Over the last several years wildfires have been increasing in their frequency and intensity. We are seeing firsthand the lasting effects these disasters have on communities and the spirits of the people in them. A fire that causes the loss of only home can be just as devastating to that family and the community around them. Getting through the fire itself is hard, but then begins the journey of rebuilding which can be just as difficult and far more tedious.
It is important in the season after a fire, regardless of its size, to take the time to care for the deep layers of the soul that are often affected. Caring for the physical body is key to health. Making arrangements to be able to sleep soundly, to eat good, nourishing food, to exercise in a way that is beneficial and soothing are all foundational to long term healing. Setting this base for care will begin to make space to process through the emotional and spiritual challenges that may arise in the days, weeks, and even months following.
Spiritual directors should be checking in on all levels of care for their directees during sessions following disasters. How are they sleeping? How are they getting food? Do they need to see a doctor? A therapist? If the body is suffering, access to the heart and spirit will be difficult, if not completely blocked off. Some directees may find it helpful to take a walk during sessions in this season, while others will need a safe space to sit quietly. Flexibility, hospitality, and generous nurture are musts for directors who are companioning people who have been through a natural disaster. Now is no time for asceticism or rigidity in disciplines. Please review our suggestions for items and tools to have on hand during direction with those who have been traumatized. Also check out our links to helpful books and websites explaining and suggesting a variety of practices if you need a refresher on some options to give your directees.
Practices that may be helpful after a fire include:
Prayer For After A Fire:
We are raw. Everything inside and out is sensitive.
We are full of frenetic energy, yet fatigued beyond what we feel we can bear.
We felt small and helpless.
We struggle to trust our routines.
We mourn the loss of family, friends, and the familiar.
We have had our fill of the raging power of fire,
Help us find the balance of the elements.
Give us the stability of the earth,
The flexibility of the wind,
And the softness and repose of water.
Give us courage to rebuild.
Provide patience in the waiting.
Remind us of the balance between the comfort of warmth and the refreshment of coolness.
Soothe our frayed and fragile nerves.
Give us the eyes and ears to see the needs of our neighbors.
We are in need of nurture and protection, Be our Good Parent.
Help us to love each other and ourselves well.
Restore us to ourselves, reorient us to lasting abundance.
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SPIRITUAL DIRECTION BLOG
Expanding understanding and best practices for holistic health in the context of spiritual direction.