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I had the wonderful opportunity of joining Michael’s class titled “Mindful Slow Breath Meditation with Palo Santo”. I had never used Palo Santo before and was excited to learn about it tonight. The evening started off with an explanation of what Palo Santo can do for us. When burned, the smoke is known to clear negative energy, bringing in a sense of peace and purification to spaces we inhibit, physically, emotionally and mentally. Palo Santo provides an opportunity for emotional exploration into areas of ourselves we may not realize are there. The class was then led into slow breath exercises and I sat on the floor of the studio, focusing on the intention I had set for the evening: “to step into my more liberated self. More detached, more unapologetic and more courageous in the face of fear”.
Lighting the Palo Santo, I opened my heart and mind to this new experience, ready to receive whatever the Universe would bring during this session. Watching as the smoke arose in the dimly-lit studio of Ohanajo, I inhaled deeply, feeling more grounded and secure with each deliberate breath. We were instructed through different cleansing exercises first to unblock our chakras, then to anoint each other. As a community of students, I felt so affirmed in my journey and united in pursuit of healing, as I sat next to all these women by my side. The studio grew mildly foggy and wonderfully mystical as I began to feel my spirit rising along with the smoke. Breathing deeply, my mind cleared little by little, till I was drifting through the room and through the various exercises like a leaf in the wind.
With the smell of Palo Santo lingering in the air, we were led through a visualization meditation to engage our inner child. My heart began weaving a colorful, beautiful visual of myself embracing my younger self with all the love and acceptance I could muster. A feeling of profound joy and conscious sadness was present in this opportunity to emotionally come home to myself. Finally, we laid down and began to breathe slowly and deeply with our eyes closed. Moving gently into our happiest and most peaceful physical and mental states, my thoughts settled into stillness. Eyes closed, I surrendered to the mental picture of myself, lying down at the base of an ocean, watching waves above me as though I were drifting from this life to the next.
The scent of smoke still strong in the room, I discovered something new about myself. I noticed a strong fear within myself, of death and of the afterlife. I recalled moments from my past where so much anxiety was instilled around the idea of an afterlife. The question “Would I be enough to enter Heaven?” felt like a weight sitting on top of my chest”. I had not noticed I still carried this with me today. Although this initial realization caused me to feel tense, I somehow found in this room, through the deepness in my breath and the subtle smell of smoke around me, the courage to give myself fully to this fear. I allowed myself to maintain a prolonged stare into this mental image of myself drowning, then fading steadily into the afterlife. I gave myself over to this unknown and through this inner work, found breakthrough and peace in the process. What I was so afraid of suddenly seemed so small and tiny and I grew larger and stronger in my own mind.
My experience with Palo Santo was undeniably life-changing and I have already purchased more for an upcoming staycation with my girlfriends. The women around me are courageous and unafraid of exploring their darker emotional sides. My friends and I are so open and excited for what this coming weekend has in store and what stories the orphic smoke of Palo Santo will unfold before us.
Want to experience Mindful Slow Breath Meditation with Palo Santo? Book your class here
- Written by Celine Wong