The Arc of Courage

Your toddler girl body and best friend’s girl body

soiled at the hands and threats of another

Balled in terror I coaxed you

To barely breath

A begging mantra

“We won’t tell. Let us live.”

Waking up terrified at night

I whispered “You are alive.”

Hidden deep inside, I helped your

Body move, hide, and comply in a

Household where

Eggshell walking

Required calloused feet

You did not have.

Looking into your brown eyes

In that reflection of mirrored glass

I said, “We will get out of here.”

We began digging underground

Passageways inside your imagination

and fluttering heart

To find escape.

You skated, swam, and ran.

Your body grew and so did I.

We began to speak and take the heat.

I found a place inside your vocal chords.

“Use your words.” I said.

No one hears your truth.

I feel absent in the ears of others.

Cowardice makes people deaf

With disbelief.

You and I hold hands with dark truths.

We hold our breath

Curl our toes,

Clench our jaw,

Freeze our eyes,


We know its safe to exhale the pain

Purge the nastiness

Scribble out the rage of hurt

Sword down the back

A beautiful green dress

Fingers and thumb poised to curl into

Balls with a forceful erection

Stone cold eyes

Fists pumping air

Bursting out the most forbidden words

Of All

I now embody you as a profane warrior.

Talk down your pounding fierceness.

Unfurl your voice of wounded rage.

Soften and relinquish this protective stance.

Drop the sword, fall on your knees

Weep an ocean of tears

Coiled underneath that waterfall of hurts

“Find stillness. Find the silence.” I said.

Beneath the surface of water

Holding your breath

Yet breathing deeply

You find me in the quiet of your heart

In the intersection of your grief and joy

You begin to see me in the eyes of beloved ones

Who actually love you, hear you

Who hold your hands

Who look at you, celebrate you

Accept you in all ways.

“Soften in the arms of love.”

I say.

For maybe Love and I are One.

Laura Staley
Laura Staley
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura Staley passionately helps people thrive by guiding them to a holistic transformation of space, heart, mind, body, and soul. Laura knows that there’s a relationship between the conditions of our homes or workplaces and the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by almost two decades of working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to empower her clients to produce remarkable results in their lives. Her trifecta of serving people includes speaking, writing, and compassionate listening. As a columnist, Laura writes personal essays focused on self-discovery, feng shui, emotional health, and transformations from the inside out. Laura is the published author of three books: Live Inspired, Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui, and the Cherish Your World Gift Book of 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a fulltime parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include laughing with loved ones, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. She resides in Black Mountain, NC with lovable dog, Layla. Laura is a contributing author to the inspiring book Crappy to Happy: Sacred Stories of Transformational Joy

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  1. Pure beauty and a story that begs you to enter and walk a while within the story. Tender so it will touch your heart and end the end you bid us to “Soften in the arms of love.”
    Strong Ink with amazing imagery……..Thank you so much for sharing.