Soft Belly, Soft Heart: Guided Meditation

For whatever reasons
I have had a lot of issues with my belly
My body
Don’t we all?

My mom used to tell me to suck it in — for photos or simply for the benefit of herself and others who do not want to look at my protruding stomach.

A boy on the playground used to tease me with the taunt, Shelly belly full of jelly!

It’s assumed I’m pregnant, though I am not. I carry extra weight in my belly. I used to despise its shape and size and wish it away, especially after gaining weight in my late twenties. Then I carried a baby in there. My daughter,  who emerged from my womb healthy, happy and miraculous. My belly became a temple.

Reading through A Year to Live by Stephen Levine, I came across this soft belly meditation and immediately adored it and plan to take it on as a part of my practice (formal and informal, constantly threaded into my life, not a separate “spiritual ritual” or anything). Without further ado… May it be of benefit!

Taking a few deep breaths, feel the body you breathe in.
Feel the body expanding and contracting with each breath.
Focus on the rising and falling of the abdomen.
Let awareness receive the beginning, middle, and end
of each inbreath, of each outbreath
expanding and contracting the belly.
Note the constantly changing flow of sensation
in each inhalation, in each exhalation.
And begin to soften all around these sensations.
Let the breath breathe itself in a softening belly.
Soften the belly to receive the breath,
to receive sensation, to experience life in the body.
Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long.
Soften the tissue, the blood vessels, the flesh.
Letting go of the holding of a lifetime.
Letting go into soft-belly, merciful belly.
Soften the grief, the distrust, the anger
held so hard in the belly.
Levels and levels of softening, levels and levels of letting go.
Moment to moment allow each breath its full expression
in soft-belly.
Let go of the hardness. Let it float
in something softer and kinder.
Let thoughts come and let them go,
floating like bubbles in the spaciousness of soft-belly.
Holding to nothing, softening, softening.
Let the healing in.
Let the pain go.
Have mercy on yourself, soften the belly,
open passageway to the heart.
In soft-belly there is room to be born at last,
and room to die when the moment comes.
In soft-belly the vast spaciousness in which to heal,
in which to discover our unbounded nature.
Letting go into the softness,
fear floats in the gentle vastness we call the heart.
Soft-belly is the practice that accompanies us throughout the day
and finds us at day’s end still alive and well.

Isn’t it lovely?

Hard belly, pulled-in belly is so ingrained in me that I know softening will take practice
Lifetimes of practice.

Soften the muscles that have held the fear for so long. Let go of the holding of a lifetime.

I’m so grateful this came into my awareness today. Cheerful Full Moon!

“Soft-belly is a trigger for our letting go. Softening melts the armoring over the heart, experienced as hardness in the belly. Each time we remember to be present, to be mindful, we soften into the moment. Softening becomes a call to the heart that it is safe to be alive in the body once again. Soft-belly brings an end to our fear of fear.” ~ Stephen Levine

5 thoughts on “Soft Belly, Soft Heart: Guided Meditation

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is both powerful and loving. I will translate the meditation into Spanish and upload it to my FB. So glad to follow you!

  2. Muchas gracias! I’m glad it resonated with you! Would you be willing to share your Spanish translation of the meditation with me? Many thanks.

  3. Respira profundamente unas cuantas veces, sintiendo el cuerpo recibir tu inhalación.
    Siente cómo tu cuerpo se expande y contrae con cada ciclo de respiración.
    Concéntrate en el ascenso y descenso de tu abdomen.
    Invita tu consciencia al inicio, el punto medio y el final de cada inhalación y cada exhalación
    que expanden y contraen tu vientre.
    Percibe el cambiante vaivén de las sensaciones en cada inhalación y cada exhalación.
    Empieza a suavizar todo lo que circunda esas sensaciones.
    Deja que tu aliento se respire a sí mismo en el interior de un vientre que se suaviza.
    Suaviza el vientre para recibir tu aliento, para recibir sensaciones, para sentir la vida en el cuerpo.
    Suaviza los músculos que han contenido tus miedos durante tanto tiempo.
    Suaviza los tejidos, los vasos sanguíneos, la carne.
    Libera la contención de toda una vida.
    Abandónate a un vientre suave y compasivo.
    Suaviza las pérdidas, las desconfianzas, las iras intensamente contenidas en tu vientre.
    Capas y capas que suavizar, capas y capas que soltar.
    Permite, momento a momento, que cada ciclo de respiración encuentre su expresión más plena en la suavidad de tu vientre.
    Suelta la rigidez. Deja que flote hasta transformarse en algo más suave y gentil.
    Que los pensamientos vengan y vayan a placer, flotando como burbujas en la amplitud de tu suave vientre.
    Sin asirte de nada. Suaviza. Suaviza. Recibe la sanación. Suelta del dolor.
    Ten compasión por tu ser, suaviza el vientre, abre paso hacia el corazón.
    Un vientre suave ofrece espacio para al fin nacer y espacio para morir cuando llegue el momento.
    Un vientre suave es amplitud para sanar, para descubrir la infinitud de nuestra naturaleza.
    Abandónate a la suavidad, donde los miedos flotan en la amorosa inmensidad que denominamos corazón.
    Suavizar el vientre es una práctica que nos acompaña en el transcurso del día y al final de la jornada nos encuentra aún vivos y bien.
    El texto original en inglés es de Stephen Levine y forma parte de su libro A Year to Live. Puede consultarse en el delicioso blog yogafreedom de Michelle Margaret Fajkus. La traducción al español por Atenea Acevedo

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