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Religious Trauma & The Breath

We used to refer to the Holy Spirit as the breath of God, we’d say he (so jarring for me to use ‘he’ these days) was closer than our breath.

We also learned that meditation and breath work were dangerous, slippery slopes away from truth and could open us up to evil. We could meditate on God but the use of the word was problematic.

So it was with caution and reluctance that I attended one of my mother’s meditation nights after she’d asked me to go so many times. I was starting to be more open to ways of being spiritual other than what I knew but wouldn’t have admitted it to myself even.

It was beautiful. There were candles, a large group was there, it was still and contemplative. My nervous system took me straight into feeling grounded and calm.

I downloaded an app not long after and started to practice meditation and it has been a game changer for me in healing, reclaiming the breath, centring myself.

It may be only a minute or two in between clients or before sleep that I need now, it’s one of the quickest ways we can regulate our emotions. Or sometimes a longer 15-30 minute meditation can be nurturing, especially first thing in the morning or to help me sleep.

Try breathing in for the count of 4, pausing, then out for the count of 6. A slower exhale helps slow us down. Breathing through the nose in and out, helps regulate our emotions.

With religious trauma, we can reset and reclaim language and concepts as we rebuild identity.

For all of us, the breath is a powerful way back to ourselves.

If you’re struggling with the impact of religious trauma or high control religion, reach out. I see clients online Australia wide & in Marrickville in-person.

You can also download my story of leaving faith, The Sentimental Non-Believer, here.

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Download 'Melancholy': an excerpt from "The Sentimental Non-Believer."

Melancholy is a reflection on the way Easter used to feel and how it feels now.