Breathe for Hope

I wrote this shortly after the Presidential election. This is a reflection of my personal experience and what I needed to hear at that time. I’ve come a little bit further in my understanding since then, but have decided to share my original response in its original format, in case it speaks to anyone else.

Take a deep breath, and let it out. In this moment, you are safe. Take a deep breath. Feel your lungs expand into your chest and belly. Let it out. You are alive. There is hope.

I know you afraid (Take a deep breath, and let it out). It turns out that our country is not what you thought it was, what you hoped it would be. (Take a deep breath). But there are people who care about the earth, and about people different from themselves. People who are even now figuring out how to fight. (And let it out).

It’s scary, the things that we think are coming. The changes and the peeling away of civil rights and the perceived freedom to live our lives (Take a deep breath, and let it out). There’s a lot that you don’t have control of. That’s nothing new. (Take a deep breath). So try to focus on what you can control, to figure out what that is. Learned helplessness is a real problem right now, and you’re fighting our way free of it as fast as you can. (And let it out).

But that’s not enough, is it? It’s never enough or fast enough or strong enough to save everyone who needs saving. So you save no one. (Take a deep breath and let it out). You’re going to have to let go of that, though. Save one person. Take one action. Don’t think about what you couldn’t do or didn’t do. One foot in front of the other. (Take a deep breath). You can’t give up before you’ve begun. There’s too much at stake. There was always too much at stake. (And let it out).

See your fear of failure. Recognize it. Shake its hand. It isn’t going anywhere any time soon. (Take a deep breath and let it out). Refuse to give it the keys to the car of your life. It can ride with you, because it must, but don’t let it drive your actions. (Take a deep breath). Since you’re currently safe, then you’re going to have to be strong. Not fearless, because that’s impossible, but strong enough to step up as an ally and a human being. (And let it out).

You’re going to be ok. You’re scared, but you know that in your bones. (Take a deep breath and let it out). But not everybody will be ok. Find out what they need. Listen. Learn. Support. (Take a deep breath). Together, we can do this. (And let it out)

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