We arrived in Big Sur late but in one piece. The travel day dragged on seemingly endlessly with car issues and work drama. But we made it and were rewarded with a beautiful room with a lovely view, outdoor firepit and shower.
I was constantly amazed all day at what a patient kid I have. She never complained when I fielded work after work call. I put out fires and she entertained herself, punctuating the brief silences of work’s encroachment, with songs that we both love. We belted them out in the car, dancing in our seats and laughing at the silliness. God, I love that kid!
The dog was good albeit nervous. Wanting to be with us more than anything but also trepidatious about where we were going and why. She mostly lounged in the backseat, also patiently waiting our arrival to wherever it was we were headed.
Now I sit in the fire light of our villa and feel so content. The warmth and the glow lighting up my life just perfectly. I am here, writing, drinking very strong coffee and waiting for the day to begin. I love this life. I love this kid. I love this dog. I love this place. I love fire light.
There is something magical and primal about fire. It lights up my life in a way that is affirming and warming. I can see things in the fire that I miss when looking elsewhere. It is almost as if truth needs a flame to be seen and felt by the heart at the same time. In the quiet of the dawning day, fire warms my room and wakes me up gently and calmly. The soft glow of the fireplace fanning out flames of contentment, ease, comfort, warmth, presence that would be missing but for the fire.
I feel rested and awake at the same time. I have nowhere to go and nothing to do. I can sit in this place drinking coffee and being warmed by the fire with no agenda...no other place I want to be other than right here, right now.
Fire light softens the way that I see the world and maybe even the way I see myself. I am struggling to let go of some old ideas. They are ancient ideas I have about myself, hard and deeply worn grooves into who and what I am. Places that I hide due to fear of their truth.
The fire light bring just enough light to allow these thoughts to surface but not take over. I am willing to let them go, these thoughts about myself that do not serve me. They have plagued me for years, undercutting all that I have achieved. Minimizing and curtailing joy in all that I do. If I can believe anything why do I chose to believe these thoughts? Aren’t there equal yet opposite things that I can find truth in? Why do I stubbornly hold onto these that rob me of my peace of mind and cut so deeply?
The fire light tells me it is because I am afraid they are true...these old thoughts and beliefs dance in my head like a flame, hard to pin down and really ferret out. They jump from here to there and then back again, never really allowing me to fully examine where they came from and why I allow them to persist. What about them has a beautiful, seductive glow? Nothing. The thoughts bring nothing but pain and sadness. I think it is way past time to let them go...
But I am not sure how.
Then the fire light shows me...
Any flame can be extinguished with proper effort. But like any good fire, I have to examine the elements of the thoughts that burn, like a perpetual flame in my heart and mind. It might have been someone else’s conduct that lit the fire, but it was I who provided the kindling. It is my fire now. It matters not who lit it, they long since gone and forgotten. The flame has burned so hot for so long, that I have forgotten who even started the flame and even more, why I have faithfully tended to it all these years.
So today I pledge to start a new fire in the ashes of this one. Today I will put out the fire light of my old ideas and let the day unfold flameless. I will allow the day to exist without the heat to ensure that the well tended fire of old ideas burns out to its own extinction.
Tomorrow I will start anew, a fire of my own making. The kindling, the old ideas about myself that no longer serve me. And I will commit to tending this new fire, to appreciate the toasty glow of thoughts and ideas that are life affirming rather than destructive. I know those embers of this fire will fly about from time to time, but I know that I can toss them on the pyre of new ideas instead of allowing them to ignite themselves again in the recesses of my mind.
Fire light glows warm but sometimes the comfortable flame you lit years ago needs to be put out and a day spent in darkness, out in the cold of your old ideas. Sometimes you have to see that the fire you sit beside isn’t really a fire after all. Sometimes you find yourself sitting next to an ancient space heater whose flame is barely flickering and never keeps you warm. Sometimes you have to unplug that inefficient machine and walk it to the dumpster. Then, and only then, are you free to ignite a new fire in your heart and mind. Then you can lounge peacefully next to a fresh fire light that can truly heat your soul.