fact, not well. Not only was it mean, but it was also feeding me destructive stories. It said things like, “You’re ugly. You’re stupid. You are literally the most uncool person.” You know, all the sophisticated insults of a 5-year-old. My meditation practice taught me that my mind could talk, but that it didn’t have to define me.
Through meditation, I learned the important lesson that I was not my mind.
It might sound like things were getting better in my life—and in some ways they were—but in the most important ways they were not. I was still extremely judgmental of others, self-righteously preaching the benefits of meditation. I was self-conscious and uncomfortable in my body. I often found myself in conflict with a friend, family member, or boyfriend. I felt lost, purpose-less, and depressed.
It took me years to admit to myself one very powerful and liberating truth: I’m not happy.
As is often the case, confronting the uncomfortable truth about myself and giving it voice set the wheels of this co-creative Universe into motion. Only a few months later I found a new kind of meditation that changed everything for me.
The first person who told me Breathwork was the medicine I needed was a healer I have never met to this day. Through a series of emails he saw what I had been trying to hide from the world—that I was terrified of letting go of control and that I really didn’t know a damn thing.
I cried when I received his email, partially because being really seen for the first time is incredibly confronting and partly because I was relieved. I trusted him enough to try this practice out, but I was skeptical. The word Breathwork conjured imagery of monks inhaling long and slow, and I wondered how that could possibly change my life.
Instead of long, slow breathing, I was guided through a rhythmic breath that connected me to my body, a place I had avoided for at least fifteen years. As I continued to practice Breathwork, my body showed me how much pain it had been holding on to.
Over time, that pain had layered into a heavy shield that served to protect me from further pain but also held me back from love. That shield had become so heavy that I began to lose my energy trying to hold it up. I lost connection to my emotions and eventually sunk into despair. You might also call this depression.
I was so terrified of letting go, that I didn’t let out any emotions in the first several healing sessions I had. It was only a few months later, when I ended a romantic relationship where I had completely lost myself, that I was ready to begin the journey of facing my feelings.
After that breakup, I ended my 3-month Breathwork hiatus and joined a group Breathwork workshop. In a small room in the back of a pilates studio, I looked around to find that I was the only woman in group of 8 men. In the midst of our collective breathing I heard them all begin to unabashedly sob, and I allowed myself to join them.
Those men gave me a great gift that night—they taught me that it was safe to feel my sadness with others.
It’s been five years since my first Breathwork session, and I have gone more deeply into my emotions than I ever knew was possible. I have released gallons of sadness from multiple lives. I have healed my heart, connected to my soul, and faced my deepest pain.
The journey of emotional healing is long, hard, and requires patience and persistence. It’s why we hide from it, but it’s also how we become who we really want to be.
My relationship to myself began to change not long after committing to a Breathwork practice, and I started to actually like who I was which eventually lead me to love who I am. People in my life began to feel my warmth instead of the cold exterior that had masked me for years.
With a stronger relationship to myself, I felt safe enough to get vulnerable and bravely shared my voice with the world through my brand, Pushing Beauty. I would overcome a tremendous heartbreak, discover my purpose, write a book about healing, connect to immense gratitude for life, and so much more.
I now know how to work with and process my emotions. I recognize the beauty in my anger and use it to fuel my passion. I see the sweetness in my sorrow and let it move through me without judgement. I have learned how to trust in the process of life and truly see that I am supported by something so much greater than myself.
Through Breathwork, I have come to have a deeper understanding of the wisdom of the great spiritual masters and the teachings of my first meditation teachers. Only now I don’t know it with my mind—I know it with my heart and soul.
It can be downright excruciating to feel our emotional pain, especially if we feel very deeply. When we don’t process our feelings the pain still lives inside us. It manifests through the discontent in our lives, shows up as dysfunction in our relationships, and emerges as discomfort and disease in our physical bodies.
I have no doubt that I would not be who I am or where I am today if I hadn’t discovered Breathwork—a meditation for healing the heart and soul.
Get your free guide
Getting started with breathwork
The kit I created to help you begin your Breathwork practice. It includes 3 guided Breathwork meditations, an ebook about how Breathwork heals, an FAQ, and a series of printables for a 30-day Breathwork challenge.