In the Wake of Tragedy, a Personal to-do List. ~ Charlene Taylor

Via elephant journal
on Dec 16, 2012
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The simple act of being able to be together became holy.

In the moment that I heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook, I was sickened, as was the rest of the world. “How could this ever happen?” and “Those poor sweet young children who were counting down the days until Christmas…those children whose hands were still slightly chubby and whose eyes had not lost the glint of the exquisite possibility of everything.”

Seconds later, my reaction became one of a parent. The “Oh my God,” reaction. The feeling of my children being ripped away from my life, from life itself. My imagined pain could only glance and touch upon what the parents of the massacred children of Sandy Hook must have been feeling.

The bewilderment. The unfathomableness. The excruciating pain and sadness.

So I watched and listened: to the news, to Facebook, to our collective horror and reactions. I went inside myself, recoiling. I reached out unapologetically to my teenage children, kissing them publicly and causing their immense humiliation. Frankly, I didn’t care. They could recover from too much love.

After discussing the day’s events, we went onward, attempting regularity. A snack to fill their post-school empty stomachs, presents bought for their father, complete with squabbling over the what and how much. Normalcy, but treasured in ways we typically overlook.

We trekked to my studio for our annual holiday tradition of painting ornaments for our tree and loved ones. Wearing funky Santa hats with holiday music, we sang loudly to our favorites because, especially this night,  “We Need a Little Christmas.” We found ourselves drawn into silence; the simple act of being able to be together became holy.

The next morning, I fell into a stupor, again hit by the horror of it all. What could I do?  I took out my pen, appreciating the smooth paper, but there was no way to write this into making sense.

But what I can “do” is to actually go onward with my heart cracked and raw and open. Into compassion and greater awareness of all the small things happening around me and within me. I can slow down. I can open my eyes wider and actually see. The clarity will most likely be more painful, and yet more truthful and beautiful because all of us, and all parts of us are included. Yes, even those ugly parts in me, in you, in that person down the street that makes us both feel uneasy.

I can learn to speak my truth, having courage instead of retreating into the ease and comfort of silence. I can reach out more, in kindness and forgiveness of transgressions, both real and imagined. I can wag more and bark less, so to speak. All while allowing what is in this moment, and then in the next, and the healing that comes with that difficult practice.

I can have the courage to grab hold of a hand, to kiss and love the world with abandon. But it’s something I’m willing to risk, something perhaps something we all could risk, creating a world recovering from too much love.


Charlene Taylor is a certified life coach, artist, photographer, creative facilitator, writer, yogi and mother.  Most days she can be found embracing life fully and trying to make sense of it all, other days she simply makes good food for her children and dreams of living under vast open skies.   She loves sunshine, the natural world, and needs both moments of utter stillness and dancing with wild abandon. Kale is her favorite food.  Living in Cincinnati, Ohio, she holds creative workshops that fancy themselves as little playgrounds for uncovering your Truth. She is the creator of and wearing of all hats at Life Outside The Lines, a place of self-expression and discovery.  An ardent traveler, photographer and writer, she’s finding a way to share her best with the world; hoping you find inspiration and connection to the truth, beauty and joy of Life. You can find Charlene on Facebook, and at  More coming soon…



Ed: Kate B.

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4 Responses to “In the Wake of Tragedy, a Personal to-do List. ~ Charlene Taylor”

  1. Kimberley says:

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

  2. anitawbrown says:


  3. Curt says:

    Lovely Charlene.

  4. Thank you everyone…