The continued unreliability of a utility that has such great influence on our ability to predict meals, complete work, or relax after a hard day wears on the spirits of affected communities. Unexpected outages in particular can bring up fear as people may associate them with the disaster and be afraid that something is happening again.
Part of being a thoughtful spiritual director, who cares about the whole person, means acknowledging and caring for these kinds of daily needs that are difficult in the aftermath of disaster. Addressing this fear may be as simple as making sure that your directees are aware of how the power company communicates and where they can go to get updates on return of service or any planned outages. Or, that particular distress may be a doorway to naming deeper fears about safety and sustenance. Incorporating grounding practices into sessions or recommended disciplines can be helpful. Assisting with personal calming practices as well as help identifying what connects them to a sense of safety when caught off-guard can be a great gift to directees in these circumstances.
Some questions to consider as you meet with directees who are experiencing power outages:
- Can you help with making a plan? Something as simple as offering a list of supplies to have, or directing them to their local power company’s website to see what suggestions are being made?
- Can you offer calming meditations or disciplines?
- Are you aware of planned outages that may be upcoming? How will you/your ministry be affected? Clearly communicating, and if necessary, rescheduling, in advance will help avoid stress.
- Are you prepared for an outage that may occur in the middle of a session? Would you be able to continue?
- How can you take the opportunity to be a good neighbor to others, professionally and personally? Sharing information? Sharing space?
Erin Jantz received her Master’s Degree in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care from the Institute for Spiritual Formation. She also holds a B.A. in developmental psychology and has furthered her education with trainings in trauma care from Boston University and intensives with Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. She has been practicing spiritual direction since 2012, helped to author ICTG's Spiritual Formation Resource Guide, and also teaches and speaks on a variety of spiritual formation topics. Erin lives in Southern California with her husband and their four marvelous children.