By: Brooke Binstock
As I sit to write this post, I pause to feel the wind on my skin. I look around and see people sitting at picnic benches drinking iced coffee and connecting. It is a Saturday morning in Austin, Texas. It has been an intense time in the world and as an empath, I feel it all, heavy and slow moving. I consider how difficult it is for us as a culture to just be, rest and give ourselves time to process. It is a theme I have written about over and over again in my monthly newsletter. Just rest, slow down, breathe, pause, allow… And though it’s one thing to write and teach about these concepts, it is quite another to put them into practice.
One Big Inhale
My co-teachers Kelly, Marissa, and I met online to plan a special event in September at Drala Mountain. We noticed that the last few years have been tense, like we’ve all been holding our breath waiting for something. We talked about how important it is to let that breath out now. It’s normal to feel a little worried about letting go. You might wonder, “What if something goes wrong?” or “Will I miss out on something?” But it’s good to remember that life keeps moving forward no matter what.
Researchers have discovered that a prolonged, gentle exhalation can effectively calm us. This action stimulates the part of our nervous system responsible for relaxation and calming down. Conversely, if we only inhale and hold our breath, it can lead to feelings of nervousness and agitation. To experience this yourself, try the following exercise: inhale deeply through your nose, and then slowly exhale through your nose, ensuring you expel all the air from your lungs. Notice how you feel after completing this breathing exercise. This simple technique is a practical way to experience firsthand the calming effects of controlled breathing.
Allowing for Rest
I want to acknowledge here, especially after working with clients as a therapist these past two years, that sometimes rest can feel like a privilege and it can feel triggering. We may feel our fight or flight response kick into gear and the all too familiar thought, “shouldn’t I be doing something right now?!” You’re not alone in this struggle. I think this is exactly where the idea of permission comes into play. Sometimes it is not enough to intellectualize the idea of deep surrender. Sometimes, perhaps especially now, we need to create a sense of safety. A soul level mantra saying: “you are allowed to rest right now and do nothing. It is your birthright to simply be.”
Pause and Feel
You’ve been super busy with work and hanging out with friends, so much that you haven’t had much time to just stop and think about how you’re feeling. This has been a way for you to not deal with tough feelings for a long time. When people ask how you’re doing, it’s easier to say, “I’m just really busy,” than to talk about real stuff you’re feeling.
But this year, things are changing. You’re starting to pay attention to the hints to take it easy. You’re taking naps, going for swims, lying down on the grass, saying “no” to things more often, and doing nice things for yourself just because you’re human and life can be tough sometimes. You’re learning it’s okay to give yourself a break.
You’re planning a retreat for the fall where people can feel safe and cared for. The goal is for everyone to feel okay about taking a deep breath out and just relaxing. You’re hoping lots of people will come to learn how to be kind to themselves together.
You’ve found some sayings that really help you trust yourself and listen to your heart, like “Life is out there waiting for us,” and “It’s okay to just do nothing.” You want to tell yourself and everyone else that it’s okay to let go and breathe easy anytime.
About the Author
Brooke Binstock is a heart-centered solopreneur and owner of Open Circle Healing, an all encompassing wellness initiate where self-care and self-acceptance are the main pulse. In addition to teaching yoga and meditation, Brooke is also a Licensed Massage Therapist.