Beryl Ayn Young » Photographic teachings for the mind, body, & soul

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What to do when your heart hurts


My heart hasn’t felt this heavy in a long while.

I could share with you what’s been weighing on my own mind for months: the job stress, the friendship stress, the health stress.

But, it all seems so silly now, because when the news spread Friday about those innocent lives, little lives, heroic lives, lost in the senseless act of violence at Sandy Hook Elementary School in CT, my seemingly overwhelming stresses instantly became insignificant.

Everyone’s everything became insignificant in that moment.

It was as if I the world held its breath in fear.

And then collectively breathed out a sigh of sadness.

My own thoughts wandered to grasp to the connections I shared with emotional event.  I am a teacher. A former Kindergarten and First Grade teacher. I am a mom. A mom who knows loss.

Although I will never fully know or comprehend the immense pain being felt by the Sandy Hook school or the Newtown community — empathy, love, and light is most certainly present as I think of all the families affected by their tragedy.

And as my tears flow, I hear whispers echoing in my mind.

The ones that started years ago, after losing our own angel.  Now her voice sings even louder than before:

Life is short. Do what you love. Live what you love. Make meaning. Make connections. Care. Give. Hug. Appreciate. Go. Do. Heal. Create.

I think in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy many of us have heard this same echo. It may come to each of us a bit differently, but we’re all tuned in and listening the same way.

We’re hugging our babies a little tighter. Saying I love you more. Questioning our choices and our lives and our hearts.

It’s all we can do to keep from drowning in the sorrow, being consumed by the fear, and facing the unanswerable questions that have surfaced from this unthinkable event.

Or is it?

As I watched the news coverage Friday evening, I listened to a Newtown, CT mother as she talked to the media about how she was going to face this tragedy with her child. She was one of the ‘lucky ones’ she offered as she shared how her daughter is too young to go to school and she doesn’t understand.

“She lives in a world of rainbows, and flowers, and butterflies — I need to let her live.”

So, that’s what our family did this weekend.

While the world (and I) sat distracted by the media coverage, grieving over the loss of lives and a loss of control, our family got out did the one thing I’ve known to be an instant healer of heartache.

We created.

We connected.

We dreamed up a world of flowers and butterflies.

We lived.

Brielle knows nothing of the hurt and heartache happening in the world around her.  And, like the daughter of that Newtown mama,  she also lives in this incredible world of color and flowers and butterflies and birds.

So, instead of simply squeezing Brie tighter, and kissing her forehead, and whispering “I love you” in her ear, we decided to grow that beautiful garden WITH her this weekend.

One full of family connectedness and creation.

Brie ran around with her daddy in the brisk winter air, giggling and breathing in the cold while I took a million pictures.

Her MeMa (my mama) grew this colorful and vibrant mixed media garden with paper and glue, full of color and vibrancy and life.

And our final family ‘Artographie’ piece will be printed on canvas and hung in our home to remind us to live life in color — with purpose and meaning and connection.

I ended this weekend feeling a bit lighter.

A bit more connected to Brie’s world of butterflies and flowers.

With a happy heart.

Lucky to be alive and creating with the ones I love most.


Would you be interested in a the opportunity to be inspired, create, give back, connect with your kids and family, and create an special piece of ‘Artographie’ for your own home (like the one I shared above)? I have an idea brewing (think a 2 week online class…), but I need you to tell me you’re intrigued. Enter your email address below if you want to know more. xo.

  • Amy Lee Czadzeck - <3 to you. Beautiful words and beautiful creating and connecting. I would love to do this.ReplyCancel

  • Megan Flatt - I love this post. Love what you said and LOVE your artographie piece! Count me in!!ReplyCancel

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