The Practice of Moving through Emotions


Usually I write from a place of peace, after I have reached the other side of an “emotional crisis.” Today, I am writing my process from the middle of the river, where I find myself at this moment. There is a strong sense of emotional discomfort and pain for me.

Right now, I find myself slipping on the silty sand beneath my feet, unable to get traction. It feels like I am drowning in my own emotions of anger, sadness, confusion and un-forgiveness.

I have allowed my precious children to get under my skin. Taking them to the store to buy them each a book has stirred within me so many emotions that I feel as if one more straw may just break my back. What happened at the store to cause this cesspool of emotions to be stirred up does not matter. The fact that I feel this way does.

It is at the breaking point where I know I will feel better once I surrender. In the middle of the river, surrendering is the branch that reaches down to me to help me to save myself from the rushing waters of emotions that threaten to take me under. I breathe in the breath of life and as I breathe out I let go. Without pause, I continuously breathe so that I may stay present in these painful and turbulent emotions.

With each breath-cycle I am able to regain my footing, slipping less and gaining more traction. The feelings that I am feeling are my own. It is now that I can see more clearly this truth that I already knew in my heart: what I am feeling is not about them, this is about me.

I continue this process until I feel the emotions no longer washing over and through me. It is here that I am able to gain perspective from the other side of the river.

Another river crossed. What once seemed wider and tougher to cross that any of the Class VI Rapids of the Colorado River is now but a small brook in hindsight.

As I move through the journey of life, I know there are more seemingly insurmountable rivers to cross. With each river crossed, I gain experience and confidence that helps me to cross through the next one.

This practice of breathing through my emotions, along with meditation, have saved my sanity (and my life). I know you can do this, too. Join me, the water is fine!


Photo Courtesy of Maggie Smith at

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