He kissed the top of her head at the gate and zipped up her coat. “Stay warm,” he said.

She dedicated her morning yoga practice to gratitude as she unrolled the mat.

They left behind a card and balloons in his hospital room. “Get well soon,” they wrote.

He lit a candle for his daughter in the old Italian church.

She pulled over for the passing ambulance. “My thoughts are with you,” she called after it.

He planted a tree last Arbor Day. A new spring tradition.

They stopped to help him when he collapsed just a few yards from the finish line. They waited with him until they were sure he was safe.

She kissed her fingertips and touched them to the train station door. “May all who pass this place be happy.”

He watched the sun set on the bay and thought about his mother.

She feeds the ducks every Sunday morning.

He paid the toll for the next car in line.

She tucked a dollar into her library book before returning it.

“Peace!” they wrote on the sidewalk outside the market.

“You are beautiful,” said the note on the bathroom mirror.

I took their little hands as we crossed the street.

Every bless you, every love you, every thank you is an offering of love.

That love flows through us all, never-ending and unconditional. We don’t need to earn it, we don’t need permission to receive it, and we all contribute in our own way.

I’m a part of it, and so are you.

When you feel it, you know. And when you can’t, breathe.

That’s what I do when I feel disheartened. No matter how far into the dark I’ve wandered or how long until I take my own advice, the first step is always the same: Just breathe. 

Sometimes that’s all it is, just breathing, which is a worthy pursuit in itself.

And sometimes, the sweetest times, I can feel the love flow through me again.

Breathing in, I receive those offerings. Breathing out, I offer what I can.

May I be well. May we all be well. 

I’ll just breathe like that for as long as it takes to feel closer to love, closer to clarity, or simply closer to my breath.

The more I do this, the more I see that either way, whether it seems I’m only breathing or I feel the love run through me again, this is an offering of love for us all.

Leslie Ralph is a psychologist, writer, and artist who hopes to leave the world a little brighter than she found it.  Her people are creative, sensitive spirits who crave love and peace, inside and out. Leslie is the author of There, I Might Find Peace: Poetry and Prose, Mantras and Meditations for Peace, Love, and Strength. Download her free gift, a ritual for receiving, a daily ritual for bringing more love and light, clarity and confidence, meaning and connection to your life. You can follow Leslie on Facebook or Instagram.

Image courtesy of Gift Habeshaw.