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“Just Breathe” by Carol Hand

Carol Hand ’83, MS’84, PhD’03, a resident of Duluth, Minnesota, and a member of the Sokaogon Ojibwe Community, is a teacher, author, and advocate who has spent her life creating spaces for those who have experienced oppression. For this month’s issue of Badger Vibes, Hand reflects on breathing as a thread that weaves together the local and global events of late.

December 07, 2021
Carol Hand ’83, MS’84, PhD’03

Just breathe

through the sorrow and uncertainty of these days

face the heartbreaking reality with courage and clarity

in this time of life when the grief of so many losses

sometimes feels too heavy to bear

Just breathe

and be grateful on this gray cold morning in November

as you listen deeply during moments of unexpected stillness

to the last crispy brown leaves on the long-lived cottonwoods

whisper in the cold gentle breeze “we’re survivors like you”

Just breathe

as you witness overwhelming crises disrupt lives for neighbors and nations

reflecting on what more you can do during times of transition

when social, built, and natural environments suddenly change

making survival difficult for those too rooted in the past

Just breathing

may not be enough when so many cannot breathe easily

Sometimes all one can do is make the present more bearable

by reaching out to others with compassion and presence


On her blog, Carol Hand discusses her process of creating this piece and the significance behind its meaning.

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