July 17, 2023

The Long Exhale.

The long exhale is sometimes in the arrival and departure, the brief moments at the beginning or end of day.

The long exhale is the surrender, the pause, and in the reset.

If you are caught up in the inhale and struggling to exhale read on.

If you are not a fan of self-help and popular positive psychology, fear not. This isn’t that kind of piece. Settle in and stay with me awhile. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

I have been introspective for my entire life. Most that I write is left in unpublished books and between pages of my daily to-do lists. This article, however, begged to be written.

So, I take a deep breath now and a long, slow exhale. At the end of my exhale, I let go even more and let my body release. You see, I’ve been caught in the inhale for sometime now. The fight-and-flight activated and survival mode fully engaged. I know I’m not alone. This world and this time we are living in has created this. We push and pull struggling to break free and paddle our way up to the surface, catching breath as life’s waves crash.

I have been writing my home for awhile now. The destination isn’t a place. It is a feeling, that solid comfort that tells you that you are safe and secure.

My little rescue cat escaped today in my coming and going. This is the second time. I feel that sense of panic and dread. I tell myself she is hiding in my neighbor’s shed. I call out and wait and nothing. I remind myself to exhale and let my body release. My cat is a rescue cat and she is fearful of the outside. The last time she followed me outside and was locked out, she was scared and hiding waiting. Was she waiting to exhale or is this just a human experience? This whole experience triggers grief.

If you have ever lost a loved one or a dear pet you know that feeling. This story is about grief. I have been writing my way home out of grief if there is such a thing. Each piece and project feels like it projects me a little further back to the world. It is hard to remind ourselves that we are okay when we feel like our lives are torn and shaken.

When we lose a piece of our heart, how do we learn to breathe? This is a challenge, and it is one of the hardest things about grief. How does our heart go on beating? We often find ourselves ruminating over the day, the moment right before our loved one has left us? We might think and ask ourselves , “What should I have done differently?” All of these thoughts and questions are normal and often part of the grief process.

I know about trauma, grief, and loss, and the long, slow exhale, and I can only share what helps me in this situation. In the midst of this pain, I tell myself I am here and now and whatever happens, I will take things as they come. I remind my body that it can soften and release. I practice self-talk and self-care. I sit with myself and my breath. Writing is only one way to get the emotions out; the main release comes from letting the waves ride and surrendering.

As the night falls, I wrap my own arms around myself and breathe deeply and then let go, and I let out a cry that isn’t pretty. I let out a growl that is deep and melancholy and release a sound that is primal and raw. I release and let my body relax in the sounds, and then I exhale a little more until there is nothing left to let go. This is the long exhale. The long exhale after being triggered by grief, pain, or fear.

The new story I am creating is about being brave and honest about it all. I share so that you too may release and let go and know that you are not alone in being caught up in the inhale and fear.

This isn’t self-help; it is telling a story that hopefully gets you to reach out and share with a friend, partner, and therapist. It is hard to let go and put down the masks and be real; however, our own authentic heart calls us home, and this my friends is the real surrender.

~

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