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?

51 thoughts on “when there is hurt

  1. I designed my home to have lots of big windows facing toward the river. Sometimes, as I’m whizzing around, or churning through deskwork, or worrying, I’ll glance up and … SEE. The river is maybe a quarter mile from our house, and it’s five miles wide along this stretch, and every day, every hour, it looks different. No matter how it looks, it reminds me to breathe.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You designed your home? That’s awesome. Of course, now I have the Pocahontas river song in my head. “The thing I love most about rivers is, you can’t step into the same river twice… the water’s always changing, always flowing…” 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I found a design I liked online and then changed it fairly radically. Unfortunately the contractor bollixed quite a few of the non-standard features I particularly wanted – like WIDE window sills that I could put African stone carvings on where they’d be safe from wagging tails! But in the grand scheme of things that’s minor. I got the huge windows and the river view… 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Blue for my balloon color, and the images of the Chihuly glass exhibit or Tiffany glass that I took a few years ago. The light/color combinations in each are soothing or energizing depending on which I need in the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Baby 1 is amazing and beautiful and smart as hell. Baby 2, growing inside me, makes me feel sick as if with the flu all day every day. But I’m full of joy. Thanks for asking dear Rara. Xoxoxo to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like speckeld transparent balloons. Any thing takes my breath away. I think right now I love helmut newton artwork, men with dimples, a crush I have but too scared to approach and nature. Nature works in mysterious ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your imagery is so wonderful. My “calming” picture is one of a rocky coast with waves and a blue, blue sea. I grew up in sight of the ocean, and being there – or next best, looking at a picture – can mellow me out almost immediately. So my favorite balloon color is blue!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Every morning lately I fight with myself to get out of bed. My mind begs me to hide beneath the covers, it tries to convince me that I could disappear if I stay long enough but I can only fall for that trick so many times. I am overwhelmed by my senses, unable to focus or calm. My mind spins and shakes, I close my eyes tight to strangle the tears, hold my breath to silence the sobs. I hide in bathrooms at work to gain composure. I’ve lost my center. I’ll take any color balloon that will carry me with it into the distance.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I always feel the hope inside of your writing. That makes me know you’re going to be OK. Not that I ever doubt it…

    I like yellow balloons. Not yellow anything else (especially clothes they make me look ghastly with my pale skin). Just yellow balloons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yellow isn’t a color most of us can wear, but yellow balloons are fabulous. Sometimes I think having so much hope is the hardest part about being me, haha, but yes… it is also what pulls me out of the dark ditches. Win some, lose some…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What takes my breath away? My grandchildren when they smile at me or when the one year old runs to me and hugs my leg. Balloons? Pink with little white dots, purple of the lightest shade and pale blue. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Most things that make me stop and take a deep breath are: blog posts by you, marga, Michael, Leigh, and a handful of others, Don, seeing a mother in love with her LittleFoot, smiling with strangers, being in nature, and a grace that I’m gifted with that arises from within.
    much love, Alison

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Hi Rara. The balloon color changes between green an purple. With most everything else, it is red or black. A clear dark sky with plenty of stars and a full moon is better than any sedative.

    Hugs…I hope this somewhat soothes and I love the picture that you hold near.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Beautifully written R. Love the photographs you chose too. Purple balloons for me, pastel shades, soothing, calming not powerful and bright. Images? The photo I have on my phone of my pop before he became so frail. Hugs and strength to you x❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t look for pictures. I go looking for written pieces like yours, that make me remember humanity’s goodness. That is, actually, how I got here today. So thank you for reminding me*hug*

    Liked by 2 people

  12. My balm is music. And words, like yours, or at church or wherever. But music, music! Lyrics and sound are so powerful. Actually, a recent post I wrote (My Soundtrack) touches on that.
    If any pictures are needed after the lyrics (or to remind me of a song), I use the antics of our family’s 3-yo cocker spaniel….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I just reread this for the first time since 2015. It is amazing how your words and sentiments remain relevant throughout the years. I wish I had the strength, the positivity, and the hope that emanates – RAWRS – from everything you write. You have overcome, and continue to overcome, what others would consider insurmountable obstacles. And while I have problems of my own, as we all do, I feel lost and alone, I can’t find the motivation to get off my couch. I think I say this a lot, but you truly are inspiring. Much love – XO

    Liked by 2 people


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