When the pandemic hit, my business partner and I sprang into action. We felt called to serve and hold open space so that people could gather to be seen, to learn, and to process what was happening so quickly. The disruption, chaos and loss felt like a wildfire spreading faster than any of us could contain individually or collectively. Though we weren’t sure what to do, stepping in and doing something was “essential.”
When there is a crisis, the first responders show up without thinking about it. It is what they do. I am thankful for the gift of being able to lean in and bear witness to others’ pain. It is an honor to be able to offer comfort and care to those who suffer. I feel like I have been holding a powerful fire hose, trying to put out fires for way too long— first in the world, and more recently in my own home.
After the fire is extinguished, unbearable amounts of smoke pollute the air for a long time.
It feels like my home has been filled with the kind of smoke that makes you gasp for air. When I open the windows to find reprieve, I’m disappointed to find that the air outside is just as bad. After you have suffered a crisis and begin to rebuild, it’s hard to know what you need, and if you will be able to find the strength to carry on.
Some days I wake ready, willing, and able to step through the smoke and carry the light of God into the world. Other days I feel like I need a ventilator. Though I have never gotten COVID or been on a ventilator, I have been struck down by the systemic pain of a world that has been in crisis for too long. I know what it feels like to freeze, or to gasp for the breath that brings life and freedom. We are in a mental health crisis! It has hit me deeply, both personally and professionally, and some days I just want to tap out.
Though I can no longer go out into the world carrying a heavy fire hose, I am learning to stay home and allow others in to care for me. A friend sent me a card with a bracelet that had the word “warrior” printed on it. In the card she wrote, “You are a loving mother who is doing an amazing job! And you are a warrior!” I wept because of her kindness.
Small acts of kindness will put the world back on track. Sometimes you need a fire hose, and other times you need a tiny drop of kindness to soothe and heal the burns that the fire left behind.
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.