Core State Meditation

Episode Description: This week, we’re sharing a meditation from Dr. Hillary McBride that helps us to connect with our core state. You can also check out the recorded Instagram Live conversation between @hillaryliannamcbride and @sanctuarymentalhealth, which is now posted on Instagram. We return to episode seven next week.

Run time: 15:50

Release date: Aug 23, 2023


  • Written and recorded by: Hillary McBride
  • Executive producer: Leslie Roberts
  • Sound editing: Bradley Danyluk and Micaela Peragallo
  • Music and scoring: Jon Guerra, adapted from the album Ordinary Ways, strings performed by Valerie Guerra
  • Logo and art: Courtney Searcy


This podcast does not provide medical, counselling, or crisis services. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please contact your local emergency services. The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not always represent the views of Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries.



Hi everybody, it’s Dr. Hillary McBride here, host of the Holy/Hurt podcast. I wanted to start by thanking each and every one of you for listening, subscribing, sharing, talking about it in your communities, sending the episodes to loved ones or community members around you. You listening, reflecting, and sharing means so much to me. I know that you’re each doing it in your own way but I wanted to let you know I really appreciate your support.

Instead of releasing an episode this week, we’re going to be releasing the exercise that’s actually going to come at the end of next week’s episode. The exercise is meant to be something that you can come back to at any point in the future when you need to locate something that feels steady and true inside of you. If you listen to next week’s episode, you’ll recognize this is the same exercise that will be played then. Thank you so much for listening, and we hope that you enjoy this exercise and the last two episodes coming your way. Thanks everybody.

1:01 MUSIC


The purpose of this practice here is to connect in with our core state. The self inside that is always there, that has always been there. That is curious, compassionate, courageous, kind, creative, clear, coherent, and collaborative. One of the fastest ways that I know to get access to this is by sinking into my body and connecting with my breath. And so I want to invite you to join me. To adjust how you are resting, sitting, laying, or moving. Finding support in the structure of your body—either by rooting your feet down, shifting your seat in the chair, or allowing your body to be supported in some way by the environment around you. 

And on your own time I invite you to bring your awareness to your breath. Noticing the quality of your breath. And allowing these breaths to go as deep into your belly as possible. Inhaling through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. If you are in a place where there isn’t anyone around or where you feel comfortable enough to do so, I invite you to allow those exhales to be as loud, instinctual, unsettling as possible. You might join me for a few rounds. 

[Hillary inhales and exhales three times]


And notice how you feel as you begin to drop down through your breath into the very core of who you are. Continuing to follow the flow of your breathing, imagining that each exhale that you take allows you to go deeper and deeper into the core of who you are. You may not be used to having this much time and space, and so the invitation here is to luxuriate in breath. Allow yourself to really experience each component of your breath from inhale to the pause when your lungs are full, to the exhale, and then that special moment and pause right before you take a breath in again. Again, allowing this cycle to bring you deeper and deeper into yourself. If you arrive in this space with something that’s concerning you—a worry—I invite you to imagine setting it to the side. It can be there waiting for you for when you’re done. But this is a moment to give yourself the gift of your own breath. Presence and connection to the very core of who you are. An opportunity to arrive here and now through your body and to experience this. This moment. If it feels good for you, you might imagine me joining you. Perhaps us sitting next to each other. Or you could imagine someone that you love or who loves you next to you. Or, you could imagine yourself being somewhere where you feel totally at ease being on your own. 

And if you haven’t done so already, on your next exhale I invite you to really touch in on this place inside of you that we want to call your core self. A kind of unshakeable steadiness. This is a place inside of you that is always sturdy, no matter what is happening inside of you or around you. That is no matter what, rock-solid and cannot be disturbed. It’s a place that inside of you has an abundance of support and resources. A connection to truth, to kindness, to love, to compassion, and it is there for the taking, every moment of every day. The same core rock-solid self that’s inside of each of us. Here, you have the courage to face what’s challenging. Here, you have the kindness to attend with nurturance and compassion to those around you, and to yourself. Here you have a kind of calm—like the bottom of the ocean floor no matter what is happening above you, if it is waves, if it is lightning and thunder, if it is sunshine—here is a still calm place right at the core of who you are. 

Even if you don’t immediately locate this, that’s okay, just imagine what it would feel like if you did find it. How would it be to make contact with that place inside of you. To really get to experience it and to know that it was there all along. Take a few more breaths to really surround this place. As if every time you take a breath in and out, you thicken it somehow. You strengthen and fortify your experience and memory of being in this place inside of you. And if there are any young parts of you that feel active, maybe scared, doubting, reluctant, whatever it is, any young parts of you, just let them see that this is you. Let them come and snuggle up next to you, becoming aware of everything that is inside of this core place in you. Letting them know that they’re connected to you and because of that, they get access to this too now. They might not have had it before, but they do now. 

And you might widen your field of attention, just becoming aware of us here together. Thinking about me sharing these words with you. Or thinking about whoever might have directed this to you. This resource. Allow yourself to settle into a kind of support here. Maybe even noticing if you can access some gratitude or connection. And you might bring your awareness even a little bit further to think one layer out, into the community of people who are also doing this practice right now. Or have done this practice before. And you could imagine all the people who have ever touched in on this place inside of them or taken a moment to slow down and feel what is so solid and right inside of them. And you might imagine to your left and to your right, all the people in time right now doing this. And you could imagine looking over your shoulder and seeing all the people who’ve ever been before you who did this. And then maybe looking ahead to see all the other people who are to come, who will do this very practice. Who will know this place inside of them too. 

And maybe as you look a little bit more closely to your left or right you see someone or some people around you who know that this place exists inside of you even if you forget it. Even if you lose touch with it, they know. They believe that it’s here. And as you pull your attention back even further you can really see that you are surrounded by a sea of people who know this place inside of them. Sensing in to how there is so much around you. There are so many people around you whether you know them or not, or make contact with them or not. Who know this place too. And can hold the hope for you to live here again. Seeing the sea of people as an ocean of resources that you can draw from. Reminders of what’s true about you. And the invitation here is to touch base with various forms of support, first, the place that lives inside of you in your own body that you can access with your breath. And then between us, and you, and people you know, and then even more globally and across time. Notice how that feels. Perhaps you can really take in how profound it is. Perhaps letting it build hope inside of you. Letting it fill you up. And again noticing if there are younger parts of you who have a hard time with this, and again inviting them just to notice from beside you, that although it may have been hard to access this before, you can now. And as a result they can too.

And lastly I’ll leave you with three integration practices. Bring to mind again who else knows about this part in you. It could be someone that you have intimate relationship with or someone who you’ve only heard of but you know holds this as a place that exists in you too. And then think of who it is that you’d want to send a message to from this place. A wish, a prayer, a thought, a hope. A note of love. And just imagine sending them your kindness, or gratitude, or love. And then bring to mind a future version of you who will need to know that this exists. Imagine linking them with this particular moment. So that when that happens they’ll have the memory of being here in this feeling with you. And like we did before, let’s land this experience by taking a few rounds of breath. 

[Hillary inhales and exhales twice]

15:14 – 15:50 MUSIC