Remember to BreatheSometimes you just have to remember to breathe. That’s what I put as my Facebook status today. I probably should have given myself that advice about two weeks ago. I don’t think I’ve allowed myself to breathe in that long.

It’s been a stressful time, preparing to file for bankruptcy is not a comfortable process, at least for me it isn’t. It’s a legal process where we’re letting go of the debt we’ve accumulated through the past fifteen years or so. Legally, we’re getting free of the weight that has been suffocating us financially. Through my mental health problems and changes in employment, we can’t meet what we owe anymore. Emotionally and physically, this has been taking its toll on me.

I feel a ton of mixed emotions about going through this process. I feel guilt and shame because I haven’t been able to live up to my obligations. I feel frustrated because the changes that have led to this have been – from a mental health standpoint – completely necessary for my well-being. It’s difficult to put my family through all of this so that I can be healthier. I suppose it’s better for them than me killing myself would have been.

I feel sorrow for my kids that they’re going to have to leave their school and their friends. People keep telling me that kids are resilient, but that’s not making me feel any better, that’s a conversation I’m not looking forward to. I feel grateful for my brother, who’s giving us a soft place to land so that we can get back on our feet again. I feel some relief that this process is at least in motion, and I feel hopeful for the years down the road when we’ll be able to look back at this as doing the right thing.

Physically, I’m a knot. A tight one at that. My stomach feels as though its twisted around on itself more times than I could count. My jaw is locked so hard I’m probably grinding my teeth every time I open my mouth to talk. My tongue has sores on it from pressing against my teeth so hard. All of my muscles are tensed and strained. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for the last two weeks.

And now I’m trying to breathe and it hurts. Bad. I feel like my body’s been knotted up and it’s trying to unravel. Things don’t remember what relaxed feels like, so they don’t know where to go. The muscle memory’s gone.

I want to take a deep breath and drink in some fresh air, but I’m not able to let go enough to do that just yet. I’m decompressing. My parts are slowly sliding back into place. I’m trying to find my equilibrium. I’m trying to get that bubble in the level to settle between the two lines.

It’s time for me to be conscious about what I’m trying to do. I’ve let my emotion rule me for far too long. I need to take me back. This is about fundamentals. Breathing practice.

I need to go back and start noticing my breath. Follow it as goes through my nostrils, down my windpipe and fills up lungs. And then the exhale, rushing out of my lungs, through my windpipe and out my mouth. And again, and again. Feeling my breath filling me up and leaving me again. The life-sustaining wind moving through me, renewing me, centering me.

I need to be aware of this as I move throughout my day, not getting too high, nor getting too low, just being as I am with the ebb and flow of my breath as my guide. I need a place I can call home, a place of safety, a quiet place to rest my mind. I need to be alone with myself in peace.

For that I call upon myself to remember to breathe. To remember the impermanence of the breath. In, out and gone. Just like the thoughts and feelings that come and go on the surface of our minds. Remember to breathe and find some rest. Remember to breathe and feel some hope. Remember to breathe and find some peace.

Jason Large,

Daily Zen.

Author Bio – Jason has suffered from depression and anxiety for over twenty years. He can be contacted via his Facebook.