Dropping Weight

I wonder what the title of this post suggests to you. Perhaps, it might imply the idea of losing physical weight, by following some diet and exercise plan. But, if you thought for a moment, could it also mean something else to you?

Could it mean letting go of the things that weigh you down emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually?

For me, it does.

When I journaled recently about how life was going for me, I discovered several items that came up all had one common theme. They all represented things I felt were missing in my life, or at least it seemed so.

As I thought more about it more, it became clearer that, not only was it about things I felt I didn’t have and wanted, but it was also about things I had, but wanted to get rid of. It was both ends of the spectrum.

That seemed like a pretty significant challenge to try to work through.

That’s when an image appeared. Without thinking about it, I began drawing in the margins of my notebook. I started on the left side with a stick figure that represented me. I was under water and sinking quickly because I was holding a huge heavy weight in my arms. There were little air bubbles escaping my mouth and rising to the surface. I colored in the weight with my pen, making it darker, which gave me an even stronger sensation of descending. It felt oppressive and a sense of desperation began to form.

After a moment I started drawing a new figure in the right margin. It showed the same stick figure, but I had released the weight, which was descending rapidly downward. Once I’d dropped the weight from my arms, I began ascending, up, up, up, until my head broke the surface, and I could breathe again.

Ahhhh, what a relief.

I glanced back and forth between the two drawings, stunned at what they conveyed to me.

In one, I held onto the weight. In the other, I let it go. Could it get any simpler than that?

The outcome depended on a singular decision, which was entirely up to me. I wondered, is that really the case? Could it truly be that easy to change things in my life? Could it be that easy to change things in your life?

As I centered my gaze on the position of the weight in both pictures, the starkness of the difference seized me. On the left, I would not let go, so began sinking. On the right, I let go and began rising. I realized I was repeating my observation, but sometimes that’s necessary for me to actually understand things, even simple things.

So, what in my life weighs me down? And even more importantly, why do I allow this to happen? Why don’t I let go, especially when I know it will harm me in the end?

Of course, the ‘weight’ could be anything; the extra physical weight I carry, past emotional traumas, worries about getting day-to-day tasks completed, whether we’ll always have enough of what we feel we need, or anything else that runs through my mind, sometimes at warp speed.

It feels important to ask myself a question at this point. Will carrying this weight help me or hurt me? In many cases, the answer is obvious, it will hurt me.

So, what do I do about this? How do I just let go?

An answer forms inside me.

In every case where I feel weighed down, I sense there is a message for me. Something meant to illuminate me and guide me toward the surface, where there is air to breathe. Discovering the message then becomes very important to me. So, I began to spend time with each one, allowing them to unfold and offer their wisdom, so I can release them and rise to the surface.

Knowing I have the option to drop the weight makes all the difference to me.

Emotional Breathing

Have you ever heard of emotional breathing?

Do you wonder if it might help clear some of the excess emotional feelings you have that are weighing you down?

No doubt there are many situations in life where emotional breathing would be extremely helpful. In my last post I wrote about one of these, overeating, but this is just the start of a very long list.

I’m not sure why, but I was surprised to learn from the internet that there are numerous sites devoted to all sorts of breathing techniques, and many include the same themes and practices.

Most appear to focus on inbreath and outbreath, the timing and sequence of breathing, and physical movements or lack of same. They all offer promise and hope and surely many folks use them to relax and improve their daily lives.

I’m happy they all exist.

What came to me recently was a different version and one I’d like to share with you.

First though, I’d like to ask you to consider doing something.

Could you stop for a moment and sit back, close your eyes, slow your breathing and rest? Then, when you feel some calmness wash over you, gently encourage yourself to scan your body for any places that feel painful or uncomfortable. Sit with each of them and give yourself an opportunity to see if they hold emotional weight.

If you discover a place that does, ask yourself how it feels to you. Do any emotions arise? If so, what are they? Do you remember anything, as you hover over the area? Are there any images that come up? Can you describe them?

Take note of your observations. It’s not necessary to write them all down, but you certainly can if you want to, and this might be helpful for later. 

For now, though, choose one area that stands out and focus on the part(s) of your body where you feel the presence of emotional weight.

Allow yourself to recognize the emotion and know you have a choice whether it exists or not. No one can force you to feel something against your will unless you allow it. Open your heart and know your original nature is pure and believe you deserve to return to this state, unencumbered by any emotional feelings that others have given you or that you’ve taken on without knowing.

Find a comfortable space where you won’t be disturbed for a period of time. Choose whatever posture you like best. Set a peaceful mood in whatever way appeals to you, such as soft lighting and music. Close your eyes and slow your breathing until you feel calm, then bring your attention to one part of your body where you felt emotional weight. Remain here and allow it to speak to you. Listen carefully and once you feel you’ve heard its message, rest again for a moment.

Now, while in your comfortable position, take a long slow breath in, imagining love filling you. Then, while feeling the emotional weight of the area you’ve chosen, let out a long slow breath, imagining the release of all that you are holding. Continue alternating, loving in breaths and the outbound breaths and the release of emotional weight. 

It may help if you add words to this process. On your in breath you could say, “I breathe in joyful, loving feelings to feed, heal and support me” and on your outbreaths you could say, “I breathe out, release and surrender whatever is weighing me down.”

When I do this, it takes a while for the impact to be recognizable. The first few times is like priming the pump where not much water comes out. But as you continue, and your breathing relaxes and lengthens, it can be positively wonderful. And there can be a blessed sense of emptying and release of emotional weight, anywhere from a lightening of the load to a mystical sense of weightlessness.

I hope that you find this a blessing.