Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Starting Fires

I have a story to tell you about an outdoor experience I had at the beginning of June and some insights I received while working at it.  Imagine you have a pile of wood like I have shown above.  Yes, this is a real pile of wood.  It was nearly the height of a man of six feet.  My children, myself, and my ex-husband had gathered this wood together over the course of a week or two and it has been sitting in my yard, marinating.  I was planning on having a birthday party outside at my place and had to be rid of this monstrosity.  I was taught that to get a fire going, you have to start little fires, and, considering its considerable size and mass, I knew I would be putting these little fires all around until it caught. 

Then it blessedly took off! 

Patience and perseverance was necessary to get the blaze needed to consume the monstrous horde.  The insight I received from this work was that people are often setting off small flames in their lives, hoping to find the all-consuming blaze.  That was too metaphorical.  To put it bluntly: exploring relationships hoping that one day they will find their one true love.  Or, enjoying the small flames, but moving on as soon as they blow out in search for the next brief fire to enjoy the small warmth from and never nurturing something into the blaze it could be.  If I had given up 15 minutes before the little fires took off, I would not have accomplished the goal I set out to achieve and that huge pile of wood would still be cluttering up my back yard.

So, the fire blazed for a long while.  I was always close to the flames trying to push in the branches with my bare hands closer to the blaze or watering the surrounding grasses to keep it from getting out of hand.  Last thing my neighbor needed was a grass fire heading to his new home.

That was when the next insight hit me:  when we have accomplished something, there is still work to maintain it.  When you find the flame you've been looking for (whether a job, relationship, education, or enlightenment), you have to continue working at it or you will lose it.  As an aspiring author, I have been neglecting my writing because I have been putting my energy in maintaining familial relationships, reading for a yearly goal, working overtime to get caught up to enjoy my vacations/time-off guilt-free, keeping up with my health issues, and keeping up with the yard work.  I had plenty of excuses, but I was still neglecting something important to me and now I find myself with writers block - again.  It's time to get back to work, regardless of the discomfort getting close to the fire will bring.

And like all great blazes, even this one began to die down. 
Even at this level, the flames were hot enough that my face felt seared and puffed with redness as though I was sunburned.  At this stage, I was gathering more around the periphery to throw into the center and risking my shoes in the hot embers surrounding the still burning limbs.

That's when I found this: 
This snake was hiding under a large piece of bark trying to find a safe warm place to stay for the night when I stumbled upon it.  We managed to eye each other cautiously without having any issues before I moved on with my task.  I kept a wide berth of the area I found it in to avoid making it nervous.  Unfortunately, the cold was increasing and the snake decided to look for warmth.  The most promising warmth it was feeling was the fire mere inches from its cold-blooded body.  So, naturally - although remarkably suicidal - it got closer to the fire.

I know this is difficult to see in this photo.  The light was fast disappearing and I was a little unnerved to find the snake getting closer to the white embers.  It didn't stop that close, but got even closer, especially as the flames died down to the hot embers.  The snake acted like it didn't know it was in danger and continued to get closer and closer.  I went around the fire, closer to its location, and it reared back and hissed and snapped at me threateningly.  I understood and backed up, but it foolishly entered the hot embers and immediately began rolling in pain.  I grabbed the hose and doused it liberally, but it lay belly up for the longest time, I was certain it had died. I approached it again, but again it rallied and snapped at me threateningly, even though it was wounded.  And I finally left it alone.

The next insight I received was how people search for warmth like this snake did and end up hurting themselves.  As though desperate in their loneliness, they throw away their good sense and self-preservation, taking unnecessary risks to have just a moment of warmth from outside of themselves.  Sometimes the journey is uncomfortable and cold, but it is much better to seek out a safe, warm place by traveling through the cold, dewy grass than to go up in flames.  And, when people are hurt because of bad choices, they often strike out at those who are trying to help, just as this poor snake did.

Back in February, I blogged about Past Revealed for Future Growth.  In it I mentioned the Temple of the Sacred Flame.  Lessons from the element of fire are often painful, but memorable.  Recently I found a site that gives the location of the temple in Luxor, Egypt.  The site mentions how this once great temple is now a retreat for those wishing to ascend.  When you have succeeded in elevating your perceptions, you can move on toward the next room and the next insight.  I succeeded in gaining insights in every day work without having to go all the way to Luxor, or deprive myself of anything in my daily life such as my work, children, family, food or goals. 

Don't set yourself up to believe one thing only.  Life is about the revelations to come and you can move forward if you just remain open to Possibility.  Let go; let life move forward; and happy reading.


Diana Murdock said...

Awesome post, Cassia! Everything you say is so true. Now I'll have this to chew on as I get back into my own writing habits. Hits very close to home. :)

James Garcia Jr. said...

Okay, my sense is you have stated many important insights and incredible revelations here, but all I heard was: snake!!
Seriously, my friend, I would be far behind you while you played too close to that thing.
Okay, I'm calm now. What again? :)
Not really. So how are you now that you have thought this stuff over? Good, I hope. I've missed our chats. Hopefully we can find some time soon to say hello. I have Skype, but rarely use it. Perhaps that would be a way. I'm hoping to be on vacation at the end of the month. Perhaps then. Anyway, have a good week. Sorry it took so long for me to get to this post. I promised I would. Remember? *Hugs*


Sia said...

Thanks, D! I always appreciate you stopping by. I can't wait to see what your writing turns into at the end. I really enjoyed Souled!

Sia said...

Hey, Jimmy!

Oh, you're afraid of snakes, huh? I grew up around them; having lived so close to creeks all my life. You play with them as a child and you learn to respect their bite.

I never tried Skype. Since reading this, I have downloaded it. Hopefully I'll be able to practice with it a bit before we have time to chat on it. Too bad there is still a little matter of a 3-hour difference between Cali and MI. Who knows. It'll be great to try.

Thanks again to you both for all your support of my blog and writing.