when there is hurt

A long time ago, for a different world hurt, I wrote this post. When I read about a brutality, or cruelty, or violent senselessness– I go back to it.

This morning, I didn’t want to climb out of bed.  I reached for my phone and pulled up this photo.  A copy of it is always on hand, in reach for those days when I can’t quite find my focus.

It has become my totem– a ticket to the center of my balance.  It is a picture of the inside of my heart.  It is my mood, the one that is ever-present even when I am experiencing every feel the world is mooding.

The world is big and so often broken– but, like my picture:

There is chaos, and calm.  There is fast-moving motion tempered by cautious severity.

I take a deep breath, and move through the stillness.


There is Patience, waiting to reach out in case I need to borrow a hand or two.  It is a strong pair of hands, marked with string bracelets I made myself– a gift of moon-love and sisterly protection.  The hands belong to a child, with the soul of a sleeping tiger.

I take a deep breath, and breathe with the tiger.


Nearby, there is a Sleep.  He is little, and quiet in the face of all chaos, reveling in peace.  He is warm, and warmth– and just knowing he is there kindles the burning flame that brightens my heart.

I take a deep breath, and let myself shine outwards until the coldest of shivers are burned away.


There is a green balloon– tied down, but not trapped. Like most things in life, it is transient.  It will find a way to escape to the skies, or it will shout its way out of life with a violent pop, or it will quietly return the air it was gifted back to the universe. 

It will eventually become just one of ninety-nine green balloons my younger brother briefly held.  It will eventually be just one of hundreds of things tied next to my baby brother so he could wake up in joy.  It will eventually fade into the background of a picture snapped by a big sister on a camera owned by a grandpa.

Five years from now, it will still matter.  This will all still matter so very much.  But right now, in the moment– I don’t want to speak on it.  I don’t want to start a conversation, or finish one.  I don’t have to.  The fragility of reality– the fragility of humanity– is not the point.  The permanent need for world repair is not the mission of this breath.

In this breath, I deserve to balm.

I want to feel.  Even when it hurts.

I want to breathe.  Through the pain.

I want to show others that it is possible, and necessary, and good.

We are people.  We are connected.  We are each others totems.  We can keep each other close at hand.  We can hold each other in our hearts.

We are our mood.  We are ever-present.
We share our joys and pains, our gains and losses.

We can change the things that need changing.  We can write the words that need to be lived, and we can choose how our stories unfold. 

We can escape, we can pop, or we can give back everything we were given.

We can create a place of peace if we find our focus.

So I think about us and I take a deep breath,
and I feel.


Even if it means I have to stay in bed, just a little longer– clutching a worn picture, and spilling a tear for every one of our cracks and blank spaces.

I will stay until I find my center,
and I will breathe in peace.

And then…
I will share that breath with you.



What image makes you stop and take a deep breath?
What is your favorite balloon color?