What Presence Teaches Us | Michelle Dixon
Emotional trauma healing | Online therapy program | Mindfulness Coaching

These days, we are all about manifestation – and I get it. With so much information and opportunity all around us, naturally we want to be able to create the life we dream about. From more income, to the perfect home or car, to the relationship of our dreams.

But what about when you’ve survived divorce, or loss, mid-life crisis, career transition … or worse, trauma?

When you’re suffering, it’s pretty difficult to work on manifestation.

(I know. From personal experience, as well as from hundreds of clients who have become frustrated trying to manifest!)

We need to attend to our emotional healing before we can attend to manifestation. Yes, it’s vital to get rid of limiting beliefs – beliefs about lack, for example.

Yet, we can’t possibly get there when our body system (our nervous system specifically) is in high tension and stress. We just can’t.

Try settling your mind and identifying the false beliefs that hold you back from manifestation when you are being pursued by a sabre-toothed tiger! [What, you ask? Just read on!]

nervous system

Presence is the first step.

We have to start with the practice of PRESENCE – because we have to settle the nervous system BEFORE we can do the healing work that we need for manifestation.

Let me tell you – few people understand how vital presence is.

You see – your nervous system is most likely in fight or flight, rather than in the here and now where you are NOT in danger. Your BODY thinks its in danger.


Trauma, early childhood events, recent heartbreak, extreme stress – they all put strain on your nervous system, creating a cascade of hormones, an elevated heart rate, and blood rushing into your extremities, such that you cannot concentrate – or you freeze up – or you even feel chronically depressed or anxious.


Your nervous system CANNOT tell the difference between your life being in danger, and you feeling stressed, in grief, in mid-life crisis, heartbroken – because the way your body reacts to these events is the SAME.

The Physiological Importance of Calming Down – RIGHT NOW!

One of the most important contributions of the HeartMath Institute is its theory of “heart rhythm coherence,” which postulates that the pattern and stability of the heart rate can influence cognitive performance and emotional experience.

This means that a stable heart rate can make us happy. When we are in stress and trauma, the heart is not in heart rhythm coherence.

Negative States

According to HearthMath research, during stress or with negative emotions, the heart rhythm pattern is erratic and disordered. This causes the pattern of neural signals traveling from the heart to the brain to inhibit higher cognitive functions – it makes your brain foggy! AND it affects the brain’s emotional processes—actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.

Positive States

In contrast, positive emotional states create ordered and stable hearth rhythms, which facilitate cognitive function and reinforce positive feelings and emotional stability.

How to get into coherence: The role of breathing

As it turns out, breathing patterns modulate the heart’s rhythm. You can generate a coherent heart rhythm simply by breathing slowly and regularly five seconds on the in-breath and five seconds on the out-breath.

The other way to become present and calm down your nervous system is to begin to observe that you’re in the present moment because – when you really start to pay attention, you will notice that you (and me and everyone) tend to spend a LOT of time worrying about the future, and reviewing the past.

When you begin to notice that you are here, now, and even better, to notice all the GOOD things that are happening right here and now in your environment, you will be on the path to healing.

So, it’s time to become present. Here we go!

1. Set a time, and breathe 5 seconds in, and 5 seconds out, for at least 4 minutes, breathing into your lower belly, so that it becomes full and round and then the air fills up your chest. Then breathe out until you have expelled ALL breath.

2. Next, you MUST begin to bring your attention to your present moment – look at where you are, what’s in the room, what do you see? Notice it all. Make observations in your head, and engage ALL your senses. What do you see, feel, taste, hear…? 

3. Finally, begin, slowly, over the next few minutes, to notice all that sustains you right now – the air you breathe that keeps you alive, the shelter you have now from the elements, your access to food. Even the seasons sustain you, changing without your input, ensuring that crops grow. The sun rises and sets every day, warming the Earth.

You do NOT need to try to be grateful if you’re not feeling particularly grateful about your life. Stick to the most basic, obvious elements in your environment that are ‘sustaining’ and supporting your life.

What’s Next?

Presence is just the first step

Once your nervous system is settled, we are able to move on to constructively dealing with negative emotions that might normally stop you in their tracks.

You see, you must be able to cope with your strong feelings so that you are able to identify and then RELEASE limiting beliefs about yourself that keep those emotions (like grief, shame, or anger) STUCK in your daily experience.

You may not realize it, but beliefs can hide in emotions that we just don’t know how to process – beliefs such as that you are not good enough, or that you will always fail or never be successful. Once you KNOW the beliefs that limit your sense of possibility, you can then heal them.

Only once you’ve started releasing these limiting beliefs will you have a solid foundation for manifestation!  

Not to mention, you will be able to experience an expansion of consciousness – pervasive peace, and connection to your most essential self (your soul, your consciousness, however you understand it).

To learn more about common trauma symptoms, what they mean, and a holistic approach to healing, check out my free guide by clicking it below:

Peace begins with presence.

And remember, you can get started just with breathing!♥️

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