I'd heard of Glennon Doyle Melton but not really followed her, as I didn't really consider myself her target demographic. But she's recently published a memoir which is getting a lot of press and I'm realizing all of humanity is this wonderful woman's demographic. I caught a caption that enticed me to watch most of the above interview (recommend!). The caption was something to the effect of pain and reactiveness being a sort of "hot potato" that we are eternally shunting off to somewhere or someone else. That we so rarely sit with feelings before we react, deny, or suppress, and thus end up kind of backed up and blocked.
I sometimes catch myself and my students (both music and Pilates/Yoga) holding our breath, which results in constricted lungs and diaphragm and increased physical tension in general. And, in the context of GDM's hot potato metaphor, it is clear that this is the somatic (bodily manifestation) effect of shunting off not just pain, anxiety, and shame, but even simple moment-to-moment awareness and presence. It's so easy to get ensnared in doing, going, and getting throughout our days, thinking of our next task or reflecting on a past conversation, even in moments where we truly can pause. It's often in these moments - washing the dishes, for instance - that I realize my mind is still going a mile-a-minute, planning, rehashing, and the physical effect is that my breath is shallow and thus that I am not truly inhabiting my body, in which this lack of awareness manifests as tension and/or counter-productive movement patterns. This somatic signal of breath awareness can be not only a canary in the mine of our emotional life, but also an anchor. By heeding our breath more often, and holding the hot potato, we can be more present both physically, emotionally, and spiritually, which allows our bodies and minds to heal and remain healthy. At the very least, our bodies will be less constricted, which has pretty profound implications for mental and physical health and conditioning. Thank you, Glennon, you have a new fan!
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