4.3

An Affirmation for the Hardest Days.

This is for the days when we are terrified or broken

When our hearts and minds feel splintered
And everything is going too fast
And too slow
For the days when there are no easy answers, no drive-thru fixes, when sleep eludes us
When all we can do is
Breathe and breathe and breathe

On these days, we can treat ourselves like a small, beloved child
We bathe in warm water
We feed ourselves soft, buttery toast
We sip water to replenish the tears
We soften to ourselves, over and over and over
We listen to the flutters of panic running through our bodies

We reach out to the friends who always have the right words
Or who can sit comfortably in the unknowing

We mother ourselves.

I don’t know if I can do this, we whisper, cry, or scream
You will be okay no matter what, a still, deep voice whispers back

We place our hands on our heart
This heart that knit itself together from nowhere and everywhere
We remind ourselves how beautiful
And rare
And connected
We are

Maybe we walk in the season’s first snow
Barely seeing the flakes that become white smears all around our cheeks

Maybe we pray and pray and pray
And we wait for answers to appear like drifting clouds

Maybe we find a church
Or a 12-step meeting
Or a coffee shop
Or a podcast
We look for soft, sweet places to rest in,
To be cradled

We open ourselves to the smallest flecks of beauty
We train our hearts to hold both light and dark

The only way through is through, we say.
We keep walking through this searing pain
This icy uncertainty
This dark and damp underground

We picture, for a moment, all the other souls who are struggling at this same second
Through illness and grief
Through heartache and hunger
We feel the pulsing pain that connects us all
A ripe, ruby web
We are not alone, we whisper

We remember other eras when we felt like this
And we remember how over and over again, we survived

We sit with our discomfort
Our aches
Our own hollow, hallowed loneliness
We breathe through this moment
And this one
And this.

~

Author: Lynn Shattuck
Image: Cristian Newman/Unsplash 
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Waylon Lewis

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Robin Shatsky Grande Dec 27, 2017 7:22pm

Beautiful. I have goosebumps.

Melina Powers Dec 27, 2017 6:54pm

<3

Joanne M. Hafer Dec 27, 2017 6:25pm

Beautiful. And practical too. The steps really are the ones to take. . .

Kimberly Thompson-Gutierrez Dec 27, 2017 5:37pm

So beautiful, calming, and nurturing. <3

Kirstie Jennings Dec 27, 2017 3:22pm

What a beautiful read x x x

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Lynn Shattuck

Lynn Shattuck lives in Portland, Maine with her husband and two young children. Lynn is currently writing a memoir about her brother’s death. She writes about grief, parenting, imperfection, spirit, and truth telling—you can connect with her through her website or find her on Facebook.