Breathe Into Open Heartedness
The lungs massage the heart with each breath. Imagine that! Breathe in and out, with this idea in mind. Full breaths, up to the collar bones, and exhaling until you feel all the air leave the lungs. Imagine now a straw to pull the air through, slowing down… blowing out through the straw as you exhale and feel the full effect. Sometimes making a soft sound can help as you breathe in and out. Shoulders and accessory muscles are not needed to breathe deeply. Continue with half that much effort, and what is half of that? Slowing down the pace, relaxed breaths enter and exit easily. Shoulders relax, lungs expand, massaging the heart.
Holding the breath is common when anxiety is present. This may be happening and you do not even realize it. Watch your breath for a few minutes. It is not so easy to watch something that normally happens without our conscious awareness. When we become aware of it, we may want to take control. Initially, you may feel anxious as you watch it, and feel like you have to now be in charge of one more thing. Take a good look in the mirror the next chance you get. Our posture influences the health of our heart. The ribs form a protective structure around the heart and lungs, and when a person is in optimal health and happiness, there is plenty of space for both. This space can diminish as we neglect our physical bodies and our mental states…we may become depressed, head hanging down or cowering slightly against the harshness of our world. We may hide our heart from others and withdraw, avoid eye contact and intimacy to keep ourselves safe. We also may become immobile or misshapen over time. Inside the shrunken rib cage, the heart and lungs become misshapen overtime, adapting, but the valves of the heart cannot close properly (leaky valves) and we are short of breath. Our daily behaviors, movement patterns and emotional states create the shape of our bodies as we experience it in this moment. These adaptions and compensations are the bandages of our wounds.
“Don’t turn your head, keep looking at the bandaged place. that’s where the light enters you. And don’t think for a minute that you’re healing yourself.”