From Core

On the Other Side of the Exhale

Good Pillar Guests

March 12, 2021

I was looking in the mirror, and felt my breath leave my lungs. My gut wrenched as my heart began to race, and I could feel my palms start to sweat.Tears blurred my vision, as feelings of regret, betrayal, and disappointment flooded my body. I didn’t recognize myself.

The woman in the reflection was 30 pounds overweight. She was tired and depressed. And underneath the facade of a positive attitude and big smile, she was trapped in a  world laced with bitterness and confusion.

I had no idea how I got there.

I racked my brain for someone, or something, to blame.

Down deep, I knew that no one else was responsible for paving the path that had led me to that morning of realization. It was my own fault..

I collapsed into a puddle of self-despair on the bathroom floor of my apartment in Detroit. As I pulled my knees into my chest, hoping to shrink just enough to disappear entirely, I felt my heart begin to open.

“I’m so sorry,” I said to myself, tears streaming down my face.

An overwhelming sense of love, compassion, and peace washed over me. Something inside of me rose up - a resolution. It was in my darkest, most vulnerable state, that I was able to see most clearlyt. That morning on my bathroom floor was my inauguration into my purpose on this earth. And it all began with my own self-healing.

I picked myself up off of the bathroom floor, dried my eyes, and once again returned my focus to my reflection. And for the first time in five years, I saw myself. Truly saw myself. With that, I committed to my self-healing journey.

Our journeys of self-discovery, growth and expansion during our time on this planet never end. There is no final destination. My own process of healing was (and still is) anything but linear. While things might not make sense when we’re in the thick of it all, I can now look back on my journey and see how everything and everyone fell into place i to bring me to where I was meant to be.

As a breathwork facilitator, I help people use their breath - the first thing we take in this life and the last thing we leave. The breath can be a useful tool for people to use tocome back to themselves. Breathwork is one of the most powerful self-healing modalities in the world, and yet, our breath is so underutilized. In a world where we’re constantly distracted, overstimulated and conditioned to believe that something outside of us is responsible for changing our internal state, it’s through the rise and fall of a deep breath where we take our power back.

As you read these words, I invite you to stop, place your left hand on your heart, and then place your right hand on top of your left. If it’s safe for you to do so, I welcome you to close your eyes at the end of this paragraph and just drop into this very moment: this moment you and I have together. All that I want you to do here is to notice your breath. Feel your chest rise and fall, feel yourself anchored into the time and space where you are, right here, right now. Return your awareness here whenever you’re ready.

Wherever you’re reading this today, know that you are exactly where you need to be, even if it’s in a puddle on your bathroom floor. In this moment you get to stop, take a deep breath in through your nose, and know that the rest of your life is waiting for you on the other side of your exhale.

Mary Beth Mannino is a certified breathwork facilitator, meditation teacher and holistic health and wellness coach. She helps people break through stress, shift their relationship to anxiety and level up their personal growth by reconnecting them to their most powerful resources: their breath, mind and body.