Monday, January 21, 2013

gOt FiRe? LeSsonS fRoM tHe fIRe . . .

i'Ve KnOwn fIre & I've knoWn rAin . . .
HeY aLL---

I've had some really AHA! moments about FIRE. If you saw the vid above, that's the fireplace in my house, and I have absolutely LOVED fire . . . ALL my LIFE. 

Literally . . . and figuratively.

I can remember building fires as a little girl. We had a fire pit in our backyard, and there was a center ring of fire, surrounded by tree stumps that acted as benches all the way around. I can remember all the neighbor kids and parents coming to our house after dark in the summer to hang by the fire and tell stories, chat, and generally fool around . . . play kick the can, ghost in the dark, ding dong ditch 'em--that stuff. Fire was magical, and it brought us together as a community, and believe me--in my neighborhood, we were VERY diverse (albeit Caucasian).

At my house as a little girl, inside, we had two fireplaces--one up and one down. I poked at fires all the time as a child. I waited for Santa asleep by the basement fire under the tree as a girl; I did hours of homework as a teenager, tending to the fire through the wee hours of the night; as a teenager, I kissed my favorite boys to the flickering lights of our family fire (remember that--boys who read my blog? precious . . . ). 

Fire is passionate; fire is amazing; fire is powerful; and, fire is dangerous, if not dealt with intentionally, gently, and sublimely. Fire, at the very least, commands respect.

How do you interact with fire? Do you surrender? Do you walk away? Do you deny its power over you?

How do you love? 
Do you love in a way that involves surrender, without protecting yourself, 'cuz loving what's in front of you is the right thing to do--even if he or she doesn't love you back the way you love him or her?
DO you walk 'cuz you're not loved in the exact way YOU exPecT? Do you walk away from love, even though the shape is new and somewhat unfamiliar?
Do you deny you love someone 'cuz you feel wobbly? Like, your feet aren't on the floor? WELCOME TO LOVE, ALL.

I dare you to: KNOCK IT OFF.

I have been drawn to fire my whole life; the enchanting flames have licked my soul into submission. I've had to learn to interact and maintain the fire; while, at the same time, I've had to learn to tame the very fire that consumes me.
Sounds scary, huh? 

It is. It's absolutely terrifying for those of us who have experienced the fire. But herein lies our absolute power.

Here's what I know, fine pEopLe: What consumes me, also energizes me; what kills me, also brings me life. Such is the flow we are promised in this world-- the yin and the yang.

There is so much power in the metaphor of fire. I have, as I shared, always been super drawn to fire. To the point that I actually have been burned . . . many, many times--until I figured out my deal with FIRE.

What I believe, is that we each have our own fires to (con)TEND (with). One piece that resonates with me around fire is this amazing poem by Marquis about the irony surrounding the flame. I've made some personal connections in blue:

The Lesson of the Moth
 by Don Marquis

i was talking to a moth 
the other evening
he was trying to break into 
an electric light bulb
and fry himself on the wires
we tend to take risks when we know the consequences won't really come true;
they are not possible to fulfill.
we want safety.

why do you fellows
pull this stunt i asked him 
because it is the conventional 
thing for moths or why 
if that had been an uncovered 
candle instead of an electric 
light bulb you would 
now be a small unsightly cinder 
have you no sense 
see above about safety...those of us who don't understand
question and judge those who appear "crazy"
plenty of it he answered 
but at times we get tired 
of using it 
we get bored with the routine 
and crave beauty 
and excitement 
fire is beautiful
and we know that if we get 
too close it will kill us 
but what does that matter
sometimes, we do stuff to feel and it doesn't matter if we die, metaphorically or physically 
it is better to be happy 
for a moment 
and be burned up with beauty 
than to live a long time 
and be bored all the while 
we want to FEEL, and sometimes, we'll do anything to feel (me, too, btw!)
so we wad all our life up 
into one little roll
and then we shoot the roll 
that is what life is for 
it is better to be a part of beauty 
for one instant and then cease to 
exist than to exist forever 
and never be a part of beauty 
our attitude toward life
we want to matter 
is come easy go easy 
we are like human beings 
used to be before they became 
too civilized to enjoy themselves
we want to feel 

and before i could argue him 
out of his philosophy 
he went and immolated himself 
on a patent cigar lighter 
i do not agree with him 
myself i would rather have 
half the happiness and twice 
the longevity 
such is the life of humans...we sometimes value length over quality in our lives
but at the same time i wish 
there was something i wanted 
as badly as he wanted to fry himself
we all could only wish that we had something we would die for. . . right?

I got a cool email from my mom last year. She is an amazing poet and a priestess (in an awesome way!) and definitely a philosopher-eSS (made up word). It's interesting that she wrote a poem almost 5 years ago, modeled after the same poem by Marquis, which is very cool because it's an enduring lesson of life. 
What my mom was writing about (correct me if I'm wrong, Mom . . .) is that without a sense of who we are, we may flit about life attempting to "fill ourselves up" with people and experiences from the OUTSIDE--and if we have no sense of SELF, it's never enough.


As a moth is to the flame
she flits from bud to bud,
seeking what she cannot find,
getting burned each time.
She flirts with mortal risk,
lured, entranced by firelight,
she hurls madly
in her flight.
She flings her wings too close,
death by fire is her fate,
the dance
is her demise.
As a moth is to the flame,
she flies in haste no more
Never finding her own core.

Marianne Curry
copyright 2007
Swan Song Press

Resonate? I've definitely been there, and am still working on it. What my mom and I talked about today on the telephone is that the fire can also be our biggest asset, if we enter into it with both surrender and respect; the fire is both our Nemesis and our Passion. It takes courage to enter the fire, rather than go AROUND it--and we then are used up, and reborn into something greater.

In mythology, the pheonix is a bird that dies in a self-created fire, burning into a pile of ashes--from which a phoenix chick is born, representing a cyclical process of life from death. Because it is reborn from its own death, the phoenix also symbolizes the characteristics of regeneration and immortality. 

Fire can also symbolize passion. How does you passion consume you? How can we learn from our passion and turn our greatest challenges into our most amazing assets and opportunities for growth?

Remember: the Universe works for us, providing us the opportunities for our greatest growth and challenge! We can choose to be in a state of LARGENESS & gratitude, or in a space and place place of victimhood.

Just as a candle cannot burn withoufire,

men cannot live without a spiritual life.


One of our jobs in life is to embrace our fears, symbolically entering the fire, in order to turn our greatest challenges into opportunities for growth. Sounds easier than it is.

It takes courage to enter the fire, rather than go AROUND it--I know for me, it's been much easier to go around my fears rather than face them. The problem is, we just can't go around; we must face our shadows, shed light on our dark spaces, and face the fires that consume us--and only when we die and surrender to our fears, is it possible to be reborn into something greater.

The mythological bird, the phoenixdies in a self-created fire, burning into a pile of ashes. From the very same ashes, a phoenix chick is born, representing a process of life from death. A phoenix, you see, is reborn from its own death, and symbolizes the characteristics of regeneration and immortality. 

This, I believe is one of the hallmarks of a spiritual life: constant self-reflection, death, and rebirth. And we don't have to do this alone; and indeed, we are never really alone. Through the darkness we find our way back to our true spirit; we find out way back to the light.

During the dark times, it's often hard for me to remember that the light is near, and that the dark is a necessary part of getting back to the light. As a matter of fact, looking back, I can see the Universe always has a plan for me . . . and the plan includes both the dark . . . and the light, which for me is Universal Love.

"Love makes us wake up in the morning with a sense of purpose
and a flow of creative ideas.
Love floods our nervous system with positive energy,
making us far more attractive to prospective employers, clients, and creative partners. Love fills us with a powerful charisma,
enabling us to produce new ideas and new projects,
even within circumstances that seem to be limited.
Love leads us to atone for our errors and clean up the mess when we've made mistakes. Love leads us to act with impeccability, integrity, and excellence.
Love leads us to serve, to forgive, and to hope.
Those things are the opposite of a poverty consciousness;
they're the stuff of spiritual wealth creation."

Marianne Williamson, "The Law of Divine Compensation"

As Williams describes above, when we out our focus on LOVE (and not on FEAR), life opens up tremendously. And, in order to get to LOVE, we must walk through the fire and face our fears.  More often than not, facing our fears and opening to love happens at the same time--like it's a recursive process. 

I picture FEAR operating in my mind and in my thoughts, and I feel LOVE opens up when I listen to my heart. Funny thing is, that when I listen to ny heart, my mind and thoughts also open up to the creativity and flow of the Universe--so that's also a huge benefit. I meditate in order to train my thoughts and mind--and that frees up my energy to live a heart-filled life. 

My heart knows the truth. 
My heart forgives (others and myself).
My heart is grateful.
My heart knows everything true.

My heart knows how to love every moment, every thing, and every one (even when I don't particularly like something or someone's behavior . . .)! We can either choose to live in love--to be love--, or live from a place of fear. One of my personal codes of truth is: 

I am lOvE!
I face and release my fEaR.

I'll write it again: We really have only two choices: WE CAN LIVE IN LOVE, OR WE CAN LIVE IN FEAR.

That's it.

Even when others act in unloving ways toward us, we can either choose to respond in love from our higher self, or react from a place of ego. Our loving actions need not depend on outside influences & need not serve to "reward" others for being kind to us.

When we live from a place of love, we pay it forward and the Universe responds by showing us love . . .  Light does not exist without shadow, just as love does not exist without fear. The idea is not to cast out fears or deny their existence, but to embrace them--then we can bring in light and love so the fears can ultimately be released and healed.

"Go to your fears,
sit with them,
stare at them.
Your fears are your friend,
their only job is to show you undeveloped parts of yourself
that you need to cultivate to live a happy life.
The more you do the things you're most afraid of doing
the more life opens up.
Embrace your fears and your fears will embrace you."

- Jackson Kiddard

Coming from a place of fear is painful; I'm always wondering when the ball is going to drop, or someone will FIND out about _______ (fill in the blank), or catch me screwing up. For me, this pattern of pain becomes (present tense, I'm still working on it) so intolerable, that I have to continually let go, LEAP, & learn to accept myself and TRUST . . . which is a moment-by-moment process for me, sometimes.

What I know now is that I am Love, and so are we ALL.
How do you choose love over fear? Let me know in the comments!

;0)    Dana

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