This is a time of transformation for our planet and the human race. Cosmologically, we’re entering a new 200 year cycle and it’s playing out in big ways. Transformation hurts. It’s chaotic. Things die for new life to be born.
This is the Year of Karma when our life choices come to fruition in hard ways. A year that forces us to ask deep questions like what do we value, which lives are worth protecting, how do we keep people safe?
We must each figure these things out for ourselves, but I believe there’s a central question to help guide us. It’s this: What kind of mind do you want to have? One that is rigid and hard or expansive and compassionate?
Our bodies and hands don’t make the world. Our consciousness does.
Each one of us will perceive current events based on our backgrounds: white, black, rural, city, gay, straight, traveler, homebody, and all the emanations in between. This is normal. And yet, regardless of our background, we can embrace respect for all life and beings.
This is the year we decide how we want to live.
Throughout my career as a firefighter, rescue diver, and spec ops flight medic, I was preoccupied about my “performance” and how I was being perceived by others. Now that I’m retired and have been looking back over my career, I’m shocked to discover that what I’m most proud of is my compassion, especially in a field that didn’t always celebrate it.
I’m a lifelong student of religion, and in every tradition I know of there is an idea that at death our soul will be weighed or reviewed. In Buddhism, after we die, Yama, the Lord of Death holds a mirror to us so we can watch our life play out. How did we live? How did we treat others? These are THE most important questions.
This is the year to choose our greatest values. Don’t let anyone chose them for you!
Compassion is fierce. As First Responders, it must be fierce, because it’s not popular. Running on constant carnage and suffering makes people hard, which is one reason a police officer could kneel for 8 minutes on a man’s neck while he called out for his mother and died. The potential for such burn out, frustration, and emotional disconnection exists within us all, myself included. None of us are saints, but wherever we come from, whatever our beliefs, respecting ALL human life is the highest path to take.
Our world is asking us to make a stand. For me, personally, racism is unacceptable. It’s disrespectful, unkind, and oppresses human potential. It likes to hide, deny, and claim innocence. It’s often passive aggressive and tends to blame the victim. For the last quarter of my career, I worked E66 with three strong black men, and I saw the subtle ways bias flows, even within myself. To remain silent when we see dis-empowerment is to enable it. Triple F exists so that together we can grow empowered and empower others.
What do you intend to embody and express to your families and the world? What values do you cherish? For each of us it will be different, and that’s okay, but let’s get clear about it. At the end of our lives it won’t be our certifications that matter, it will be our hearts.
Women firefighters are a positive and healing force within the fire service. We bring balance. We can deal with the most sick, injured, and wounded and do it with compassion. We’ve done it since the beginning of the human race and we can do it now. Let’s show our world family how it’s done!
May you be the light within your department and home. May we all keep a cool head, supple mind, and open heart. May we know that there is no “other.” We are ALL one, in darkness and in light.
Because Together We Are Stronger!
Gea Leigh Haff
Founder of Triple F