The season of fall is, for me and for many of us, a time of reflection, to feel called to slow down and take stock.

I think it is a sign of health, to notice myself and others able to speak with more ease about our experiences when the global pandemic of Covid 19 first hit. When we were all caught in the throes of adapting through so much change, eventually coming to dread the word “pivoting”, survival was key.

I remember sitting at my kitchen table, in the wee hours of the morning, the sky still dark outside. I was trying to figure out how to build a slide deck for an upcoming presentation and workshop on Zoom. During that time, my husband and I found ourselves getting up at 4 am to start our work day, so that we could get a few hours in, before our son got up and we found ourselves balancing homeschool with both of our workloads.  The slide deck that I was working on was, in truth, my first full presentation on Zoom, and there were several times that I really struggled with it.

My son, so sweet when he woke, would watch me and come over to say:

Do you need some help Mom? You can do it Mom.

That moment of caring & support meant everything.

Caring is the thread that I am reflecting on this month as I marvel at how opportunities come forth through simple acts of caring and kindness.

The slide deck presentation that I was working on also touched upon that powerful thread of care—and it came through, as I learned via an email that I received which was sent to Lynda Monk, Executive Director of the International Association for Journaling Writing. She had received an email from Bob Neri of WestCare Florida, asking if she knew of anyone who did journaling work with those in recovery from drug/alcohol/substance disorder. The next thing I know, I am now putting together my CJ: Self-Care for the Helping Professional workshop on Zoom to the employees at WestCare. 

The presentation was a success, the responses were positive, and it led to another conversation that I don’t think I will ever forget—over Zoom with a caring smile on his face, Bob Neri said:

So what else do you have?

 That kind approach led to an opportunity for me to talk to him about my full program, CJ: The Promises of Recovery for clients… And because of Covid, I could not travel to Florida to train their team and so I started training via Zoom. What a privilege to meet Jean Jones, Trauma Director of WestCare GulfCoast-Florida, and to train her team of counselors at WestCare’s Outpatient Facility in Port Richey, Florida.

My program is now in being used for the second year at the outpatient clinic where Journaling and the exploration of creativity is used to help process & integrate their learning and healing from trauma and substance misuse.

The feedback has been incredible; Jean shared that the response continues to be positive not only from clients directly who are more able to integrate learning due to their journaling (and its impact on brain neuroplasticity) but that it is also getting noticed by the courts, including the judges who see these clients.

As we near almost four years of our changed society, living with COVID-19, I find myself reflecting on the ways things might have changed for the better.

Our eyes were opened to the communities that were always there, right in front of us—reaching out with kindness when we might have otherwise continued on a solitary path.

While I grieve for the pain and unimaginable loss that has been caused by this pandemic, I am filled with hope at the kindness I have seen continue to blossom.