Every toolbox starts with the basics when putting together the gadgets required to fix things. The toolbox basics should include but, is not limited to, a claw hammer, a flathead screwdriver, a Phillips screwdriver, tape measure, crescent wrench, vise grip locking pliers, needle nose pliers, cordless drill and bits, crosscut saw, level and utility knife. You start to build the rest of your toolbox as things that break down require special tools to fix them. Hence, items not found in the basic toolbox. Items that require a road map in the tool department of every major big box store or you are lucky to be best friends with Bob Vila or Mike Holmes.
I know many young adults leaving their parents home are gifted a basic toolbox with the following words of advice attached, ” If none of these work, call me.” I know it was the departing gift to both my children from my spouse as he spent endless detailed amounts of time explaining how and when to use each tool and heard the appropriate response, “Yes Dad”, after each explanation. Today, both are considered tool masters. Well, one of them anyway!
There are other types of toolboxes just as vital to our lives when something is broke and requires fixing. These are our physical, emotional and spiritual toolboxes. Just as we have emergency kits in cases of unexpected crisis, so too should we carry crisis toolboxes to get us through emotional and spiritual crisis that can throw us for a loop. Emergency or crisis preparedness. Emotional toolkits are required when we get knocked off our center, when we feel we are no longer grounded, when tears, anger and frustration flood our emotions. In these times our go to self-care toolbox should include slow deep breaths, staying mindful and not having a mind full! Long warm baths filled with the essence of essential oils that calm and relax, beautiful soothing music, comfort and relaxation and possibly a therapeutic massage. Spiritual toolkits seem to be something of an anomaly. What do you do when you feel you have lost touch with your faith or belief system? When those beliefs no longer resonate with your soul, or when something greater than yourself shows you another spiritual path that resonates with you and feels like you have come home after all. I believe the spiritual toolbox must contain trust in yourself and your knowing, standing up for truth, justice and transparency. Faith by far is the most powerful tool able to fulfil the functions of all the tools put together. Without faith in every type of toolbox, it comes up empty. Faith sees every project, crisis or problem through to completion. Walking the path of those masters, seekers and saints that have walked before, lighting the way for those who choose to follow, is a good place to find faith when yours falters. There is always prayer, silence, meditation, chants and songs. However it is that you communicate with your higher power. However it is that you come to know yourself.
Unfortunately, some individuals, are faced with a crisis across all three dimensions of being, physical, emotional and spiritual. I suspect that while the crisis is immense and overwhelming the toolbox they carry and use is more filled with faith, love, compassion, strength, understanding and empathy than any of the other toolboxes combined. I am fortunate to either have been a part of these people’ s lives or are currently so. I believe we all know someone who has gone through or is going through a crisis of the three aspects of being. Perhaps it is ourselves who have walked this difficult journey seeking unanswered questions. I believe every one of us ask ourselves the same question, ” Where do we/they find the strength to carry on and live through?” We all have the basic toolboxes of life. In crisis we add to it as the need arises. We find people along the way who open their hearts with non- judgement, understanding, support and compassion. There are people who open their wallets giving freely what they can without request for repayment. There are tireless volunteers, friends and family. There are community groups, spiritual groups, groups of every kind. There are hugs, laughter, tears and more hugs. Sometimes we are disappointed and hurt that those we thought and expected to be there for us are not and we joyfully learn that the people we least expected are the ones who often step up and assist us in ways that are both surprising and humbling. In these difficult and unexpected times our crisis toolboxes become overflowing with everything and everyone we meet along our journey.
I hope everyone has a basic toolbox kept close by. I hope in the future that toolbox will include some thought for the emotional and spiritual as well. Know that in times of great personal crisis (and by the way, we will have at least one in our lifetime) your toolbox will become filled with or without your help. Because that my dear readers is how this world works, with kindness, love, compassion and joy all when you least expect it.
Photography by Christine Wasnie