I had run out of ideas of how to get through the chaos that was building so that we could help the children learn. I wanted to quit and felt like a complete failure. My principal, though, was wise and kind. She listened intently, saw both my despair and my goodness, and simply responded,
“Jean, sometimes you have to know when to throw the lesson plan out the window and pull the Play-Dough off the shelf.”
She gave me permission to push “pause” and change course if my plan wasn’t working. This was the very gift I needed. I tried it the next day when things were taking a turn for the worse. Instead of fighting against the building tension, I closed the book and pulled out a picture from the large schedule that said, “Something is about to change.” This picture brought comfort in the midst of uncertainty to kids who needed structure and consistency in order to feel safe.
Our world is in one of those places right now. In order to find comfort, we need to give ourselves and those we love permission to push “pause.” We are called to admit that the current plan no longer applies; we need to choose something that helps us feel grounded and safe when there is much uncertainty. When change is happening more rapidly than we can process, it is good to forget about what you think you know and to shift your awareness to the mystery of what is happening here and now. In this moment there is peace. It doesn’t come from the news or from getting your hands on more resources or information; it comes from within. It is a peace that is as deep and expansive as the ocean and as certain as the setting of the sun. When what is seen is painful and hard, the words, “Something is about to change,” prepares us to grab hold of the guard rail. It invites us to stand firm on the truth—to look up to that which is unchanging.
We are in the midst of a progressing pandemic. Last week, high schools cancelled the musicals students had been eager to perform and sports teams moving toward championships were told to stay home. All public gatherings of more than 100 people have been cancelled. Now, even restaurants are closed, and there is talk about moving to full lockdown. As the circle keeps closing in, we are invited to sit in the stillness and love those who are closest.
It is a time to practice compassion as we think about medical professionals who are being called upon in the face of an upcoming emergency. Will you consider the teachers who are called to rise up to bring their classrooms to an online platform and the administrators who have to make major decisions in light of all the endings of the school year? Let us collectively hold those who are sick and at risk with limited immune function into the light as we wait for this wave to pass.
If you feel disappointed about plans that got cancelled or having to stay home over spring break, remember that you are not alone. Turn toward the people who are near you and tell them that you love them. Let them know how all of this is affecting you. There is comfort in being seen in the midst of our challenges. Will you allow another to see your face and humbly admit your need for care? Can you identify and name what is stirring inside of you as you are called to stop “doing?” Can you open your heart to receive the gift of compassion? Will you push pause and give thanks for all of the freedom that you have and may have been taking for granted?
What specifically are you thankful for today? Place your hand on your heart and connect to the goodness of this blessing. As you breathe in imagine that blessing expanding to fill every fiber of your being. As you breathe out, say, thank you! Even in the midst of changes that may feel like the dark of night, you are blessed and have the freedom to push “pause” and to choose to focus on the radiant light. Once you are connected to this inner light, it reminds you that you are also connected to the source of all light and to all of humanity.
From this place of self-love, is there something kind you can do just for you? What is something that feels like Play-Dough to your soul? Will you take a walk or run outside or make yourself a cup of tea? As you choose to practice self-care, you become better able to care for those around you who may need you now more than ever. What you think, feel, and do really matters. Choose wisely, for you are the light of the world!
Jean Masukevich is a trauma sensitive yoga teacher and integrative coach with over 20 years of teaching experience. Her mission is to guide others to greater mind, body, Spirit integration and connection to their authentic self. She cultivates communities of care where individuals and groups heal and share their hearts and stories through movement, writing, meditation, integrative prayer, creativity, and the sacred art of listening. Jean holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and is a certified Spiritual Director through Sustainable Faith. Jean serves both children and adults and is available for in person and remote coaching. Contact her at Sowthatjean@gmail.com.
Jean, this is EXACTLY what I needed to receive today. Thank you for attuning to the Spirit and offering a call to gentleness to self and others. Thank you also for the playdough metaphor. I’ve been carrying so much inside as the seas continue to get stormier, and “getting out the playdough”–tending the nervous, off-kilter, hyperabsorbent child within–is sometimes the only answer in hard times like these. I have such a hard time allowing this without self-condemnation. As I reach for the playdough, I consider all I am not doing but “should be,” and I accuse myself of being too much, too needy, too negative, too wimpy…so I discard the playdough notion altogether and get back to work “rising up.” Such a dangerous cycle!
Today, I will faithfully keep reaching for the playdough, no matter what the voice of self-judgment says. Thank you for offering the exhortation.
You are worthy of rest and kindness now more than ever! My that hyper absorbent little girl be held in the tender arms of love and be set free from the heavy and ill fitting work to play with dough or whatever helps her feel alive today.
You are doing enough!
You have already done enough!
You are enough!
Thank you for your wisdom, care and encouragement. I am grateful for you.
Thank you for your words of blessing 💗
I am thankful for YOU!
Jean, this is the exact entry I needed to read too, today as Lacy said. Washington State is a bit ahead of where Illinois is…and it takes fortitude. As with throwing out the lesson plan for the day, I have had to throw out the amount of news I take in. There is so much that lands in our bodies of the oddity and calamity around us. Thank you for giving us permission to be and do and seek out what is needed. I love your writing and way of caring.
I see you and your tender stunning heart! You feel the deep pain of this world and today you get to turn off the news and get outside to breathe deeply of the unshakable peace in the midst of all the calamity.
Holding you and the state of Washington in the light🙏🏼☀️
Amen and Amen…thank you for your kind words. We are devastated in CA, but today I can be thankful for the sunshine and the ability to have my kids play outside💛 Much Love…